Hamburger Klöben (1830)

Just as brief post today. A friend of my mother who is housebound said he enjoyed the Quarkstollen I baked in December very much and said he was sorry that he would have to wait until next Christmas for another one. So I used the free Saturday to make some more and also to try out the recipe for Klöben from the 1830 Hamburgisches Koch-Buch:

IX No. 88: To bake good Klöben

Take 10 pounds of flour, 2 pounds of butter, half a Loth of cinnamon, half a pound of currants, a quarter pound of sugar, 1 cup of syrup, 2 cups of large raisins, 4 beer glasses of warm milk, 2 glasses of yeast, and prepare it as Hannoverschen Kuchen. From this dough, you can prepare 5 Klöben, brush them with egg yolk, and bake them in an oven.


IX No 106: Hannoverscher Butter Cake

Take two pounds of good wheat flour, a quarter pound of ground sugar, cardamom, three egg yolks, and grated lemon peel in an earthen bowl. Lay one pound of butter and a little salt in the centre of the flour and pour on a large beer glass full of warm milk and a little less warm white beer yeast. Stir it all well together and if the dough is not soft enough, add a little more warm milk. When all is stirred well and the dough detaches from the bowl, work them thoroughly with your hands on a table and roll it out as evenly as the sheet on which it is meant to be baked. …

A Klöben or Klaben is the North German equivalent of a Stolle or Striezel, a rich, heavy cake with spices and dried fruit traditionally eaten in winter. Unlike the Stollen in Dresden, Klöben never was associated exclusively with Christmas, though. It has thus dies out almost completely, replaced by more contemporary confections like brioche, Rosinenstuten, and croissants.

Despite including measurements, the recipe is not entirely self-explanatory. Referring to the related one for Hannoverscher Kuchen helps with the preparation procedure, and in the end I guesstimated the size of a beer glass and divided the quantities by ten. That gave me a manageable 500g of flour (I used Typ 405), 100g of butter, a slightly implausible 12.5g of sugar and a few tablespoons of syrup (I did not measure these exactly), about a quarter cup of raisins and currants, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I mixed the dry ingredients, then worked in the butter and turned the whole into a pliable dough with milk in which I had dissolved the yeast. Since I was not sure of the consistency aimed for, I went with what I normally use for yeast Stollen. It took a long time to rise, but then baked very well. Unfortunately, by that time it was quite late and I was a little impatient, so I overlooked the loaf had tipped on its side on the cooling rack. That explains the somewhat unusual bendy shape.

Today, I tried some and I have to say it is quite good. While it is nowhere near as sugary rich as Stollen, it is noticeably sweet and assertively spicy. It also toasts well. I’ll bring some to work tomorrow to test on my colleagues.

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