Sunday, May 21, 2017


Editor's Note: these are very delicious.

The historical account:

The recipe for what you see illustrated comes from the 1897 edition of Brighina Young's "Minnissippi Pioneer Cooking". The recipe is Brighina's own. She dubbed them "Rye-naughts", being that they were fundamentally a twisted, spiced rye roll. Originally they were, in fact, twisted strands of dough reminiscent of the slingshots built by her younger brothers Boogham and Ian Pratt (known affectionately as Iggy Pratt.) The rolls were a favorite for spring graduation parties and eaten with cheese and lemonade. At some point, however, the language drifted, and the rolls became known as "Y-nots?", and today are made with a Y-shaped cookie cutter. Having been adopted by the local university as a culinary tradition. Minnissippi alumni of BYU often are found at the famous 750 North bakery sampling a childhood favorite. The shift in the name is quite remarkable seeing that originally the "naught" stood for the "zeroth iteration" on the recipe. Brighina was widely known for her constant iteration of favorite dishes, such as "Caverat Head Cheese", but in this case, she was satisfied with the first try. The name evolved, and only later too, the shape, as pioneer ways diminished. So while the block letter Y-nots? have become a staple, the recipe for the original Rye-naughts remain. 
Y-Nots are famous also for their soft-pretzel like use of genuine Salt Lake salt. The use of coarse salt on soft-pretzel came from having a German baker pass through Utah and be exposed to Rye-naughts, which became the basis for soft pretzels upon his return to Germany.
 There is one common misuse of the term, however. Some over zealous students have used a Y-not roll to propose marriage (or a date to the prom) by presenting the roll as if asking the question, "Y-not" marry me? And "Why-not tie the knot". Other misuses include confusion the "naught" with the "nut" part of donut or doughnut. Both of these cases should be corrected whenever possible.

1.5 c stone-ground rye flour
2.5 c bread flour
1 egg
1 T oil
2 T molasses
2 T cocoa
1 t yeast
1 t salt
1 t dried lemon peel
1 t cardamom
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t orange oil

Measurements are approximate! Make a yeast dough by standard procedure. Paint shaped dough with melted butter and sprinkle with fine and coarse sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy at any temperature, with or without cream cheese. (Quite nice either way.)

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