Betty Bensel from Columbia was looking for a recipe for a butter kuchen like the one made by the Heitzman Bakery in Louisville, Ky.

She said this was a favorite of hers but that she had had no luck getting the bakery to share the recipe. She has experimented with recipes she has found online but they are not anywhere near as good as the one baked at Heitzman's.

Dorothy Schneiter of Hurricane, W.Va. said that the Heitzman Bakery was a favorite of her husband's family and they too were particularly fond of the bakery's version of the butter kuchen. Her sister-in-law sent her a recipe that was printed in The Louisville Courier-Journal some years ago for a traditional German-style butter kuchen that she thinks comes pretty close to the Heitzman Bakery specialty, although perhaps not quite as runny as the bakery version.

For a runnier kuchen, Schneiter recommends using only one egg, instead of three, and adding three tablespoons of water to the topping mixture. She also said that she likes the topping so much that she makes an extra one-third of the original topping amount.

With a visit to the Heitzman Bakery website, I uncovered the history of the bakery's most popular dessert: "In Louisville, around 1890-1910 what we now know of as 'Butter Kuchen' was formulated in various master-bake shops. In our lineage, Jacob Heitzman passed his formulation down to his sons, Joe and Charles. Over the ensuing decades the dough was softened and the filling evolved into a runny or gooey delight. Today, we in Louisville, enjoy the end product of hundreds of years of baking evolution - The Butter Kuchen!"

Unfortunately for Bensel, the Heitzman recipe will remain a family secret.

Requests

Kathy Stumer of Tuscarora, Pa., is looking for a recipe for something that her husband's grandmother used to make some 60 years ago. She called it "cheese dough" and it was made with cottage cheese and eggs that were somehow shaped into pillow-like squares and topped with bread cubes and sour cream.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Butter kuchen

Makes 8 pieces in each 9-inch pan

Dough:

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons butter, melted

one quarter cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 ( 1/4 ounce) package dry yeast

quarter cup warm water

2 eggs

3 and a half cups flour

Topping:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make dough: Heat milk until lukewarm; add butter, sugar, and salt. Dissolve yeast in warm water and add to milk. Beat in eggs: then beat in flour. The dough should be very soft and wet. If the dough is too much like batter then add a little extra flour. The dough should be soft and sticky.

Cover and put in a warm place for 1to 1 and a half hours. Turn out on a floured board and roll to fit a very large greased cookie sheet or two 9-inch cake pans. Pinch the edges to form sides, and press down the center some which later will hold the butter topping.

Put in a warm place again for 45 minutes to an hour for a second rising.

Mix ingredients for topping and pour onto the dough after the second rising. Reshape edges to contain topping if necessary.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

Note: Sometimes the rising dough pushes the topping into an uneven pattern.