It is such a favorite as a dessert or cake in Bavaria an Auszogne is often called a Bavarian Donut, although the traditional fried yeast dough pastry is found in Western Austria and Thuringia in eastern Germany, not only Bayern's Old Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia.
"Auszogne" is Bavarian dialect for "ausgezogene Nudel", pulled noodle, and the name changes depending upon the region or local traditions.
Including "Fenschterkiachle" in Swabia, "Rottnudel" in Lower Bavaria, "Schmalznudeln" - Fat Noodles, "Bauernkrapfen" - Farmer's Doughnuts, "Kirchweihnudeln" – literally Parish Fair Noodles, "Kiachl" in Austria and last but not least "Knieküchle".
Knieküchle are "Knee Cakes" because, it is said, after the ingredients were mixed Franconian cooks would shape them by carefully stretching a ball of the sweetened yeast dough over their knees. Leaving the middle very thin.
In fact the center had to be thin enough "to read love letters through it", while the edges remained thick. The dough cakes were then fried in hot clarified butter, lard or oil and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.
Fun stories come from Franconia, where there is an additional distinction between the Catholic and Evangelical Küchla.
Round cakes were baked in Catholic areas, square ones in Protestant. As the dough was supposedly pulled off women's knees, and Catholic women were thought to kneel in worship more often, supposedly they had "rounder" knees than Lutherans, so producing round Catholic Küchla. Whereas Evangelical Küchla were more a "viereckig" cushion, with four sides and four angles.
Alternatively it is said Protestants were a bit austere, not enjoying life as much as Catholics, and as they were always saving used much more flour and much less fat,
Additionally in Franconia Catholic Knieküchle are dusted with sugar while Protestant Knieküchle are not.
Auszogne are an old traditional treat made mainly during the autumn harvest season and holidays in the past, but found all year these days. For Kirchweih, a Parish Fair, or during a centuries old, Dult, the first of which was recorded in 1402 and is a Bavarian market held around religious holidays that often includes a folk festival.
While of course Weihnachtsmärkte without Auszogne on offer are no real Christmas Markets.
There are many different recipes of Auszogne in Germany and this is one of the easiest and most popular, but you can just as easily make your own favorite sweetened yeast dough recipe because it is the way the dough is used that is important.
RECIPE FOR AUSZOGNE – KNIEKÜCHLE - BAVARIAN DONUTS
0.5208 cups...1/8 liter milk
5 cups...500 g all purpose flour
6.1/2 teaspoons... 40 g yeast
0.4115 cups...80 g sugar
0.3007 cups...70 g butter
Grated peel of an untreated, or thoroughly washed, lemon
A pinch of salt
A little confectioner's sugar, or a mix of confectioner's sugar and cinnamon, to dust the doughnuts when cooked.
Making a Yeast Dough
Start the yeast off in a little warm milk with a pinch of the sugar, cover and leave for a while.
Add the yeast mix to a hollow in the center of the sugar and flour and let it rest, covered, for 30 minutes or until it begins to bubble.
Add the butter, eggs, remaining milk and salt.
Kneed until the dough is smooth.
Cover and leave somewhere warm to prove for about an hour. It should double in size.
Forming the Auszogne
Cut into 12 equal sized pieces, they should be about the size of a chicken egg, and roll into balls.
Leave these to prove for a further 30 minutes on a board dusted with flour.
Taking the ball in both hands, press the middle and pull from the center outwards until it is about 4 inches - 10 cm, with a thick outer edge, just under an inch - 2 cm, and a very thin center......but make sure it doesn't tear.
They are then fried
Carefully slide the dough into hot clarified butter, cooking oil or lard, and with a spoon pour some of this over the Auszogne.
The dough will now blow up creating a bubble in the center.
Turn to cook the other side.
Remove when golden brown, this takes two to four minutes and the finished Auszogne should have a narrow yellow-white rim from where it has been lying in the hot fat.
Place on kitchen paper to drain.
Dust with sugar, or sugar and cinnamon mix, while still hot. (Raisins are often added to the dough mix, an unsweetened version is served with Sauerkraut in Austria and with soup in Germany, and different types of jelly can accompany a sweetened Auszogne).
Once Bavarian Donuts have been dusted with sugar they should be eaten the same day, but without sugar they can be kept for a day or two in an airtight tin and freeze perfectly.
Calorie bombs but just delicious.
Enjoy your Knieküchle - Auszogne - Bavarian Donuts!
Illustrations: Auszogne in Bavaria courtesy alp Bayern Agentur fuer Lebensmittel - Produkte aus Bayern Absatzförderung fuer die bayerische Land- und Ernaehrungswirtschaft - Fried Auszogne courtesy Magentratzerl.com - Shaping Auszogne Dough and Basting While Cooking courtesy Genussregion Oberfranken e.V.