Buchteln or Wuchteln – you will hear both expressions in Austria – are a relatively unknown treasure. They are pull-apart style yeasted sweet rolls, filled with apricot jam. The buns are not overly sweet, since the recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons of sugar. The dough itself is very fluffy and airy, surrounded by a crispy, nicely browned crust, which will get soft when cooled. You will often see them served, sitting in a pool of vanilla sauce, but at my parents home they were usually served without.
I grew up eating a lot of Buchteln (singular is Buchtel) because my sisters and I where picky eaters. Especially my two sisters, of course ;-). But no one ever said no to this treat. So my mum and my granny made them at least every other week.
Wuchteln are usually served for dessert, but my family, and a lot of other Austrians do so too, eat them for main course as well. In Austria, it is quite a habit to eat sweet dishes for main course once in a while – like Palatschinken (Austrian Crepes), Kaiserschmarrn, Stewed elderberries with baked semolina or Blueberry Nocken.
The recipe itself is pretty straightforward. The only tricky part is filling the buns. If the filling (usually apricot jam) gets on the edges, it is almost impossible to seal them as the dough will stop sticking. Even though I made Buchteln a couple of times myself, there are usually one or two that make me swear. It’s one of these nearly-throw-the-dough-against-kitchen-walls kind of situations. For moods like that, there is a troubleshooting section at the end of the recipe part ;-)
So let’s have some fun!
First you have to make a yeast dough and let it rise until doubled in volume (about 1 hour). Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 equal parts. Fold the edges of each piece into the middle a couple of times (bottom left), so you will get a nice ball with a smooth surface on the bottom side.
Flatten it to a circle with a diameter of 3 to 3 ½ inch. Put 1 teaspoon of apricot jam (not more) in the center of the circle (bottom center). Wrap the dough around the filling, pinching and sealing it tightly (bottom right). If you use too much filling, it’s difficult to seal them. For more troubleshooting, see note in the recipe part.
Put every Buchtel with the sealed side down onto a lightly floured surface until you have filled all of them (balls on the top right side in the picture above).
Put about 2 ½ tablespoons melted butter (you might need a little more) in a small bowl. Brush a baking pan (I used an oval 11 x 7 inch ceramic pan) with melted butter, just until coated. Put every Buchtel in the bowl with the melted butter, turn it around until well coated.
Update 6/19/2014: It is easier not to turn the Buchteln around in the melted butter. Just place them in the buttered pan and thoroughly brush each Buchtel with melted butter.
Place the Buchteln, coated with butter, in your baking pan. You can do this tightly packed (traditional way) or give them a little space, but not too much (as I do).
Let them proof for a second time for about 20-30 minutes at warm room temperature until puffy.
Bake them at 375 °F in the preheated oven (center rack) for about 25 minutes (minimum 20 minutes). When they are golden-brown in color, take them out of the oven.
Let the Buchteln cool for 5-10 minutes and serve them dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
Update: This recipe was featured in The Boston Globe. Woohoo! Just in case you are interested…
Did you follow this recipe? You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org User the everyday kitchen: "I have never had Austrian Buchteln before, so this was my first attempt. They turned out very well!". Regine: "I made them. So so delicious!!!!!! I used my Kitchenaid stand alone mixer to knead dough until it reached the windowpane test. I placed all 12 rolls in a 12 by 7 baking dish. Thanks for such wonderful rolls. Also, I did not have active dried yeast so I used instant. By the way, I inadvertently used entire sachet of about 2 1/4 tsp although less can be used if instant is used to replace active dry yeast, but my rolls still came out beautifully." [Click to enlarge picture.] Fabian from Malta made Buchteln: "I have tried this recipe and they turned out fantastic. The only thing I made differently was to add some sugar to the warm milk and yeast so that it helps the improving. Thanks, fabian" Jon tried the recipe: "Wow, so good! (I have to stop eating them....) - Jon from València, Spain" Rafael: "Oven: Bosch, convection mode, T: 190ºC, cooking time: 19 min. 22 cm diameter glass baking pan I used strong flour (12% protein) rest of ingredients and method as your recipe. Delicious! Rafael Almería (Spain)"