Tag Archives: Sonnenberg

Grandma Kohler’s Triple-Treat Sweet Roll Dough

Like My Mother Made

My husband doesn’t spend a lot of time wallowing in nostalgia for the foods that his mother cooked. But he has frequently mentioned his mother’s cinnamon rolls, so I figured I’d better find a recipe that could replicate Agnes Badertscher’s cinnamon rolls, which were actually made from a sweet roll dough.  What I got was both a surprise and a bonus of three recipes in one, including a loaf of just about the best white bread I’ve ever had.

Sweet white bread

White sweet bread loaf from Grandma Kohler’s sweet roll recipe.

I contacted Kay Badertscher Bass, Ken’s sister, who has written here before about vintage Badertscher recipes and about the Dalton Dariette run by their uncle.  She knew immediately what rolls her brother was talking about, and informed me that they were actually from a sweet dough recipe of Ken’s Grandmother, Helen Kohler. Even better, I thought, a three generation recipe I could pass on to my grand daughter as I did my own grandmother Anderson’s sugar cookie recipe.

Kay went digging for the sweet roll dough recipe, and soon I got the following e-mail, which sheds light on the history of the yeast dough. Turns out it yields three or four different types of sweet rolls, if you would be overwhelmed by three dozen cinnamon rolls and want variety.  Here’s Kay’s message that describes a novel way to help along the rising sweet roll dough.

The Original Sweet Roll Dough Recipe

Okay, I think I’ve unearthed what you are looking for.  It’s called New Year’s Bread* and it is an OLD recipe.  I recall Mom and Grandma Kohler getting together and making this recipe in batches for coffee cake, dinner rolls and sticky buns.  The most distinct memory was how Grandma Kohler asked Mom to put boiling water in both sides of the kitchen sink to sit and then placed the dough underneath the sink in the cabinet, covered with cloth towels to rise.  (and I also remember getting scolded royally when I kept opening the cabinet doors to see what was happening)
Here’s the basic bread recipe:
2 c. scalded milk
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. Crisco
2 pkg. (2 T.) yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
6 – 7 c. flour

Pour scaled milk over sugar, salt, butter and Crisco.  Set aside.  Then mix yeast in warm water.  Add the yeast mixture and eggs to milk mixture.  Add enough flour to make soft dough, knead, let rise.

Depending upon what you decide to make with the dough, the instructions are to bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 min. (which may or may not be accurate) (NOTE: It is NOT accurate. It does not take that long. See recipe adaptation below.)

If making dinner rolls brush tops with butter after taking them out of the oven.

The streusel topping was a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and a little flour….of course, no measurements!  Grandma Kohler used to divide the coffee cake dough in half and put some of the streusel in the middle as well as the top.

The sticky buns were usually made by rolling out the dough into a rectangle, sprinkling the streusel mix over the dough and then rolling up into a log.  Grandma Kohler would dust the bottom of the pan with lots of butter and a little streusel and then place the rolls on top and dust them with a little more streusel before baking.

Sorry this isn’t more specific.  Mom and Grandma Kohler used the “by gosh and by golly” method of baking with a pinch of this and a handful of that.  But we grandkids loved that coffee cake just as much as Ken, I’m certain!  Probably why Grandma finally switched to the frozen bread dough in the latter years cause we asked for it constantly.

Well, that’s shocking!! the traditional way of making a vintage family recipe three generations ago was frozen bread dough??? That certainly plays hob with our assumptions of what is vintage, doesn’t it?

*One thing still puzzles us.  Grandma Kohler called the recipe New Year’s Bread, but she did not make a braided bread that is the tradition in Swiss and German New Year’s Breads.  I checked out my vintage Sonnenberg Centennial cookbook, and found the recipe for New Year’s Bread which is only slightly different, so next time I make this recipe, I may experiment with a braided loaf. Wish me luck.

At any rate, I blended some of the instructions in the Sonnenberg book (from a recipe submitted by a close friend of Agnes Badertscher) and I made Kohler’s recipe for sweet roll dough (before she turned to frozen bread dough), and enjoyed making a pretty big batch of dough.  I made a dozen cinnamon rolls, a dozen cloverleaf rolls and one delicious free-form loaf.

