Snippet of my grandmother’s original handwritten recipe
For Chanukah it was become a tradition in my house to make one of my German grandmother’s recipes, Gebackene Mäuse. The recipe itself has nothing to do with the holiday.
However, it involves frying delicious yeast dough in oil, and what could be more appropriate for Chanukah than that?
As with all my grandmother’s recipes, it is a simple. It only requires time, i.e. not so much actual cooking time–the frying goes pretty fast–but time for the yeast dough to rise.
500 g flour (4 cups)
1/8 teaspoon salt (= one pinch between your fingers)
80 g sugar (3/4 cup)
100 g butter (1 stick minus one tbsp.) (ideally, take the butter out of the fridge a few hours before you plan to make this so it gets really soft)
1 egg (let egg sit outside for a while so it has room temperature)
250 ml whole milk (1 cup)
1 packet of dry yeast
Grated rind of one lemon (not absolutely necessary but makes for a nicer taste)
One handful raisins (grandmother recipes always involve “hand” measurements, don’t they?)
Lots of oil for frying (I use canola oil)
Warm up the milk so it’s warm to the touch, not hot! Pour dry yeast into a little bowl, add one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of flour, then pour in the lukewarm milk and stir a little. This is your “pre-dough.” You need to let it sit in a warm, non-drafty place for 20 minutes so that the yeast can rise. I usually warm the oven to 110F and put it in there but sometimes I actually wrap a kitchen towel around the bowl (to protect from draft) and put the bowl on our kitchen steam radiator (works even better but we also live in a 100-year-old building).
In the meantime, mix the flour, salt and sugar in the large bowl. Get the butter ready: Either melt it in a pot (I use the same pot I warmed the milk in) and then let that sit for a while so the butter isn’t hot and won’t fry the egg when you put it all together. Or, if the butter is soft, cut it into little pieces and plop those in with the flour and sugar.