The Frau Erica Project
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Section header for Frauenfleiß (Women’s work), page 509 of Die Abendschule for 1921. This issue carried an extensive obituary of Frau Erica, most likely written by her daughter and editorial successor Dora (Dodo) Knief.

From Frau Erica’s cookbook: Johann im Sack

Großer Hefenkloß (Giant Yeast Dumpling)
This giant dumpling recipe, also known among older family members as “Johann im Sack,” comes from Frau Erica’s Deutsch-Amerikanisches Kochbuch (Rundschau Publishing Co., Milwaukee und Chicago, 1903; Eleventh Edition, Page 195)

Translator’s note: I have seen this dish prepared only once, when I made it with Addie and Frieda in Oak Park, Illinois, ca. Christmas of 1968. The recipe yields a rich and tasty dumpling about the size of a small soccer ball, though somewhat flattened by its own weight during cooking. We used a clean pillowcase for Frau Erica’s “scalded, buttered, floured Tuch.” Serving it posed a challenge. One could scoop it with a spoon like mashed potatoes or slice it with a knife like a loaf of bread. We agreed it would work best as an accompaniment to a stew.

A few caveats: Frau Erica’s readers kept containers of live, liquid yeast in their kitchens. Where she calls for a cup of yeast, I suggest two envelopes of dried yeast dissolved in a cup of warm water. Figure roughly three and a half cups of all purpose flour for her pound of flour. Add more if you need it when you work the dough. If the liquid into which you add the eggs and yeast is too hot to touch, there is a risk of scrambling the eggs and killing the yeast. And her two hours of cooking time should probably be just above a simmer but well below a full boil.

Großer Hefenkloß

1 Pfd. feines Mehl
2 Eier
reichlich 1/4 Quart fette, süße Milch
1 Tasse frische Hefe
1 Ei groß Butter
1 schlichte Tasse Zucker
1 Theelöffelvoll Salz

Milch, Butter, Zucker und Salz erwärmt man recht gut, gießt dies dann in die Mitte des Mehls, schlägt die Hefe und Eier hinein und macht es mit dem Mehl zu einem Teige, der tüchtig bearbeitet wird.

Giant Yeast Dumpling

1 pound [ca. 3 1/2 cups] flour
2 eggs
1 cup of whole milk
2 packets yeast in 1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons butter [an egg-sized lump]
1 scant cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt but do not boil. Pour this mixture into the middle of the flour, add the yeast and eggs, draw the flour to form a dough, and work the dough thoroughly.

Ist der Teig nach längerem Stehen gut aufgegangen, formt man ihm zu einem runden, glatten Kloß, bindet denselben in ein reines, im heißem Wasser ausgebrühtes, mit Butter bestrichenes und mit Mehl bestäubtes Tuch, wobei man Raum zum Aufgehen läßt.

After the dough has rested awhile and risen well, form it into a smooth, round dumpling and place it in a clean cloth that has been scalded in hot water, coated with butter and dusted with flour. Tie the cloth into a bag, leaving room for expansion.

Nun läßt man ihn noch 1/4 Stunde in einem nicht zu weiten, erwämten irdenen Geschirr ruhen und kocht ihn ununterbrochen 2 Stunden in schwach gesalzenem Wasser. Natürlich muß das Wasser kochend sein, in welches man ihn legt; auf den Boden des Kochtopfes stellt man einen alten Teller, um das Ansetzen des Tuches zu verhüten.

Let the dough rest about 15 minutes in a warmed crockery bowl that is not too wide, then cook it in lightly salted water for about two hours uninterrrupted. Of course the water should be “cooking” [Frau Erica is vague on temperature, but keep it at a simmer]. Put an old plate in the bottom of the pot to protect the bottom of the cloth.

Man gibt Obst- order Milchbeiguß dazu; braune Butter ziehen auch manche als Zugabe vor. Große Familien müßen das angegebene Gewicht doppelt oder dreifach nehmen.

Serve it with a fruit- or a milk-based sauce. Many people also serve it with brown butter as a side dish. Large families will need to double or triple the amounts given here.