Feb 11, 2013

Do you know how I can have fasnacht kuechles for Lent?

Many years ago, Smith’s Bakery (in Columbus/Strub shopping center) would make Fasnacht Kuechles during Lent. These where a cross between a yeast doughnut and an elephant ear. They were BIG with no jelly anywhere to be found (sorry, not a paczki fan). Although they closed a while back, I still crave these as Lent approaches. Any idea of someone local who would produces these or would be familiar with the recipe? Please help! — Sugar Addict on Schiller

OK, Mailbag fans, here's another group participation question. Does anyone know where this person can find fasnacht kuechles? Does anyone have a recipe? Please post below!

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Google a recipe gotta be one somewhere... I can't even pronounce them.




Yes, Grandmother and Great Grandmother used to make them.


Start mixing the dough! Here's the recipe.

Technically, these are called Fasnachtsküchle, but in my pigden German they were always just Fasnachts. (Fasnacht is the night before the fast, and is spelled with a second t, Fastnacht, everywhere but Swaben and Switzerland.)

3 1/4 to 3 1/2 c. flour
1 c. milk, warmed
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. yeast (half a package)
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
6 Tb. butter

Dipping sugar

1/3 c. sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Measure 3 1/4 c. flour into a large (3 quart) bowl, and make a "well" in the flour. Just a hole, not all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. Pour some of the warmed milk into the well, about 1/4 c. Don't sweat being particulary accurate. Add in about 1 Tb. of the sugar and all the yeast. Mix the milk, sugar, yeast and a little bit of the surrounding flour into a batter.

Now, let it sit for half an hour. Keep the remaining milk covered and warm; I leave it on an electric burner turned to warm.

This is how all German recipes make yeast breads. Make a well in the flour, mix a little liquid, etc. It's called a Vorteig, a pre-dough. It proofs the yeast (that is, proves the yeast works -- very important when you buy yeast from a store that sells mostly Cheetos to college students). Years ago, before modern instant yeasts, this steps was also important to remove the dead yeast cells encapsulating a core of living cells; not strictly necessary in these days of instant yeast, but this is all about tradition.

Just before the half hour is up, melt the butter, then combine it with the remaining milk and sugar, the two eggs, beaten, and the salt. Mix this into the proofed yeast, and mix in the remaining flour. If the dough looks wet and gloopy, add up to a quarter cup flour more. However, you want a soft dough that isn't dry, unless you want fried bread dough rather than doughnuts.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead just until the dough is smooth, no more than a dozen times. This is not the time for an upper body work out; that's foccaccia. The dough should be soft, sticking just a bit to the heel of your hand. Put it into a bowl (about quart-size), cover and put into a warm room for half an hour.

This is a good time to do the dishes. Of course, in my house, any time is good for the dishes, they always seem to be there.

After half an hour, the dough with not have doubled in size. This is OK. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to be about 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. (When I made these directions, I measured the thickness, but measuring the height and width would have been better.) Using a pizza or pastry cutter (mine's plastic and says "Guiseppe's" on it -- best pizza in Bucks County), cut the dough into strips about three fingers wide. Cut each strip into rectangles about the size of the palm of your hand, or into squares, or diamonds. Or skip the strips and cut them into circles with a drinking glass, and cut the holes out with a shot glass, like my grandmother did when I complained that doughnuts are round, not square. Cut out all the doughnuts before frying.

Right now you can stop and freeze the doughnuts to fry them later. This will almost stop the yeast completely, but won't kill it. Place doughnuts onto a sheet of wax paper on a plate or baking sheet (plate is easier to transport); doughnuts should not touch each other. When the wax paper is covered, put down another sheet, etc. Cover with a last sheet of wax paper, then tinfoil and freeze.

In a wide soup bowl or on a plate, mix 1/3 c. sugar with cinnamon. Stir until cinnamon coats the sugar. There should be just enough cinnamon to give a hint to the final doughnut.

Heat canola or peanut oil to 350 to 375 degrees. An electric frypan would be really good for this. If you are frying without benefit of a self-calibrating appliance (say, frying in your wok), make sure the thermometer is calibrated: boil some water. Does the thermometer read 212 degrees? No? Time for a new one.

Gently slide in a few doughnuts; not so many that the oil is crowded. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook the other side to golden. If the oil is not too hot, this should take at least two minutes a side.

Drain on paper towels and cool enough to handle.

Drop each doughnut into the cinnamon sugar, and coat.

Eat immediately or within 24 hours. If you can't eat them immediately, and will be able to fry them when you can eat them, freeze the dough before frying.

Alles Gutes!

Sarah Weber

Wow, Nor'easter, this looks awesome. Thank you!


If you can make it down to Columbus, Juergens is a bakery in German Village that makes them. They're delish!


just finished making them today because I work on Tuesdays so we have Fat Monday here. Family recipe that has been used for at least 4 generations.

heat together:

2 c milk
1 stick butter/marg
1 TBSP salt
3/4 c sugar

let cool then add 2 eggs

mix together 2 packages yeast & 1/2 c warm water

Add yeast to other ingredients.

Stir in 8 cups of flour.
Cover the dough with a towel and let the dough rise overnight.
Punch the dough down in the morning.
Roll out and cut into strip, then squsres/diamonds, etc.
Let cut shapes rise for 1 hour
Fry in vegetable oil & drain on towels

Toss in POWDERED sugar just prior to serving.
Extremely tasty when served warm or microwaved for a few seconds.
They keep fine for a few days in a bag and I have frozen them as well.

Hope this helps! My family can't get enough of them and they are one of my favorite childhood memories!


My grandmother used to make these also, but I haven't seen one since 1923.