Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Those Sexy, Yummy Keuchels!

Taste this,” she had said the evening before as she sat astride him, pulling apart a piece of fried dough the size of a luncheon plate, and scattering powdered sugar all over his chest. “It's called a keuchel. I made it myself. Bertie showed me how.”
He let her feed the dough to him. “I know what a keuchel is. We had them every Sunday when I was a kid.” He chewed and swallowed.
I don't know how you stay in such incredible shape.” She popped the last piece in her mouth, licked the sugar from her fingers and then, leaning down, licked the sugar from his chest as well. “When I get back to New York I'm going to have to live at the gym to make up for this week.”

That sexy little scene is from the story Of Beautiful Strangers, Woodchucks, and Bearded Ladies, the seventh story in my The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secets of Marienstadt. In the scene, handsome Chief of Police Henry Werner is involved in a torrid affair with Brianna Swann, a writer for a New York magazine who has come to Marienstadt to write an article about Pennsylvania Dutch food. How did a humble keuchel get involved in such a sultry scene? Well, girls like Brianna know how to make a guy happy.

In 2007 I started a web site to share the unique and wonderful dishes from my Pennsylvania Dutch family's collection. There are a lot of unusual recipes but over the years none has drawn more hits than my Great-Aunt Mary Dippold's Keuchels. Keuchels, as I explain on the page, are a form of fried dough that were a family tradition—especially during Holy Week, the last week of Lent in our Catholic family.
Marcy's Home-made Keuchels
That web site grew into a cookbook, Fry Bacon. Add Onions: The Valentine Family & Friends Cookbook, which has stayed on various Amazon Top Seller lists since it was published in 2009. Recently, in a Facebook forum for people from my hometown, a discussion of keuchel making came up and I posted the link. One of the participants, Marcy, made keuchels according to the recipe and posted a picture which she gave me permission to post above. Aren't they beautiful? She said they are on a large turkey platter which gives you an idea of their size. She also said her husband is loving them.

So, I figured maybe it is time to once again post Aunt Mary's recipe. If you give it a try, let me know—I'd love to see your picture. The little guy in the picture is Marcy's grandson learning about the joys of keuchels. Aunt Mary would be so proud!!

Keuchels (KEE-kulls) are wonderful things! They are puffy, round pieces of fried dough which arethick and chewy around the edges and thin and crunchy in the middle. Great Aunt Mary Dippold (right in 1919)was Gram Werner’s older sister and the most beautiful woman she had round pink cheeks and snowy hair and she always reminded my of Mrs. Santa Claus. She lived across the street from the German Church in St.Marys and made the best keuchels. A proper keuchel should be about the size of a luncheon plate and be a lovely, golden brown color. The old Germans in St. Marys say they get their quaint shape because they are shaped by pulling them over your knee. 

Mix well:
1 qt. milk
1 c. sugar
1 stick margarine or butter

Dissolve a yeast cake in ½ c. warm water.
Knead together 8 c. flour and 6 eggs. Add the yeast and the milk mixture. Knead well. Cover and let raise.

Pinch off pieces by the handful and shape into round, flat shapes that are thicker toward the edge and flat toward the middle. Drop into a fryer of hot oil and fry until golden and floating. Drain well and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Gram liked to serve them warm with jam in the center.

Thanks for reading!!!


  1. I came across this while on a search for recipes for my ninja cooker, it was through a picture of these on pinterest, with a comment someone made about how they were going to try them in their ninja cooker.

    I'm sure you probably don't have that information or could help with it, but my question is, since so many people have been making them over time & enjoying them, and they've become popular,
    have you read/heard any of the different ways other people make them? Do you know of any methods others have tried using to make them that use other cooking devices or appliances?

    Mostly I ask because I don't have a fryer, and these look so delicious. I would absolutely love to try them. Any tips you have would be lovely, preferably easy methods. (the person cooking them isn't too bright, nor very skilled at cooking/baking/frying/etc & I can't cook, due to physical disability)
    Thanks for any help! :)
    Great stuff here.

  2. I have never heard of them being made any other way than by deep frying. Sorry. I personally have never made them but have helped my aunt when she did.


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