Mix the yeast with a bit of sugar and lukewarm milk and put the mixture on a warm place to let the yeast ferment. Melt the butter in the rest of the lukewarm milk.
Put the flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl, add the remaining sugar, egg yolks, some vanilla grains or a bit of vanilla sugar and some grated lemon zest. Pour in the warm milk with melted butter and the fermented yeast mixture. Knead until having smooth dough, sprinkle with some flour and let rise until doubled in bulk.
February is the peak time of Masopust, Shrovetide or Carnival season featuring pig-slaughters, festivities with mask parades and plates full of donuts and buchteln, traditional Czech yeast buns. This three-week period takes place between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, a day marking the beginning of a 40-day Lent Season before Easter.
The period culminates during the last three days, time of great feasting. People have to enjoy plentiful supply of good food before the upcoming Lent period. The festivity starts on Shrove Sunday with a generous lunch, traditionally including meat dishes, such as jitrnice (liverwurst), sausages and bacon, pastries like fried donuts or “boží milosti” (God’s grace) and, last but not least, plum brandy to make you feel warm. Dancing balls used to be organized on Shrove Monday, followed by mask processions on Tuesday. At midnight the revelry time was over and Lent period began, with meat dishes replaced by lentils, bread, eggs and potatoes.
The tradition of merry mask parades, or Shrovetide processions, has continued in some regions until these days.
There are many recipe variations that evolved from region to region as well as from family to family. The video above will demonstrate how to make one of the various recipes for Czech Sweet Buns.