Nanny's Zwieback (as made by Ed).
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 cup butter/margerine/oil (I use less -- about 1/2)
2 tblsp yeast (I think this is two pouches of Fleischmans)
6-7 cups flour (approximate)
1 pinch salt
1 tsp sugar (approximate)
1) Prepare two tablespoons of yeast in one cup of water with a bit of sugar.
2) Scald two cups of milk.
3) Combine the milk and "fats" with 1 cup flour.
4) (When this has cooled enough) add the yeast mixture.
5) Mix in some flour until the dough is to stiff too stir with a spoon
6) Using your hands to mix now, add the rest of the flour.
-- NOTE: I don't really keep track of the total. If you add too
much the dough is stiff and the buns are heavy and tough.
Practice makes perfect. It does also seem to be a bit dependent
on the humidity (as Mom always claimed) I think that the moisture
content of the flour is variable.
7) Knead the dough for a while (10 minutes). Mine is almost always sticky.
I have learned to add the last flour in a trickle over the kneading time
to control this. I think that maybe adding more fat will make the dough
glossier, smoother and less sticky. I just don't want that much fat in
8) Let the dough rise in warm quiet place (I use the inside of the
oven with only the light on -- at least half an hour. I grease the dough
and a sheet of wax paper with some shortening (more fat) and use the wax
paper as a lid to prevent the dough from drying out. Then I cover the
whole thing with a towel.
9) Form the dough into buns on baking sheets by pinching the the dough.
This would be a great thing to watch Amelia Bedelia doing!
You can roll the buns between your hands too but the texture of the
crust is slightly different. I describe pinching the dough below.
10) Let the dough rise again.
11) Bake the suckers. You can achieve quite a range of acceptable bun types
by varying the baking time and temperature. I prefer hot and fast.
200 C for about 10 minutes. Mom used to do them longer. They get a
tougher crust if they are baked longer. The secret to a crispy crust
like french bread is to periodically cool and humidify the surface of
the baking bread with spray of water. I don't think that this works well
with buns. But it may.
How to eat zwieback.
The obvious methods are:
- hold it in your hand and bite it -- plain and simple
- cut the bun in half and using a layer technique pile on the goodies
finishing with the bun top -- traditional
- cut the bun in half and spread each half with peanut butter and honey
or jam -- heavenly
- cut the bun in half and lay it face down in a warm frying pan, don't
add any more fat, just let it fry very slowly until the cut face gets
golden and crispy. Then dip it in soup. -- This is wonderful
and is twice baked (zwie back).
- Any way you can!
An alternate method of forming the buns.
Instead of making single buns, form each bun out of two or three smaller
pieces pressed side by side, especially in a muffin pan. The resulting
buns will be more like dinner rolls and will tear easily along the seams
between the component pieces.
Pinching the dough.
Seize a blob of dough big enough for several buns and hold it in your hand.
Make and "O" with your index finger and thumb and use your other fingers to
squeeze the dough through this opening. You can use your other hand to
push the doough as well. As the dough squeezes through, close off the
opening by dragging your index finger along your thumb to the base. This
looks like an iris diaphragm closing (think of the iris in a camera lens
or in your eye). With a bit of practice you get beautiful smooth skinned
buns. My mom called this pinching or pinching off the buns.
Back to recipe index