Braiding bread with the farmer’s wife

Blog articles // 29. Nov 2017
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Woven tradition

At the Altes Gehöft am Lormanberg, run by the Schöllauf family, the guests can enjoy some time out from the daily grind. The peaceful, idyllic setting, the beautifully furnished huts, and above all, a special welcome gift remain as cherished memories for a long time.

The Allerheiligen-Striezel bread has had a long tradition here. In the 19th Century, the so-called ‘pauper’s bread’ would be given to the needy and hungry on All Saint’s Day. In many places, the 1st of November was also known as “Godntag”, when godparents would visit their godchildren, so the universally popular Striezel bread was given as a gift for this special occasion, too. In the Schöllauf family’s kitchen, the beloved Striezel is in season all year round.

An indulgent welcome

‘We had actually never intended to rent out rooms, it just worked out that way over time’, Maria Schöllauf explains. Together with her husband Josef, she renovated her father’s house, soon followed by the adjacent farmhouses. Now there are a few rooms and four houses in the “mini-village” in Kirchberg an der Raab, which are lovingly maintained by the family. Here, visitors can enjoy a wonderful time in the midst of untouched nature, and they are of course given a famous Striezel as a welcome gift.

To prepare the braided loaf made from yeast dough, they take flour, salt, yeast, sugar, butter, milk and raisins, and mix them together using a kneading tool. It obtains its unique flavour from lemon zest, which is also made by the passionate baker herself. To do this, she dries the grated lemon peel on top of the tiled oven, which not only fills the bakery with a magnificent fragrance, but also provides an amazing taste..

The art of braiding

After resting, the dough is kneaded thoroughly on a wooden board. Grandchildren Matthias and Irina help their grandmother in the Striezel bakery. With impressive speed, they split the dough into two halves, and use them to form six round dough balls, which are then stretched into long rolls. While Matthias effortlessly conjures up two equally large Striezel, Irina shows her dexterity in preparing a children’s Striezel. The art of plating a six-part braid was, of course, taught to them by their grandmother. The shape of the Striezel dates back to antiquity: at that time, widows would cut off their plaited hair to express grief.

Finally, the Striezel is coated with an egg wash and dusted with decorative sugar. Now, the dough must rest for half an hour, before it is baked for 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius in the middle of the oven. If you don’t give the yeast enough time to rise, there will be cracks in the Striezel in the end. While the family excitedly awaits the finished bread and the chance to taste it, the kitchen is filled with the unmistakeable scent of baking bread. It’s these moments in particular that Maria Schöllauf enjoys: ‘It’s such a shame that so many people don’t cook or bake for themselves any more. It means that the children will never know the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.’