The Fresh Loaf

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Lenten Baking: paczki, hot cross buns, king cakes, Vastlakuklid, pretzels??

tabasco's picture

Lenten Baking: paczki, hot cross buns, king cakes, Vastlakuklid, pretzels??

Hi, TFLers,

Perhaps the Lenten baking enthusiasts among us can help me?

I am writing an article about Lenten baking traditions and I am hoping bakers on Fresh Loaf who bake anything in particular for the season might share your story, what is popular in your local,  perhaps your family tradition, a pic or/and a recipe?  Breads, cookies, pastries, etc., are what I have in mind.

Here in Cincinnati the bakeries advertise their 'paczkis', but I don't really know exactly what they are...they seem very popular though.

And at our house we bake hot cross buns on Shrove Tuesday and during Holy Week; and my husband likes his Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, although we don't always get the timing right--sometimes we serve those on Lenten weekends.. I've been baking Hamelman's Hot Cross Bun recipe in recent years, but I can't resist tweaking it to suit my tastes of the day.

Any other suggestions from your experiences?

Thanks so much.  J.




Yerffej's picture

Pączki are a Polish treat that are similar to  jelly doughnuts but in its true form is much much better than any jelly doughnut ever hoped to be as it is made with an enriched dough.


tabasco's picture

Thank you Jef f and Thomas for your tips.  I looked up the German Lenten treat ‘Berliners’ or aka "fasnachts" and I’m determined to check out our local bakeries for these since Cincinnati (where I live) boasts a strong German heritage.  They sound as if they are very similar to the Paczki’s from Poland (and which are very popular in Chicago too, I’ve found out), although I am sure purists would take umbrage at the comparison! 

Your tips did send me on a google search for other Lenten baking traditions and after a cursory review, I found out there is much beyond those common Shrove Tuesday pancakes and Hot Cross Buns baked all around America. One neighborhood in Southern California features a Danish Lenten favorite that sounds similar to the German ‘fasnachts’ called ‘Fastelavnsboller Buns’ baked for ‘Fastlavn’ Sunday which many Danes celebrate, apparently even here in the States.  This Sunday is actually a pre-lenten celebration similar to Mardi gras in the days just before Lent but the pastries seem to carry through during Lent.

Bringing up the Danish, reminded me of my mother-in-law and her Norwegian Wisconsin heritage.  She would recount stories of the Church Ladies serving 2000 lefse and lutefiske suppers at the church hall  to mark the Lenten season.  For those who haven't tasted it, lefse is a soft flatbread made with potato and lutefisk is translated (I think) as 'lye fish' and there are many Scandinavian jokes about it (at least in our family).

After bringing this topic up on TFL and talking about it at home, others have mentioned a number of Lenten baking traditions from their distinct heritages and I know there must be other TFLers who can think of even more ideas.

Thank you for telling me about yours and please let me know if you can give me some other ideas to look into.