Admit it – you think Germans are uptight go-getters, overly accurate and therefore kind of boring. Wrong! We actually like to party – for days! Many regions of Germany celebrate Karneval rather seriously. What may have started as a one night feast before the fasting period has become what is referred to as the 5th season over the centuries, starting right after 3 Kings Day and lasting until Ash Wednesday. Many of the traditional costumes are seriously scary. Witches that will steal your hat and mess up your hair as they parade by, demons, jesters and all kinds of animals. Their masks and traditions are centuries old. We call it “Fasnet” where I am from. The final six crazy days start with “Schmutzigen Donnerstag” (dirty Thursday) also called “Weiberfasnet” where women will equip themselves with scissors and cut off men’s bowties. I did no such thing but I did make the traditional and extremely delicious Fasnachtsküchle. Fluffy yeast dough fried and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. There’s nothing wrong with that! 

  • 4 cups all purpose flour (500 g) 
  • 1 packet of dry or fresh yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar (50 g)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (250 ml) 
  • 1/2 stick of butter (50 g) cut into cubes 
  • a pinch of salt
  • high quality oil or schmalz for frying
  • sugar and cinnamon mixture

Dissolve the dry yeast in a bit of warm water to activate it. Or, if you are using fresh yeast, sift the flour into your mixing bowl, press a little hole into the top of the flour, crumble the yeast into the hole and sprinkle the yeast with a little sugar to activate it. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the milk together with the butter in a heavy saucepan to lukewarm, just until the butter is melted. Add the eggs and salt to the flour in your mixing bowl, as well as the sugar and the dissolved yeast if you are using dry yeast. This is a sticky yeast dough. I sometimes use my electric mixer for this dough fitted with the pastry hook. I set the mixer on low speed and add the milk in a slow stream until the dough is well combined. Then I set the speed of the mixer to medium high and let the machine work the dough for a couple of minutes. But often I just combine the dough with a wooden spoon or my hands. Beat it until bubbles form. This is a bit of a workout. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour.


Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll the dough to about a finger thick. Use a pizza wheel to cut rhombus shapes. Heat the oil in a heavy sauce pot. You only need about 2 inches of oil. Fry the dough to golden brown on both sides and immediately roll the hot Fasnachtsküchle in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Eat warm or cold - they taste best the same day. Serve with applesauce.