Yes, finally, I am featuring the famous buchty brioches! Is there anything better than the irresistible smell of such a delicious soft bun?
The word buchty is the plural form of the word buchta, which is Czech for “small roll” or “small cake”.
Do you know Bohemia? No, I’m not talking about Puccini’s opera or this song by Charles Aznavour that I love, but a Bohemia that is called Čechy in Czech.
With the beautiful city of Prague as its capital, Bohemia is a historical region of Central Europe, which occupies the central and western part of the Czech Republic. With a population of 6,250,000, Bohemia is bordered to the west by Germany (Bavaria and Saxony), to the north-east by Poland, to the east by the Czech Moravian region and to the south by Austria.
Today’s buchty were born in the Bohemian region. No wonder they play such an important role in much of Europe.
If buchteln is the common word used by many countries to call these little buns, they have a different name depending on each region or country.
In Bavaria, the buchteln are called rohrnudeln. In Slovenia they are called buhteljni. In Serbia, it is buhtle or buhtla. In Hungary, they are called bukta. In Croatia, buhtle. In Poland, buchta. In the Czech Republic, buchty, buchtičky or buchtička. And in the region of Zagreb, in Kaïkavien, they are called buhtli.
The buchty are leavened balls of dough, usually stuffed, and baked together in a mold, almost glued to each other, to form a single bun after baking. The blade of a knife should never touch a buchteln, because these little soft buns, once baked, are supposed to come off one another very easily just like the Danish varme hveder brioche I made a few months ago.
Flour, butter, milk, salt, yeast, eggs, and a little sugar, these are the ingredients of these traditional buchty, like a good French brioche, to which will be added a zest of lemon, rum, and vanilla.
Of course, you can prepare plain buchty but, the most traditional recipe includes a powidl filling.
The powidl is a confit of fruits, and most often of damson plums, but it is sometimes prepared with apples, peaches or apricots. It is called lekvar in Slovakia. The Austrians, the Czechs and the Germans call it powidl or pflaumenmus, and the Hungarians call it lekveir.
In Central Europe or Eastern Europe, every year at the end of August, the women gather to patiently make this confit of plums which, in Jewish homes, is part of all the sweets placed on the tables of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, along with apple and quince.
Unlike jams, the sweetness of this fruit confit does not come from any added sugar but from the concentration of the sugars of the ripe fruits obtained by cooking them for a long time at low temperature. In its most authentic form, a powidl never contains sugar.
According to the tradition, it may include cinnamon, clove, ginger, lemon or even grated gingerbread.
For the filling of the buchty buns, powidl is sometimes replaced with plum or apricot jam, or with a prune or a fresh quetsche that is placed in each brioche.
If you do not want to try the very long preparation of a powidl, keep in mind that you may be able to find some specialty grocery stores.
The second traditional filling for the buchty is poppy seeds: The ground poppy seeds are cooked with milk and sugar for a few minutes. The cooled mixture is then blended with sugar, vanilla, ground almonds and cloves.
And finally the tvaroh-based filling (quark cheese), that is mixed with lemon zest, vanilla, and raisins that are rehydrated with rum and sugar.
Vienna, Austria! This is where I intend to taste the best buchty of the world! More precisely at the Hawelka Café in Vienna!
Every old café in Vienna has a story. At the Hawelka café, it’s a love story, the love story of Josefine and Leopold Hawelka.
Leopold was already working in the famous restaurant “Deierl” where he met and fell in love with Josefine. They got married and then opened their own café, the Hawelka at Dorotheergasse, in 1939.
From the yellowish posters on the walls to the wooden chairs worn by time, the Hawelka Café seems to have the typical atmosphere of the literary café of the early twentieth century. The Hawelka Café has given hospitality and inspiration to poets. intellectuals and renowned artists.
But, as surprising as it may seem, if you want to enjoy these hot little buchty with vanilla cream at Café Hawelka, you’ll have to go there at night, and never before 8 pm, which is when the first batch is served.
The lovers who will have the courage to wait after 10 pm, will have the chance, in addition to avoiding the crowd, to meet girls writing beautiful poems in a cozy and intimate artistic atmosphere. Until 2011, the year of his death, you could have met Leopold still sitting at the entrance. Josefine actually passed away in 2005.
Josefine left the recipe of her Bohemian mother-in-law to her children who taught it to the grand children. The buchty that are prepared today at the Café follow the old recipe of Josefine, and are prepared by her grandson, Amir Hawelka. The coffee is now held by Amir and his brother, Michael.
And so it is the recipe of Josefine that I am sharing with you today! Note that the vanilla sauce is optional, and traditionally not included with the Czech version of the buchty.
Enjoy these deliciously soft and airy buchty!
This recipe is validated by our culinary expert in Czech cuisine, Kristyna Koutna. You can find Kristyna on her food blog CzechCookbook.com.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
- 1 cup whole milk (warmed at 95F/36C)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract powder
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon rum
- 16 oz powidl (plum confit)
- 1 teaspoon rum
- ¾ cip icing sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter , melted
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup creme fraiche
- ⅓ cup caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast with the warm milk, add the sugar and 1 cup of flour. Mix until smooth. Lightly flour the surface, cover and let stand for 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
- Melt the butter and let it cool.
- In the bowl of a stand-mixer, pour the egg and egg yolks and beat them lightly. Add the vanilla, zest of lemon, warm melted butter, and mix.
- Add the yeast and flour mixture. Start kneading and gradually add the remaining flour.
- Knead for 3 minutes at medium speed, then stir in the salt.
- Knead again for 3 minutes.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 30 minutes (at about 85F/30C, away from drafts).
- Mix the powidl and the rum.
Preheat the convection oven to 350F/185C.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and gently punch it down.
Divide dough into 15 pieces of about 2 oz (60g) each.
- For a circle with each piece of dough, then drop a teaspoon of powidl in the center and fold the sides to enclose the powidl. Form a ball.
- Turn each ball over and place them in a buttered rectangular pan.
- Place all the balls of dough next to each other and brush them generously with melted butter.
- Let the buns rise again for 20 minutes at room temperature, away from drafts and brush them with butter again.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- As soon as they are out of the oven, brush the buns with butter again, and let them cool on a rack.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar.
- Split the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape the seeds and mix them with the milk in a saucepan.
- Put the pods into the milk and bring it to a boil.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and infuse for 20 minutes.
- In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar.
- Return the milk to the heat and bring back to boil.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and, while beating the egg yolks, gradually pour the boiling milk.
- Put the mixture back in the saucepan on medium to low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- Cool quickly by placing the pan in water and ice to stop the cooking and add the cream, while stirring constantly.
- Serve hot or warm buchty with the vanilla cream.