Grandma Ruby Neal’s Christmas Kuchen Bread


Anna Agatha (Ohrt) Blohm, who came from Pellworm, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, when she was about 3 years old.

From the memoirs of Ruby (Blohm) Neal: “My mother was an excellent cook and one of the breads that we enjoyed was ‘kuchen.’ It was a German bread and she made it with bread dough, only making it will more sugar and shortening. The loaves were made flat with butter, sugar, and cinnamon on top.

“Mother used to let us break off corners before it cooled. A neighbor boy said he always knew when it was time to come over, as he could smell it.

“I always wondered how to spell it until it was made more common, using an egg. I thought ‘kuchen’ was a broken pronunciation of a German word.”

That’s about a close to the recipe as we’re going to get. Here’s one to try from the internet.

I associate both Grandma’s suet pudding and kuchen bread with Christmastime, although the suet pudding was served after the Christmas feast. Did the kuchen bread arrive before Christmas?

There are eight “Neal cousins” in the photo. Front: Gloria Neal, Dixie Thomas, Sandra Grant, ____, Patty Wells, Kenny Shepherd, Glen Heckman. Back: Bruce Atherton, Vincent Wells, me, Susan Shepherd, Judy Neal, Bonnie Johnson, Bob Cook, Jane Neal

One time when I was in high school, at least 16-years-old and driving, Grandpa delivered loaves to each “Neal family” at choir practice at church. All five families lived in the Dexter area and our Aunt Nadine was the choir director. Grandpa liked to count how many grandchildren were in the choir on Sundays.

We lived four miles south of town and were to take the kuchen bread home. Gloria is two years younger so I drove. The sack of homemade bread smelled so wonderful that Gloria opened it to discover two smallish loaves. They weren’t baked in bread pans, but were shaped on baking sheets.

I wonder who made the decision. Neither of us owns up to it. Gloria tore off a chunk for both of us. We each had another. And another.

Well, by the time we got home, one loaf of kuchen bread was tucked away. In our tummies. At least we saved the other loaf for our folks.

No wonder Grandma’s neighbor boy could smell when it was time to pay her family a visit.




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