Sweet roll dough

Grandma Kohler’s sweet roll dough BEFORE rising! you can see by the 2-cup measure on the side that this is a large amount of dough.

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls from Grandma Kohler’s sweet roll dough.

Ken looked at the rolls and immediately said those words every wife dreads–“Not like my mother’s.”  When I turned it over and showed him the side where I had sprinkled granola, obscuring the coils of the cinnamon roll, he said, “That looks more like it.”  Then he gave it the taste test.  Really good, he said. But that is not my mother’s coffee cake.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.  He apparently was thinking of his mother’s baking-powder raised coffee cake with streusel on top rather than the more elaborate yeast dough that goes into the sweet rolls.

Oh well, nothing lost.  He (and I) enjoyed every bit of the cinnamon rolls, sweet dinner rolls and white bread that the sweet roll dough provided.

Adapted Sweet Roll Dough Recipe

Here is the sweet roll dough recipe–hopefully a little clearer than the “by gosh and by golly” instructions that came directly from grandma Kohler and Ken’s mother.

Do not be intimidated by the length of the recipe. Remember, I am trying to give you fairly detailed instructions for making THREE kinds of breads.

THANK YOU KAY!

Sweet Roll Dough – Cinnamon Rolls, Dinner Rolls, Bread

Serves 36
Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 3 hours, 45 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Bread, Breakfast
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable
A tried and true family recipe yields cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls or loaves of white bread.

Ingredients

proofing yeast

  • 2 packets active dry yeast (Equivalent: 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup warm water (Comfortable to drop on wrist.)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon sugar (for proofing yeast)

dough

  • 1/2 cup sugar (for dough)
  • 6-7 cups flour (plus more for kneading and patting out dough.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups milk (heat just short of boiling)
  • 2 eggs (beaten lightly)

Cinnamon roll topping

  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

Cinnamon roll topping (Optional)

  • 1/3 cup granola cereal or chopped nuts

Directions

Proof yeast
1. Sprinkle yeast on warm water in 2-cup container.Briefly mix in teaspoon of sugar. Set aside.
Mix dough
2. Blend dry ingredients--3 cups of the flour, 1/2 C sugar, salt.
3. Heat milk with butter and vegetable shortening and cool to lukewarm.
4. With electric mixer in large bowl, beat the dry ingredients (with the 3 cups of flour) and and the hot milk/shortening mixture until batter is smooth.
5. Add the yeast (which will have risen if it is active) and the eggs and stir with spoon until blended into very sticky dough.
6. Work remaining flour into dough with fingers, 1/2-1 cup at a time until the dough no longer sticks to fingers. Use as much of the 3 cups as you need.
7. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and knead until springy and elastic.
Mix dough.
8. Shape into a ball, and place in greased mixing bowl. Put the smooth side down first, and then turn the dough that all surfaces are oily. (You can use the same bowl you mixed the dough in if you first scrape out most of the dried dough sticking to the surface.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel.
9. Let rise until doubled in warm, draft-free location. ( 1 to 2 hours)
Shaping rolls
10. Divide the dough into two or three pieces. Put the pieces you are not working with in the refrigerator.
11. For Cinnamon rolls, pat out the dough to a rough rectangle, then roll out (if you use 1/3 of the dough it will be about 14" x 18". )
Baking rolls
12. Grease 9 x 9 square pan or large pie pan, or cookie sheet for cinnamon rolls and mix the sugars and cinnamon for topping. If you are using granola or nuts, sprinkle them on the bottom of the pan.
13. Brush the top of the dough rectangle with melted butter, and sprinkle on the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
14. Roll the dough up from one long side to make a log and pinch closed the seam.
15. Using a very sharp knife or a piece of unwaxed dental floss, cut one-inch pieces from the log.
Baking Rolls
16. Place the rolls on the pan. If you use a cookie sheet and leave space between they will be crusty. If you place the side by side in a pan they will be softer on the sides. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise.
Baking rolls
17. When the rolls have risen by a third to double their original height (30-45 minutes), bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes (longer for glass pans).
Dinner rolls
18. To make dinner rolls, shape one batch of dough as you wish--clover leaf by placing three walnut-sized pieces of dough in a muffin tin; Parker house by placing balls of dough side by side in cake pan, etc. Place in buttered pan. Let rise and bake as for cinnamon rolls. When they come out of the oven, brush the tops with butter.
Free form loaf of bread
19. To make a free form loaf of bread, make a rectangle as described for the cinnamon rolls. Fold the dough over in thirds lengthwise, pinch the seam closed, and fold under the ends to make a nice shape. Place with seam side down on greased cookie sheet. Raise and bake as described for other rolls, except that it may take a little longer. Test doneness by knocking with knuckles to see if you get a hollow sound. Brush top of bread with butter when it comes out of oven.

