Certain foods just "go with" a season
. However, there are many reasons why foods get associated with times of year, and many times these reasons are lost by the wayside
. How many people know the symbolism of the candy cane
, or the Easter egg
? An egg
reminds kids of spring
because they know they look for colored eggs in the grass on Easter
, but rarely because of its real symbolism
: It symbolizes new life. Egg equals Easter; Egg does not equal new life which then equals Easter. The whole thought process is shortened and therefore made less significant.
The beginning of the Yule season on the winter solstice is a switch from the waning year to the waxing year. It's a turning point; the days are longer from this point on until Midsummer. It only makes sense that the foods associated with this time of year would be those that symbolize renewal and growth and new beginnings, and those are some of the meanings of the spice caraway.
"Caraway rolls" are sometimes listed as traditional fare in books about the Sabbats or as winter-appropriate edibles, but it is rare that a recipe accompanies these recommendations and it seems difficult to find anything with caraway in a regular supermarket.
You can make your own caraway rolls by simply buying some caraway seed--that's easy to find--and shaking it over or into ready-made bread dough, but as usual I prefer the fully homemade way; from scratch. This recipe is a good one to use, and it is fairly easy.
Keep in mind when you make and eat these rolls that their main symbolic influence stands for health, strength, and protection for the new year, as well as symbolizing the element of Air (which is considered the "young" element, the element of the East and of newness). This is particularly appropriate because caraway is very fragrant. If you have never had caraway (or don't know if you have), try smelling it ahead of time. Chances are if you don't like that smell you won't like these rolls. Otherwise, it's a wonderful flavor that permeates this earthy bread without overpowering the senses, and it's great to have something wholesome to accompany a seasonal meal amid all the sweets and treats! Enjoy.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water (indicated on the package, usually between 110º and 115ºF). Add the caraway seeds to the yeast mix after it's dissolved and foamy. Heat the cottage cheese until lukewarm. Mix in the sugar, salt, baking soda, and egg whites, then add that mixture to the yeast mix. Add the two flours slowly, and mix with your hands once it gets thick enough until the dough is all off the sides of the bowl in one lump. Cover and let rise for about an hour. Stir it down and separate it out into 24 oiled muffin tins. Cover them and let them rise again for about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove them from the pans while they're still warm.
NOTE: This recipe can be halved with no consequences--just estimate on the 3 egg whites--and if you don't particularly like caraway or are not sure you do, you can make the recipe as is but half the caraway quantity and still reap the rewards.
Yield: 24 rolls
Source: Paraphrased from Connor & Connor, The New American Diet
Use for: Yule