White Bread

Growing up, there were few pleasures so simple as eating a fresh slice of my mom’s white bread spread with butter. The bread would release whirls of steam when she cut into it…the butter would instantly melt into the warm surface…and my slice would be gone in about 10 seconds flat.

Apparently, when my mom and dad got married, she made sandwich bread every week, rather than buying Wonderbread at the store. Unfortunately, waning free time (er…and probably the neediness of two small children) ultimately demanded she stop this tradition, but we still lucked out every now and then. In fact, my favorite thing about snow days was that my mom would make several loaves of bread and my brother and I got to enjoy the most delicious sandwiches EVER for a week or so.

By the way, in case you don’t know anything about snow in Richmond, VA, where I grew up, let’s just say that the mere prediction of snow causes mass insanity among the natives. Everyone simultaneously panics–no one would dare risk their lives driving in snow–and races to the store to buy every loaf of bread, gallon of milk, and carton of eggs in existence. Because naturally, the 1 inch dusting of snow that covers the lawns and trees and just maybe the streets of Richmond will prevent anyone from buying such commodities ever again.

My mom is much more sensible than that, having grown up in Long Island, and so she contents herself to fill the house with the most delicious smell that was ever created: fresh, homemade bread.

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I am currently a Masters of Education student, studying to teach German. As such, I have to do teaching demonstrations for my classes a few times a semester.

This semester, one of my demonstrations involved reading a very short children’s tale with a class full of my non-German-speaking colleagues. Originally by Tolstoy (ironic, eh?), this story describes a man who is very hungry and keeps buying rolls (Kolatschen) to try to get full. He buys three and then finally switches to a pretzel, which fills him up immediately. And the moral of the story is that a good German man would start with the pretzel and not waste his money on biscuits.

The children’s book that the story came from also contains a recipe for the Kolatschen. Being the little baker that I am, I naturally decided to make the Kolatschen for my students.

A German recipe is a bit difficult to navigate when you are an American cook. I had to measure water in liters (yes, I did have to look up the conversion to cups), and my tiny tiny cooking scale proved much too small for 400 grams of flour. Alas.

But these little buns turned out well in the end, dense and chewy, a bit like bagels! I am posting the recipe here in both German and English.

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