We take care of the land...it takes care of us.

We're just a couple of country dwellers......

that love nature, hunting, fishing, gardening, campfires, crafting, cooking, canning, laughter and living!!

Ya just never know what I'll blog about next...

So visit us often!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kuchen ~ A German Tradition

I recently asked our friend Joyce if she would be interested in
letting me photo-journal her making Kuchen and posting it on my blog.
I was thrilled that she was willing and eager to do it!!

You see, not many folks know how to make this 
old German recipe we call Kuchen (pronounced koocken).
And nobody makes it like Joyce K.!!

I joined her in her kitchen and we got right to it.....

Joyce is a farm-wife, mother, and grand-mother...
she knows how to work and loves to keep busy.
The sign in her kitchen reads: I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.
Well, most folks in this tri-county area know that she's one of the finest cooks around!
And that her kitchen is a "honey pot" to anybody with a stomach.
The sign just goes to show how modest she is!

She told me she really doesn't remember where she got her sweet-bread recipe,
but it was her husband's mother (Louisa) that taught her how to make kuchen.
Joyce and Jerry were married in 1957, 
and has been making these delicious pies for Jerry from the beginning!
53 years of making Kuchen and Jerry still tells her, "make the crust thin now"
She just grins and says, "I know how to make it"

She lays out her stained and yellowed old recipe on the counter
I think just for tradition sake.

Because she quickly adds ingredients straight from the container,
and throws in this and that like the pro that she is.

Yeast in a bowl of warm water, while she's scalding milk and melting butter on the stove....

Notice the great "Magna-lite" kettles she uses!
I love old pots and pans - they don't make quality stuff like that anymore!!

She makes it look about as easy as walking and chewing gum,
as she's talking and mixing the whole time....

She's got all the makings for bread thrown in a big bowl in her sink
(the perfect level) ready for her to start mixing and kneading....

Mix and Knead and add a little flour....

more mixing and kneading until it's just right...

Almost there...

Perfect, a little sticky...but, not too much...
she knows when it's just right!

Now comes the waiting part...
the dough has to sit for 2 hours and raise...
When it doubles in size...

You punch it down, letting the air out of it and let it sit for another 2 hours...
this happens twice...so after another two hours, it's ready to roll out into crusts.

Joyce gets (usually) six balls of dough out of this recipe.

After she rolls them out (nice and thin, for Jerry!)
she puts them in glass pie plates and they are ready to fill.

 She was up early starting the bread dough and had the beautiful crusts sitting in the kitchen window (raising again) when I arrived after lunch.

I gotta tell you, it brought me back to the days when Grandma was alive and making those special pies!!
Mmmm, you didn't go far when that was happening!  1. it didn't happen very often and 2. you better be there when they come out of the oven, because they didn't last long!

So now we start making the custard filling....
cream, eggs, and sugar
{good and healthy, no calories added!}
And the toppings...
white sugar, brown sugar, flour and butter
{no fat there}

Well, it all goes over top of fresh apples for you health nuts!

She pricks the crusts with a fork and puts a
layer of healthy apples in the bottom

pours in the cream and egg filling

Sprinkles with sugar mixture....

tops with the butter, sugar,flour crumbly mixture

and sprinkles with cinnamon.

It's ready to go in the oven.
5 more crusts to fill....repeating the process and telling stories the whole time.

Joyce just got rid of her old oven and swears it did a better job than the new one.
So she kept watching pretty closely, turning and rotating...
until they looked just right.

at last....warm kuchen out of the oven...
the smell was so delightful!
At this point, I'm pretty sure I was drooling.

So now you know what Kuchen is and how the Queen of Kuchen makes it...

I had such a fun time with Joyce in her kitchen!!
She was really sweet to get up extra early and do this for me so I could blog about it.
I just love old family traditions and think this one is worth preserving.
Thank you, thank you Joyce!!

Thank you so much Grandma Tiede and Grandma Louisa for 
giving us such a delicious and delightful family tradition to carry on with us!

After the kuchens had cooled, Sall and I got a chance to 
share some coffee and kuchen with Joyce.
 We laughed and visited....
what a treat, Thank you so much Joyce!

When I got home...I must've been feeling a little nostalgic...
I got out some of grandma's dishes...
and had tea and kuchen with memories of Grandma.

I hope you have a special day today, enjoy it with someone you admire...
and like the plates in Joyce's kitchen say,
 "Have Faith and Dream Big!"

p.s. Joyce is sharing her recipe, so if anyone is interested in this recipe you can contact me.


barb said...

Oh, I like my crust thick, the way grandma and mother made it, the way I still make it. That way after you eat the yummy filling you still have warm bread to slather with butter. Sorry Jerry...b

Ryan said...

Super post and a ton of great pics to go along with it. Very nice.

I saw that you commented on my blog and I wanted to say "thank you."

The Average Joe Fisherman

Casey said...

Fantastic post!! Looks like I'll have to tap into the miniscule part of my heritage that's German (mostly, I'm Irish). Great pics, great commentary. And inspiring! Thank you!

Debra said...

Oh.... Now I want to bake something! :)

Thanks for your comment at my blog yesterday. Sounds like we think a lot alike about big old houses and how they lend ideas for our smaller ones! :) Thanks again.... Debra

Karen said...

I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this post....words fail me....and that doesn't happen often. You have captured a priceless memory and moment in time. I love the sign in her kitchen, what a sense of humor Joyce has, and all of the work she went through to make the Kuchen takes me back to my mother baking six loaves of bread every week. I'm so glad Joyce agreed to do this for your blog and to share with all of us. Excellent, excellent post!

Retirement... said...

I love Joyce's sign! Only, with me, it's unfortunately the truth. I have never been much of a cook (I think because my mother wasn't) but I sure can EAT! and Joyce's Kuchen looks delicious. What a gift to have Joyce in your lives. I really mean that. Best Wishes to you all.