The Auszogne is such a favorite as a dessert or cake in Bavaria it is often known as a Bavarian Donut. However this traditional fried yeast dough pastry is not only found in Bayern's Old Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia, but also Thuringia in eastern Germany and Western Austria, while "Auszogne", which is Bavarian dialect for 'ausgezogene Nudel', changes name depending upon the region or local traditions.
These include Fenschterkiachle in Swabia, Rotttnudel in Lower Bavaria, Bauernkrapfen 'farmer's doughnuts', Kirchweihnudeln – literally 'Parish Fair Noodles', Kiachl in Austria and Kniekuechle.
Kniekuechle, 'Knee Cakes', because it is said having mixed the ingredients Franconian cooks would then 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. After which the dough cakes were fried in hot clarified butter, lard or oil and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.
Additionally in Franconia 'Catholic' Kniekuechle are dusted with sugar while 'Protestant' Kniekuechle are not.
A baked good found year round these days, in the past Auszogne were made mainly during the autumn harvest season and holidays. Such as Kirchweih, a Parish Fair, and during a centuries old Dult, the first was recorded in 1402, a Bavarian market held around religious holidays which often includes a folk festival, and of course Weihnachtsmarkte, 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 how the dough is then used which is important.
RECIPE FOR AUSZOGNE – KNIEKUECHLE - 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 carefully 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.
Make 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's 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.
These 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.
Enjoy your Kniekuechle - Auszogne - Bavarian Donuts!
Illustrations: Auszogne in Bavaria courtesy alp Bayern Agentur fuer Lebensmittel - Produkte aus Bayern Absatzförderung fuer die bayerische Land- und Ernaehrungswirtschaft - Shaping Auszogne Dough and Basting While Cooking courtesy Genussregion Oberfranken e.V.
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