Transylvanian Coffin Buns Recipe

Transylvanian Coffin Buns Recipe
One of the best timesaving appliances is the automatic bread machine. While some models make good bread from start to finish, the biggest appeal is that all of them make excellent dough with a minimum of actual hands-on time. The machine will call you when the dough is ready to be shaped, and then the breads and rolls can be made into anything that suits the occasion. Case in point: Transylvanian Coffin Buns, which are actually pumpernickel pretzels. They are the perfect buns to serve with Ichabod’s Innards or A Crock of Entrails. They can also be used for cold sandwiches.
Since these buns are actually authentic German pretzels, it is important to plan ahead and have food-grade lye in the cupboard. It is readily available online. (Some recipes call for substituting a baking soda bath, but that won’t give the traditional texture to the buns; don’t bother.) The diastatic malt powder is also available online; if you haven’t planned ahead, you can leave it out. While these rolls require a few more ingredients and a little more time than regular buns, they are worth it, especially since they look like coffins and are the perfect size for a hot dog or sausage.

18 Buns

1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons diastatic malt powder
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon yeast

4 cups cool tap water
2 tablespoons food grade lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

  1. Place the dough ingredients in the order given into the pan of an automatic bread machine. Set the machine to the dough cycle and let run 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check to make sure the ingredients have formed a soft ball; if the ball is too soft, add a little more flour; if it is too stiff, add more water and start the cycle over.
  2. When the cycle has finished, transfer the dough to a lightly floured pastry cloth.
  3. Roll the dough 1/2" thick.
  4. Using a 4" coffin-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many buns as possible. Gather up the remaining dough and smooth it out; roll it and cut more coffins.
  5. Place the cool tap water and the lye in a glass bowl; stir to dissolve the lye. It's a good idea to wear plastic gloves when working with lye, and since it ruins wood surfaces, place the bowl on a towel on a non-wood surface.
  6. Dip the coffins into the lye mixture, letting each one sit in the mixture for 30 seconds.
  7. Drain each and place on baking sheets that have been sprayed liberally with non-stick spray (they stick to parchment, so avoid it).
  8. When all are cut, dipped in the lye mixture, and placed on the baking sheets, set the timer for 30 minutes; after 30 minutes, turn the oven to 375º.
  9. When the oven has heated, bake the coffins 10-15 minutes or until dark golden brown; remove from the oven and let cool.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 133 Calories from Fat 22
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 17% Protein 12% Carb. 71%

Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Sodium 238 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g

Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 7%

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This content was written by Karen Hancock. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karen Hancock for details.