Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Making Zwieback with mom; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen's husband, 2014
On a recent visit, my mom saw my dried lumpy Zwieback (purchased at a Mennonite Relief sale) on display under a cloche in my dining room. She told me that the person who made it didn't let it rise properly or didn't use enough flour. Mom has super powers like that. I shared my fantasy of having enough Zwieback to fill a cloche. That's when Superwoman decided that she would teach me how to make them the next morning. We dug the recipe out of a Mennonite cookbook and I made copious notes. Mennonite cookbooks are pretty cryptic for the novice. Thank goodness for mom's directions.

My favourite part was the pinching of the dough. To be honest, my mom mixed and kneaded the dough before I was fully functional. She's an extreme morning person. I'm not.
Zwieback rising; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Zwieback is a big deal among Dutch German, a.k.a Russian, Mennonites. It dries nicely and is very light so one can tuck them into pockets and eat them on a long journey while fleeing for your life. Zwieback nourished my grandparents and great-grandparents on their long treks out of Russia, across the Atlantic on the ship Minnedosa to Canada in the 1920s.
Zwieback straight out of the oven; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Clearly my pan wasn't big enough for the Zwieback to double without touching each other.
Zwieback on Oma's cooling rack; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
When my aunt died, I inherited my Oma's baking rack on which thousands of Zwieback, brown bread, and cookies likely cooled. My unMennonite allergies don't allow me to eat Zwieback, but according to my husband they were very, very, very good. I set aside the seven best looking Zwieback and have been drawing them as I continue my Lenten Intuitive mark-making practice. One day I'll share  the images. I'd like to bake Zwieback with my mom again, next time with larger baking pans: I have a cloche to fill.

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