My favorite part of summer is Rollkuchen – a German Mennonite fry bread – paired with watermelon for supper!
I imagine all of you know what watermelon is, but most of you are probably scratching your heads at the Rollkuchen. What is this fried dough you eat with watermelon why?!
Well, my German mother, of Mennonite background, managed to fill my stomach with many dishes that no one else in my tiny town had ever heard of. In fact, I was sitting down to a school lunch of pancakes when I realized that these fat, round things on my plate were what everyone else considered pancakes, while I knew only thin, rolled-up-crepe-like delicacies.
I’m still not real fond of those thick things the rest of you eat.
So, back to the Rollkuchen…
Many people put salt on their watermelon, for some unknown reason. My dad used to do this until he met my mom and she converted him to Rollkuchen (which, by the way we pronounce “ruhl kookuh.”)
Every summer, when the watermelon is ripe, German Mennonites (not to be confused with the Swiss Mennonites who are more like the Amish in their customs and ethnic foods) make these salty fried rectangles of bread to eat with their watermelon.
And now, I’ve passed this tradition on to my own children!
I love that each member of my family has a different way of eating Rollkuchen. Some use the bread to sop up the watermelon juice. Some eat the watermelon first and then follow it up with the Rollkuchen. I prefer taking a bite of Rollkuchen and then taking a bite of watermelon – perfection!
It totally takes me back to my childhood!
And now, my children will have the taste of Rollkuchen as part of their childhood memories and hopefully, pass it along to their children! (If not, they can come on over to Grandma’s house and get some every summer!)
And the best part is, my husband (just like my dad!) has been converted to Rollkuchen with his watermelon! He loves it as much as I do!
Now, I KNOW you are going to want to make these for yourself this summer, so grab the recipe below! All the ingredients are things you most likely already have on hand!
By the way, my husband insists the watermelon be chilled before we eat it, but I never had it chilled when I was growing up. Truth be told, he has converted me to the cold watermelon side! I’m curious – do you chill your watermelon before eating it?
If you scroll down a bit further, there is a printable version of the recipe, but when I first published this post back in 2008, I put photos of the cutting and frying process, so I wanted to leave those in here.
I also have a video coming soon, so you can see the entire process start to finish!
1/4 c. melted butter
2/3 c. milk
5 c. flour
2 tsp salt
Beat eggs, butter and milk in a bowl. Add in flour and salt and mix well. (Use your hands to incorporate ingredients in necessary.)
Roll the dough out onto a floured board in the shape of a rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Cut into 3″x6″ rectangles and cut a small slit lengthwise down the center of each.
Fry in 1″ of fat until golden brown.
Serve with watermelon.
German Mennonite Rollkuchen
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2/3 cup milk
- 5 cups flour
- 2 tsp salt
- Melt the butter and let cool a bit.
- Beat eggs, melted butter and milk in a large mixing bowl.
- Add in flour and salt and mix well. (Use your hands to incorporate all the ingredients if a wooden spoon or spatula isn't getting the job done!)
- Roll the dough out onto a well-floured board or countertop in the shape of a rectangle. Roll out about ¼" thick – adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin and counter.
- Cut into approximately 3"x6" rectangles with a table knife, and cut a small slit lengthwise down the center of each to keep the dough from puffing up in the hot oil.
- Drop the rectangles into hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a paper towel and then enjoy with a nice, fat, juicy watermelon!
Originally posted in August of 2008. Updated in June of 2021.