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German Sour Cream Twists
Makes 3 Dz. Large or 4 Dz. Small Twist
*3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
*1 tsp. salt
*1 package dry yeast
*1 cup sour cream, room temperature
*1 egg, room temperature
*2 egg yolks, room temperature
*1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
*1/2 cup margarine or other solid shortening
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 cup sugar
1Use 1 large or 2 small baking sheets, lightly greased or covered with parchment paper, or Teflon.
2BY HAND OR MIXER (10 minutes):
3Measure 2 cups flour into a mixing or mixer bowl and add the salt and yeast. Stir to blend. In a saucepan, heat to lukewarm and stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolks, butter, and shortening. Add the vanilla. If by hand, form a well in the flour and pour in the liquid to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to form a rough, shaggy mass that can be lifted to the work surface to knead.
4If using a mixer, attach the flat beater, turn to medium speed, and pour in the liquid. Beat for 2 minutes. Attach the dough hook. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to create a dough that is soft and forms around the dough hook as it revolves.
5The dough will be quite buttery and be filmed with considerable oil. Light sprinkles of flour will keep it manageable.
6KNEADING (5 minutes):
7If by hand, begin to work with a dough blade, spatula, or putty knife, turning and folding the dough. Then use your hands. Knead for 5 minutes. If using the dough hook in the mixer bowl, knead for 5 minutes. Add sprinkles of flour if the dough is wet with oil.
8BY PROCESSOR (5 minutes):
9Attach the plastic dough blade.
10Measure 2 1/2 cups flour into the work bowl and add the salt and yeast. Pulse.
11Prepare the sour cream, egg, egg yolks, butter, shortening, and vanilla, as above. With the machine running, pour the lukewarm liquid through the feed tube to form a thick batter.
12Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a rough ball of dough forms and rides with the blade. The dough will clean the bowl as it spins.
13KNEADING (30 seconds):
14Process the dough to knead for 30 seconds.
15FIRST RISING (1 1/2 hours):
16The dough is so buttery that there is no need to grease the bowl beforehand. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to double in bulk, 1 1/2 hours.
17SHAPING (10 minutes):
18Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Liberally sprinkle sugar on the work surface and on the ball of dough. Roll out the dough to an 18" length, occasionally sprinkling on sugar. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and then into quarters. Roll out the dough again into a rectangle 18" x 1/2". Sprinkle with sugar.
19Rather than use the rolling pin, I often press and shape the dough under the palms of my hands. The twists may be made large or small. With a pizza cutter or knife held against a yardstick, cut the rectangle into lengths - 1" wide by 4" long for the larger twist, and 1/2" wide by 2" for the smaller ones. Twist each piece and place 1" apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
20SECOND RISING (1 hour):
21Cover the twists with parchment or wax paper and set aside to become puffy and raised, about 1 hour.
22Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees about 20 minutes before baking.
23BAKING (25 minutes):
24Uncover the twists and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Place in the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
25If using a convection oven, reduce heat 40 F degrees.
27Immediately lift the twists from the baking sheet with a spatula, otherwise the sugared bottoms will stick and never part from the pan in whole pieces. Place on a metal rack to cool.
  • This is a crispy, flaky, sugar-crusted delicacy rich with sour cream, butter, and eggs. These can be made any size, but I like the twists 4 x 1-inch for several bites at breakfast, or petite ones 2 x 1/2-inch for one-bite pieces at a buffet or tea service.
  • This is a dough rich in fat and easy to work, but it will not be as elastic as other yeast doughs. It will rise and become puffy nevertheless.

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