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Last day I was walking through the “Herrengasse”, which is the Oxford Street of Graz, with a friend. The whole street was transformed to a farmer’s market where people sold their homemade liquors, “Kürbiskernöl” and lots of typical Styrian baked goods. There was also a stand that sold “Buchteln” and I suddenly was craving them like a child craves candy floss. We queued and while we were looking at the other delicious things they had in their vitrine, two old ladies came along and asked the woman behind the counter why they didn’t sell Buchteln with Powidl.

“Well, people don’t buy them.” the woman answered, relaxedly. “But they are the real ones, why don’t you sell them!?!”, one of the old ladies said, really unfriendly. The woman, still relaxed, replied, with a Styrian accent: “Nobody likes them, not even the Viennese!” (“Net amal de Weana!”) “Pheeww, we don’t care about the Viennese!”, one of the ladies countered and they both went away, shaking their head, highly incensed.

My friend and I looked at each other, shaking our heads, too. How ridiculous was that?! Ok, they could have made some Buchteln with Powidl, but aren’t there more important things in life? Honestly.

As I decided that I don’t want to spend 6 euro for Buchteln, I had to be satisfied with a dry cookie. But as we had fresh yeast in the fridge, I decided that I actually could give it a try and make my own vegan “Buchteln” today.

Makes about 15 Buchteln

  • 250 ml soy milk (1 cup plus 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cube fresh yeast (42 g)
  • 50 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 100 g vegetable margarine, softened (such as *Earth Balance or *Alsan)
  • 1 tbsp soy meal
  • 5 tbsp apricot marmalade or “Powidl” (Austrian plum jam)

In a pot, slightly heat the milk. (it should be just a bit warmer than your finger, otherwise the yeast won’t rise). Add the crumbled yeast, one tbsp of sugar and 70 g flour (1/2 cup) and whisk until frothy.

Cover with a dish towel and let stand for about 10 minutes. (This is called “Dampfl” in Austria and to my surprise there is no English word for that!) It should have risen quite a lot by that time.

In a bowl, mix the sugar, salt and rest of the flour. Add the Dampfl, and the cubed, softened margarine. Mix the soy meal with 3 tbsp of water and add it, too.

Knead until you have a smooth dough. You may want to knead it on a dusted surface, as kneading in a bowl isn’t too practical. Put the dough back in the bowl, dust with flour and cover with the dish towel again. Let rise in a warm place, until it has doubled its size (about an hour).

On a dusted surface, knead the dough to let some of the air out, and divide into small portions. Form them to little “disks” and put a dab of marmalade in the middle.

Form to a little ball, not letting the marmalde out. Put the balls into a oven dish and cover with a dish towel for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200° C. Brush the Buchteln with some melted or softened margarine and let them bake for about 25 – 30 minutes, until they colour golden. (be careful not to be deceived by their colour – I took mine out after 15 minutes because they had a nice colour and they weren’t completely done and therefore sticky. This led to the conclusion that inner values are more important than appearance.)