Spending some days at home in the Austrian Innviertel last week, I got to indulge in one of my all-time-favourite breads: Zedl (also referred to as Innviertler Zelten or Zeltl). Zedl are enriched Austrian bread rolls, traditionally baked in the Upper Austrian region of the Innviertel. My mum bakes Zedl every week, as did her mum and her mum before that. It’s a recipe passed on for many generations.
Zedl taste absolutely amazing with butter and honey or a typical Austrian Jause. However, they have another brilliant purpose: they make the best bread dumplings you’ll ever taste!
Recipe for Zedl / Innviertler Zelten
- 1kg plain white wheat flour
- 42g yeast (or 14g dried yeast)
- 750g full-fat milk, lukewarm
- 2 eggs
- 19g salt
- A pinch of sugar
How to make Zedl / Innviertler Zelten
- Put the flour in a large plastic bowl (Teigschüssel in German language).
- Heat the milk in a pot until lukewarm (make sure it’s not too hot so not to destroy the yeast), add a pinch of sugar, then crumble in the yeast. Allow a few minutes to ensure the yeast rises to the top before you continue. If you use dried yeast, you can simply add all ingredients into the large bowl.
- Add the milk, fresh yeast and sugar mixture, the eggs and salt to the bowl with the flour and mix thoroughly until the dough is elastic and smooth in texture. Traditionally, the mixing of the dough is done by vigorously handling the dough with a large wooden spoon. This is typically done by holding a large wooden spoon with both hands and getting right into the dough to shift it towards you in quick movements. However, I prefer to knead the dough by hand. It will be quite soft and a little sticky but simply use your dough scrapers to better control the dough.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a lid or clean kitchen towel.
- Keep in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour but this could take a little longer if the temperature in your room is cooler).
- Beat the dough down with the wooden spoon or punch it down by hand and fold it a few times until fully deflated.
- Cover again and leave for approximately 45 minutes.
- Prepare a clean working surface and dust with flour.
- With a dough scraper, take or cut out eight equally sized individual pieces of dough from the risen dough and form flattish buns. Make sure the surface of each bun is smooth. Tuck any rough outer edges under the bun.
- Cover all buns with a kitchen towel and leave to prove for another 30 minutes. Ensure this process takes place in a draft-free environment.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5).
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Just before baking, very carefully move the Zedl onto the baking tray (take care you don’t deflate the dough) and bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
More about bread baking in the Innviertel
While doing my research on Austrian breads of the Innviertel region in Upper Austria, I came across an excerpt of an essay about Upper Austrian bread baking. This is a special treat for all German speaking readers and I guess it will be of specific interest to those of us who come from Austria and the Innviertel in particular:
Ein Auzug aus den Oberösterreichischen Heimatblättern, herausgegeben vom Institut für Landeskunde von Oberösterreich, Jahrgang 20, 1966: Das Backen des Bauernbrotes im unteren Innviertel – Josef Andessner St Martin im Innkreis.