February 17th, 2017

Rhenish Blackbread

Rheinisches Schwarzbrot (1) The grandmother of my dearest complained that today you can not get real blackbread anymore. The “modern” one is to moist in her opinion. When I asked how a “real” blackbread should be, she answered: “Just like it once had been”. My argument that I do not know how the bread looked like ninety years back in the past just gained me a critical gaze. But at the end I could get some informations about her childhoods blackbread from her: moist, but not so moist we today, dark and baked with rather fine cracked rye. And my ambitions was aroused to recreate this bread for her.

And so I bake a blackbread with the classical way: sourdough made with fine cracked rye, a soaker with roasted bread crumbs and coarse cracked rye and a good portion molasse. I added a bit of dark roasted rye  malt to enhance the deep malt flavour.  I baked it in the middle of the week when we spent some days with our Gran. And when we cut the bread the next day, everyone was happy, even Gran liked the bread!

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February 11th, 2017

Pottweck

Pottweck (1)A small part of a comment caught my attention: the word “Pottweck”. I asked for a description and got a very detailed explanation from Jürgen. Nicole added some other details and so I was straight on my way to the kitchen. They explained to me that the Pottweck is a regional speciality from the area lower rhine. Its name stems from the way it is baked: in a pot (=  Pott in the dialect). And the pot gives the bread its typical mushroom shape, too, as the bread rise highly over the pot.

For the ingredients both were united at the buttermilk as liquid, while they differed at the used fat – it seems that either butter, butter plus some lard or only margarine can be used. I stayed with the butter for the beginning, but it is easy to swap part of it with lard or replace it completely with margarine. To increase flavour complexity and to enlarge shelf life I added a pâte fermentée to the formula as well as a little (untypical) addition of cream. And as my old black enamel pot is a bigger one, I knew from beginning that it had to be one big bread.

To watch the bread while baking was pure fun. It rose higher and higher. It was hard to let it cool and wait to for the photos before tasting the bread. But then we had the fresh bread for breakfast and where extremly happy with the slight sourness and complex flavour! A delicious treat on Saturday morning!

 

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February 5th, 2017

Macaron Rosé

Macaron Rose (1)Sometimes, we have some crazy ideas! And when a friend and I tested different Macaron recipes last march we got such a crazy idea: baking macarons as give away for her wedding. We just found the perfect recipe (from the faboulous Pierre Hermé) and already had an idea how the Macarons should look like. And the filling should be flavoured with rosewater to fit to the rose bud on top the macaron.

In the next month, we test baked several rounds. The shells worked perfectly with the first try, adding rose buds on top of a shell prior to baking works like a charm. But the filling caused more problems.

 

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January 29th, 2017

Moist Spelt

Saftiges DinkelkernLast November a reader asked for a recipe of a moist spelt bread with high whole grain portion and different seeds. I had an idea for the bread very quickly: With a whole rye sourdough, many pumpkin seeds, some flax seeds and sesame and a good portion whole spelt flour – partly in a water roux for more moisture. But then the pysllium husk discovery happend and I changed my plan fastly. Instead of a water roux I decided to use the pysllium hulls to increase water binding. And I added some butter which makes the crumb nicely soft and helps to keep it fresh.

The result is a moist and aromatic bread. The crumb is full of pumpkin seeds and a thick crunchy crust. A bread with potential for a a favourite!

 

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January 19th, 2017

Frequent Questions about Bread Baking

Panousi Fotografie

 

It’s been some month ago when a reader suggested to build a “help” page where I could bundle and answer the most frequent questions. That was a great idea and I can use this page as roadmap to one ore the other informative post I wrote in the past eight years. Many of these are hiding between all the recipes.

I hope, you will find this page helpful and that you find the answers for your questions. And if not, this will be a good place to asked general questions

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January 15th, 2017

Moist Whole Wheat Rolls

Saftige Vollkornbrötchen (1)The moment I took the Luftikusse from the oven my never resting mind started to muse about a whole grain variant. And it needed just Michas comment to sent me straight to the kitchen to try it.

Whole grain flour needs more water then white flour, that is a well known fact. And the psyllium  hulls can bind a lot of water, too. Nevertheless I was surprised by the amount of water I needed to reach the right consistency when I prepared the dough. At the end there was more water then flour in the dough. It yielded good rolls but I found the amount of water a bit to much, anyway. And so I changed the recipe, using less water and bit of sugar beet syrup to break the slight bitterness of the bran.

And with this second try I was happy. They have a nice, moist crumb and stay fresh for a long time. They are not as airy as their siblings but a delicious, more healthy variant. The right roll for a healthy lunch break!

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January 7th, 2017

Luftikusse

Luftikusse (1) The first post in 2017 found its inspiration back in 2016. When I put together my “Best of 2016” I stumbled upon upon a  readers question for rolls with open crumb. Back then I suggested this Baguette rolls and then the question slowly slipped from my mind. It has a simple reason: I normally prefer rolls with a finer crumb as we eat them mainly for breakfast and a wide open crumb means honey dropping all over the place. But during vacations we like to eat rolls for lunch or dinner, too. And with a slide of cheese a chiabatta-like roll is a delicious thing.

But the infection I catch before christmas was a mean one and so I spent most of my vacation on the sofa with hot tea and a good book – slowly recovering. I slept a lot, but baked nearly nothing and we went not for shopping food either but feed on our well stocked pantry and fridge. When we finally had to buy some groceries I discovered something new in our supermarket: organic pysillum hulls. I find their water binding capacity fascinating and so a package went home with me.

 

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