Note

The 1/2 cup of butter is more than enough for the cinnamon rolls if you are making 1/3 of the recipe into cinnamon rolls. I used the rest to butter the pans and to brush on the top of the dinner rolls and the bread.

If you are making more than 1/3 of the dough into cinnamon rolls, increase the sugar/cinnamon ratios for the topping.

I have described the three things I did with this dough. Making a good sized loaf of bread, a dozen cloverleaf dinner rolls and a dozen cinnamon rolls. Of course, there is nothing to prevent you from making all cinnamon rolls, all dinner rolls, or whatever you wish. The bread and dinner rolls should freeze nicely. The cinnamon rolls are problematic because of the sugar. And of course you can add raisins or dried fruit or seeds or nuts to the dinner rolls and bread.

This is a recipe with tremendous flexibility.

Have fun!

 

52 Ancestors #49 The Amstutz clan arrives in Sonnenberg

Thanks to a family history written by James O. Lehman about 1971, we have a vivid picture of the journey of my husband’s Amstutz family from Switzerland to Ohio. Ida Amstutz was Ken’s grandmother and her grandfather and father arrived in North America in 1871.

A little over 100 years later, Ken and I traveled to Switzerland with our two younger sons, Mike and Brent. We spent a few days in Sigriswil, the lovely village that the earlier Amstutz family had lived in.

John Amstutz (1823-1899)
Katharina Welty (Kattie) (1822-1902)

The elder immigrants were Johannes (John) Amstutz and Katharina (Catharine) Welty Amstutz. They married in Switzerland, and lived with her parents briefly before their first son, John L., was born.  Johannes had a prosperous dairy farm in Switzerland, but because he accumulated wealth, many people borrowed money from him.  When too few repaid their loans, the family fell on hard times and moved several times along the border with France, and then into France.

They had a total of five sons and three daughters, who received a smattering of education in the various places the family lived.  In France in 1869, a smallpox epidemic swept through the area and killed their two youngest girls.  Anna Lisi was 4 and Katherina was 8 years old. The family was in dire straits economically, and the sons, even twelve-year-old Jacob had to hire themselves out to other families to work.

Split apart by economic necessity, illness and deaths, they also had the worry of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. When France lost the war, the province of Alsace in which they lived was surrendered to Germany.  But by that time the family had decided to join other Mennonite families who had gone to America. They had to borrow money to make the journey, and because they had such a large family, decided that Daniel, who was 20, would stay in Switzerland and continue to make money to help the family. He could come later.  But at the last minute, the relative who loaned the money added enough so that Daniel could go also.

Johannes (48) and Katharina Welty Amstutz (49),  John L. (23),  Abraham (22), Daniel (20) and Benjamin (18), Jacob (15), Anna Maria (Maryann)(13) boarded the train in Basel to Frankfurt, Germany. They were hopeful that life would be better in America. And they were right.

Children of Johannes Amstutz (1823)

Standing: Benjamin, Jacob, Maryann; Seated: John L., Abraham and Daniel H.(circa 1895)

In John Amstutz Family History, James O. Lehman writes, “As the train rolled along the Amstutz family sang, “Vo meine Berge muess i scheide, wo’s gar so libli ist und schön.” (From my mountains I must depart where it is pleasing and beautiful.) ”  While this may strike you as just a little too “Sound of Music”, it is quite believable because the Swiss families were very musical and they passed down little stories like this about their immigration. The Amstutz family was known in Sonnenberg for their musical ability.

