Tuesday, October 21, 2014


If you are familiar at all with these traditional Czech sweet buns you will note right off the bat that mine do not have any kind of filling. But, since "buchty" translates as "buns" I think the name is still appropriate.  I simply find it too finicky to try to seal jam or poppyseed filing inside the dough. I also think you get a better rise, bake, and crumb without a filling.  So do what you want with this recipe. I like to cut the buns in half, toast them, and slather them with strawberry jam for breakfast.

- 17 oz white bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3.5 oz vegan butter, divided (or vegetable shortening)
- 8 oz lukewarm non-dairy milk
- 4 oz mashed potatoes (i.e. boiled whole in skins, skinned, then mashed)
- 1 tbsp instant yeast

1. Whisk together 10 oz of the flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the melted butter to the warm milk.  Add the mashed potatoes and blend until smooth (I use an immersion blender in a large 4 cup measuring cup).  The mixture will be thick.  Whisk in yeast and let sit for 5 mins.
3. Add milk mixture to the flour and beat until smooth (batter attachment on a stand mixer works well).
4. Cover and let sit for an hour in a warm place.
5. Add the remaining 7 oz of flour and work into a soft, smooth dough.  It should be tacky, but not sticky.  Add more flour or milk as needed.  Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
6. Line the bottom of a 10x10 baking pan with parchment paper.
7. Melt the remaining 1.5 oz of vegan butter
8. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and shape into balls. Roll each ball in the butter to coat and place in the pan in four rows of four.
9. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
10. Bake for 22-25 mins, until a dark golden brown.
11. Remove from the pan to a cooling rack.  Dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In Memory

 Last week my grandmother passed away after 94 years on this earth. Born in Pennsylvania to Slovak immigrant parents who worked in the steel mills and rail yards around Pittsburgh, she did not have an easy life. My grandfather passed away almost 30 years ago and yet my grandma carried on, making ends meet from his meagre pension and the little that Social Security provided. And yet, her generosity knew no bounds. We were always welcomed into her home with food, and lots of it. She taught me about hospitality and I have tried in this blog and at my own home to keep that alive. Food politics so often divides us that we forget how a meal can bring us together. I am so grateful that I got to know my grandmother for almost forty years and that all my children were able to hear her laugh and listen to her stories. So tonight I am making a big batch of pierogies in her honour and thinking about how my grandma's hospitality and love touched so many.