Interesting process, translate a recipe from a foreign language. It seemed to be a fairly simple idea. The small magazine cookbook from 1969, from the Dr. Oetker company, the Weihnachts-Back-Rezeptheft (Christmas Baking Recipe Booklet) came from my mother-in-law for the Christstollen (Christmas bread) recipe but I don’t read German, nope, not a word. Thankfully there are translators on the internet that can help, well sort of … some.
One part of the recipe says “Den teig an einem warmen Ort so lange stehenlasssen, bis er etwa doppelt so hoch ist, ihn dann gut durchkneten und zu einem abgerundeten Rechteck (32 x 15 cm) ausrollen.”
This translated to: The dough in a warm place for so long until the lasssen are about twice as high, then knead well and to a rounded rectangle (32 x 15 cm) roll out.
Because I have some baking experience I know this actually means – Place the dough in a warm location until doubled in size then knead well (or maybe punch down) and roll out to a 13 x 6 inch rounded rectangle.
Simple right? Not so fast. Just getting the recipe into English was only the first step. Then I had to check my kitchen scale, did it measure in grams? The measurements for the recipe are European so they are metric. And, oh by the way, how much is a ‘knifepoint’ of ground/crushed cardamon or mace or a ‘little’ salt? What about 1/5 l (liter) of warm milk? The disconnected almonds was an interesting head scratcher … I know they don’t mean shelled so is it chopped? slivered? sliced?
My favorite was the “7”. The original translation: 2/3 of the flour in a bowl, 7, in the center of a hole and push and the sugar, the spices and the lukewarm butter to the edge of the flour. The set of yeast in the deepening and the middle of the yeast with the secret and the rest of the ingredients mix. I actually had to draw a circle with a “7” inside to finally understand the instruction at all. What it means…Place about 2/3 of the flour in a large bowl. Make a ‘dry’ well and a separate ‘wet’ well in the flour and then blend the ingredients from the yeast side. Again, if I hadn’t ever baked bread that might have been the end of the whole process.
We soldier on. A knifepoint is about/just less than 1/8 tsp and “little” is a pinch (the amount between the thumb and index finger). The 1/5 l (liter) of milk is 0.85 cups of milk … Ok, now we are in wing it territory, more than 3/4 but less than a full cup. I can do that.
So now with the list of ingredients missing from my pantry off to the store we will go. Great time to pick up the extra and speciality baking ingredients, just after Christmas. Larger bottles of the extracts are still available and some of them are on sale. I want to master this recipe before the next holiday season so Christstollen loaf # 1 is heading into the oven possibly as early as this weekend.
I promise to report back with the results regardless of the outcome, keeping my fingers crossed for an acceptable result or at least not a total disaster.