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German Holiday Kuchen

Fr. Muerder's German Holiday Kuchen

1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks (save whites for topping)
3 3/4 cup sifted flour
1/3 cup butter or Crisco or oleo
1 yeast cake or 2 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water

Scald milk; add sugar, butter and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Add yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and egg yokes. Mix thoroughly. Gradually stir in the flour. When it becomes too stiff to stir, work the rest of the flour in by hand and knead like bread dough for about 15 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.

HAEFE-KRANZ (Braided Kuchen)
Cut 3 generous pieces of the dough and roll into long round strips ( about 20 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.) Place these rolls in a large shallow pan, beginning at the center braid to both ends forming an arc like loaf. Bake at 325* until it is a dark golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. For special occasions, raisins and/or candied fruit and nuts may be added to the dough. The loaf may be frosted with a confectioners sugar frosting, and sprinkled with nuts.

SHEET KUCHEN
(Apple, Cherry, Plum) Roll out the dough, very thin, and place in a greased pan with 1/2 inch lip. The pan may be round, square or rectangular. Gently press the dough up against the sides of the pan forming a sort of a shell and fill with your favorite fruit, fresh or canned.

FOR APPLE: Slice tart apples very thin and arrange on the dough. Cover with batter (recipe below.) Bake at 325* to 350* for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

FOR CHERRY or PLUM: If the fruit is fresh, do the same as the apple (pit the cherries and plums.) If canned fruit is used, drain the juice and arrange the fruit in rows on the dough. Take 1/3 cup of the juice and thicken with cornstarch; pour over the fruit. Cover with batter. Bake 325* to 350* for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

BATTER TOPPING FOR SHEET KUCHENS

2 to 3 eggs
1 to 2 Tbs. flour
1 to 2 Tbs. sugar

Separate the whites and yolks of the eggs. Mix the yolks, flour and sugar. Beat the whites until stiff. Fold into the yolk. Mix and spread thinly but completely over the fruit.

CHRISTMAS KUCHEN: (as seen on "Our Daily Bread" 12/12/98)
Roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Scatter about 1 to 1/2 cups of dried candied fruit on to the dough. Roll into a log. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350* for about 30 minutes.