A kuchen (koo-khen) is a traditional German yeast cake-bread. It is usually made with a topping – this version uses a streusel topping, although apples, grated chocolate or chopped nuts may be substituted. Serve kuchen as a coffee or tea- time treat.
2- oz. yeast
2 tablespoons plus
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
12 oz. flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
5 fl. oz. lukewarm milk
2 oz. plus
2- teaspoon butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 oz. crushed digestive biscuits
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 oz. butter, softened
Crumble the yeast into a small bowl ana mash in the 1 teaspoon of sugar with a fork. Add the water and cream the yeast and water together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.
Sift the flour, salt and ginger into a large, warmed mixing bowl. Add the lemon rind and remaining sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, the milk, 2 ounces of melted butter and the egg.
Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and clastic. Reflour the surface if the dough becomes sticky.
Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the Kuchen, a yeast cake from Germany, is ideal for a mid-morning snack when buttered and served with coffee. bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place. Leave it for 1 to ½ hours, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.
Lightly grease a 2-pound loaf tin with the remaining ½ teaspoon of butter. Set aside.
Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for about 3 minutes. Set it aside for 10 minutes. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a square about 1-inch thick. With your hands, shape the dough into a rectangle about 2 inches thick and place it in the loaf tin. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to moderate 350 °F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).
To make the streusel topping, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the crushed biscuits , sugar, cinnamon and softened butter together with a fork or a wooden spoon. Stir until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the dough. Set the tin aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen.
Place the loaf tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the kuchen is well risen and the topping is golden brown and slightly crunchy.
Remove the tin from the oven and run a sharp knife around the edge of the kuchen. Carefully slide the kuchen on to a wire rack to cool.