A Recipe to Share

Local resident Jean Brown shares her recipe for traditional German water bread.
Jean Brown’s German water bread, a holiday favorite.

German water bread, named for the dry yeast dissolved in water, makes the perfect holiday dessert for the entire family. This recipe was given to Jean Brown from her husband’s mother—his grandparents being from Germany—and it has now become a family tradition, down to the grandchildren. “I make it all the time,” Brown says. During Christmastime, she uses green and red sugar instead of the traditional white to add a special holiday touch.

German Water Bread

  • 3½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup lard or Crisco
  • 1 yeast cake or 1 Tbsp. dry yeast dissolved in ¼ cup water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup cream or evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar

To make:

Mix flour and salt. Add shortening and mix with hands, or cut up with a pastry cutter. Add yeast, eggs and cream; stir well with spoon. Knead approximately 10 minutes. Place in covered bowl and refrigerate at least six hours. Spread ⅓ cup sugar on a pastry cloth. Roll dough with a rolling pin, approximately 12” X 15”. Sprinkle another 1/3 cup sugar over top of dough. Fold in half and roll out in a rectangle. Sprinkle the last ⅓ cup sugar over dough and fold again in half. Cut in ½” strips and twist; make the length as long as you desire. The strips can be made into wreaths. Sprinkle colored or white sugar before baking. Bake in 375-400 degree oven until lightly brown, about 8 minutes.