Travel was somewhat safer than it would have been a few years prior to the 1870s, because they would travel by steamship, and because America’s Civil War was over. (See my previous article on steamship travel for immigrants when I wrote about another of Ken’s Swiss ancestors with a similar experience).

Amstutz Family

Amstutz family listed on passenger list of Cimbria

S.S. Cimbria- Amstutz ship to America

S.S. Cimbria

The Amstutz family joined 200 immigrants, mostly from Switzerland and Germany on the S. S. Cimbria in Hamburg, German, after having spent a night in Frankfurt. The names are abbreviated, and some of the ages are off.

Name         Age   Occup.   Origin            Destination

  • Yon Amstutz, 48, Farmer, Switzerland, United States
  • Cath   ”             49                         ”                 “
  • Yon     ”             23                         ”                 “
  • Abe     ”             21                         ”                 “
  • Dan      ”            20                         ”                 “
  • Benj      ”           18                          ”                 “
  • Jacob    ”            15                          ”                “
  • Marianne ”          9                          ”                “

After just twelve days of mostly good weather, they arrived in New York City’s Harbor. Next they took a train from New York to Ohio and arrived in Sonnenburg.

On Sunday May 28, 1871 we arrived happily on the Sonnenberg, where relatives and acquaintances greeted us.  It was not hard for us to feel at home among these Swiss people who had gone on ahead.  Soon we all received places to work.  We 6 children with the parents made this region a permanent home. (Letter written by the son, John L. Amstutz.)
“Because of their recent arrival from Switzerland and to differentiate them from other Amstutz’s in the community they eventually had the nickname Schweitzer Stutz.” (from John Amstutz Family History

Abraham Amstutz would marry Elizabeth Tschantz, a fellow immigrant, and they would become the parents of Ida Amstutz Badertscher, Kenneth Badertscher’s grandmother.

HOW KEN IS RELATED

Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of

Paul Theodore Badertscher, who is the son of

Ida Amstutz Badertscher, who is the daughter of

Abraham Amstutz, who is the son of

Johannes Amstutz (1823)

Notes on research

John Amstutz Family History by James O. Lehman, 1971. Most of the information in this story comes from the research and compilation of family stories and excerpts from family letters in this mimeographed, twelve page work. I have confirmed some information as noted below.

United States Federal Census, 1880, Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio

Find A Grave.com, Johannes Amstutz (1873)

Photographs were shared on Ancestry.com by various people.

52 Ancestors #38 Kidron and Sonnenberg: Favorite Place of Swiss Mennonites

Last week, I got  a little sidetracked with maps of Tuscarawas County, Ohio and Switzerlands Bern region, to show how the ancestors of Kenneth Ross Badertscher‘s mother’s maternal line came from a small area in Switzerland, and clustered together in one area in Ohio when they came to America. It was their favorite place.

This week the challenge at 51 Ancestors is to talk about a “Favorite Place” and as I started looking at the maternal line of Ken’s father, I discovered the same kind of pattern as with his mother’s line, except that these people–The Amstutz, Baumgartner and Tschantz families in particular–settled around Kidron/Sonnenberg in Wayne County, Ohio. Kidron was the center of their favorite place.

Kidron Ohio

Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio on Google Maps–fields and forests.

Why?  Probably partly because it looked like the dairy country of Bern, Switzerland–minus the towering Alps in the background.

Wayne County Ohio

Farms in Wayne County, Ohio. Photo by Ken Badertscher.

Ohio Dairy Cattle

Kidron Ohio area dairy cattle. Photo by Ken Badertscher.

Amish Farm in Ohio

Haystacks on an Amish Farm in Wayne County, Ohio. Photo by Ken Badertscher.

Menno Simons

Menno Simons who gave his name to Mennonites

Despite the fact that most of Ken’s ancestors were dairy farmers, their principle reason for moving to America had less to do with rich pastures and scenery than with religion.  They were part of a reform movement of Anabaptists that was persecuted in Switzerland .  The last straw for the followers of Menno Simons, who believed in pacifism, came when the Swiss were instituted universal military service. These hard-working farmers with strong beliefs fled to protect their religion freedom. SImultaneously, an economic slowdown had men searching for work that would sustain large families, as we saw in the case of Anna and Samuel Schneiter.

If you want more information about the history of the Mennonite immigrants, I skimmed the history of the Mennonite immigrants in my article Swiss Immigrants Invade Wayne County, Ohio” . (A comment from a reader points out that the reason for the first Badertscher family to come to America was that their oldest son was of military conscription age.)  And although I generally steer clear of Wikipedia, I can recommend its coverage of the Mennonite church.

Abraham Amstutz

Abraham Amstutz, (One of many by that name). son of Johannes.

(One of many by that name).

In 1819, a small group founded the first Mennonite church in the area at Sonnenberg, named for a valley in Bern, Switzerland. Friends and family followed in 1821, and they formed the Sonnenberg Mennonite church.  Until 1834, they met in homes, and then built a log structure that served as church and school. As word went back to Switzerland, and as people saved money for passage, the communities continued to grow. A second community, Kidron, was named for the valley in Israel beside Jerusalem. Gradually, the communities merged as Kidron.

Meanwhile, they were clearing land, buying livestock and building log homes for their large families to live in. Ken’s paternal great grandparents lived in this house It reminds me of homes we saw in Switzerland where the farmers lived upstairs over the quarters for their livestock, so the livestock could keep warm in the winter. The Frederich Badertschers arrived about 1880.

Swiss Immigrants Frederick and Mary Badertscher

Frederich Badertscher Sr and wife Mary. Photo From Ancestry.com

John Tschantz and his wife and their son Abraham and his wife were one of the first four families to arrive in Sonnenberg.  Their cabin survived (barely) and has been restored in Sonnenberg Village, maintained by the Kidron Historical Society. (I am working on the relationship to see if this family is in Ken’s direct line. Since there were many Tschantz families and many named Abraham, this may take a while.) Here’s the before and after.

Abraham Tschantz cabin

Abraham Tschantz cabin before restoration.

TschantzLogCabin-After

Abraham Tschantz cabin after restoration. Photos from the Sonnenberg Historical Society website.

On this land map that shows (in the bottom of the southern half of the township) the land of Ken’s 2nd grandfather Abraham C. Tschantz, there are many other names that are part of his lineage such as Amstutz, Badertscher, Baumgartner, Sommmers, Lehman, Moser. Other names Ken recognized as schoolmates for neighbors: Gerber, Hoffstetter, Steiner, Eckard, Ressler, and Wertz.

You can double click on the maps to see the names more clearly on your computer. This map from Ancestry. com is dated 1897. If you disagree because of your own family information, please do share that information with me!

Paint Township Wayne County Ohio

Northern half of Paint Township, Wayne County, showing Dalton where Ken went to school. His family moved from Dalton to the intersection of Rt 30 and Kidron Road. Red marks J. H. Tschantz, a great-great uncle.

Paint Township, Wayne County, Ohio

Southern half of Paint Township, showing location of Kidron and land of Abraham C. Tschantz, and many different Amstutz families clustered around Kidron.

The Mennonite families, and the Amish families that also clustered in this area prospered over the years, and you will find many of the same family names.  The Kidron Community Historical Society  provides a valuable resource for anyone seeking to know more about family history of these Swiss immigrants who landed in Wayne County, Ohio. So why did the first four families settle the small community of Sonnenberg? I don’t know. Perhaps they originally thought to settle in Pennsylvania, but it was becoming too crowded. Land would have been cheaper in the very new state of Ohio (statehood 1803).

Why was Kidron/Sonnenberg a favorite place of Swiss immigrants in the early to mid 19th century?  Because family was already there.

If you are traveling through the Amish/Mennonite Country of Ohio, two places to look for clues as to why Kidron was a favorite place of the Swiss Mennonites are the Kidron Genealogical Center and nearby Sonnenberg Village in Wayne County, and the Behalt Cyclorama in Holmes County–a vivid depiction of the history of the Mennonite and Amish religions.