Category Archives: Bread

June 28th, 2015

Chubz

Chubz (2)Do you know this? You take a photograph, and another one, and another one. And nothing looks good. This Arabian flatbread, Chubz, is one of this cases. It is so … flat. After ten minutes of unsatisfying pictures my beloved one turn nervous and declared that bread and falafel would be better in our stomach then on a picture. And he was right, of course. So I put away the camera and we sat down to eat.

Chubz is a stable in the Arabian cuisine. In Germany you will find it falafel stalls where the chickpea balls are wrapped together into the bread. They are traditional baked in clay ovens, where they are place on the oven wall. They are simple breads made with flour, water, oil, salt and yeast. My variant of the flatbread uses wild yeasts from two kinds of sourdough what makes it very aromatic. They are baked at highest temperature in the oven (300°C) and there they need only 90 seconds until they puff up and got golden brown speckles on the surface.

The next day I give the picture another try and after a night of sleep my creative brain was working better.  I put the rolled leftover breads in a glass to gain some height which gave me a more appealing picture.

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June 17th, 2015

Bread Baking for Beginners XVI: Eingenetzes Brot

Eingenetzes Brot“Eingenetztes Brot” would be Net-Bread if translated literally. But the origin from the word “eingenetzt” does not stem from the German “Netz” (net) but from “Nass”, which means “Wet”. And making the bread is wet indeed. The sticky dough is easiest to handle when hands and tools are really wet. When the bread is placed in the oven its surface is wet as well. This helps to create the shiny crust which is characteristic for this bread. To get the soft dough in the oven without accident, a so called “Schapf”, a kind of ladle, is used traditionally. Even in my rather big kitchen collection, there is no “Schapf” and so I used a small salad bowl instead. And this worked fine!

For a good flavour I used only a little bit of yeast and let the dough rise very slowly. A tiny bit of  sourdough adds depth and complexity. The recipe works without sourdough as well, but its flavour is then a little bit flatter. Continue reading

June 5th, 2015

Bread baking for Beginners XV: Westphalian Farmers Loaf

Westfälischer Bauernstuten (4)

Another Bread from “Wishlist” is the Westphalian Farmers loaf. It is made with buttermilk and  lard. As breads with buttermilk easily catch my eye, I couldn’t resist this whish.

It is a rustic bread with a small amount of rye which is typical for Westphalia and especially for the Munsterland. In its traditional form it is made with lard, but it can be made with ghee instead as well. In my version, I used it a rye poolish, which helps to create a very good crust and a great flavour. For the form I saw them as a long, slashed loaf as well as a rustic round loaves which were baked seam side up. I like the rustic look for a farmers bread more and so I baked round loaves.

During baking the bread develops a nice crisp, reddish brown crust due to the rye poolish. The crumb is very soft and fluffy. Another bread for my favourite list!

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May 31st, 2015

Bread baking for Beginners XIV: The first Sourdough Bread

Sauerteigbrot (1)The new Sourdough is ready to bake our first sourdough bread. As a freshly raised sourdough is still a little bit weak, it makes sense to do one (or even better two) sourdough feedings at warm temperature to rise some more yeasts. After this rounds of refreshing the sourdough starter is very active and can be used to prepare the sourdough for the bread.

As the bread is made with sourdough only, some patient is need while preparing the dough. Especially baking should be considered depending on the proofing status of the loaf and not on the clock. A good method to test if the bread is already ready for baking is pressing thumb carefully into the surface of the loaf. If the dent spring back directly, it still needs to proof for some time. If the dent is filling slowly, the bread can go in the oven, if a strong oven spring is desired. If the dent will stay it is really time to bake. The bread will have still some oven spring.

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May 9th, 2015

Breadbaking for Beginners XI: Basler Brot

Basler Brot (1) There are a lot of whishes’ for recipes for the bread baking course: the swabian “genetzes” Bread, Baguette, Bread with heirloom grains, yeasted cake, Westphalian Farmer Loaf, Sourdough and Sourdough breads, Salzstangerl, Bagel and Basler Brot.  And there are still my personal wishes, a whole grain bread and a multi grain bread. We are not running out of recipes or ideas :-)
Today I would like to start with the Basler Brot. It is one of most famous Swiss breads, and stems – as the name suggested – from Basel. It has a very crisp crust and a soft crumb. It is a pure wheat bread is normally baked with the Swiss “Ruchmehl”. This flour is hard to get in Germany, and so I did a variant using Flour Type 550 and Whole wheat flour.  To increase the amount of water while keeping the dough easy to handle I added a hot soaker. This helps to create a soft crumb. A little bit of butter helps here, too.

To make sure that the crust is crisp we use the technic of “double baking”.Here the bread is baked a second time after cooling down for at least 30 min. This makes the crust very aromatic and crisp.

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April 26th, 2015

Bread Baking for Beginners X: Spelt Rye Bread

DinkelbrotSo here is now the promised Spelt bread. I know that many of the readers of this blog like to bake with spelt, but baking with spelt flour is a little bit more challenging then baking with  wheat flour, so the recipe comes relatively late in my bread baking course.

Spelt is closely realted to wheat. But there are two thing to keep in mind when working with spelt. Flour made from spelt contains a different composition of gluten proteins which finally results in a more fragile gluten network. This makes it easy to “over knead” spelt dough, meaning that the dough is kneaded longer then it takes to obtain full gluten development which ends in breaking down the gluten network once again. Due to this fact I prefer to knead spelt dough by hand which gives me a better control then kneading with the kitchen machine. If kneading with the machine it is important to keep a close eye on the dough and testing the gluten development by the window pane test. Intervall kneading (kneading shortly with breaks in between) can be handy as well. Continue reading

April 11th, 2015

Bread Baking for Beginners VIII: Wild Spring Herbs Bread

Frühlingswurzel In the last days, the weather was warm and sunny and it finally feels like real spring. The first trees started to flower and the leaves will develop soon and the world will be green once again. And already the first fresh herbs can be found in garden and forest, like wild garlic, ground elder  and salad burnet. Blended together this herbs yields an aromatic paste which adds a great flavour to this crusty bread and turns the crumb slightly green.

As preferment I used a poolish. A poolish is made with the same amount of water and flour and a tiny little bit of yeast. It rise for 14-16 hours and has to used while its surface is still doomed. In contrast to a biga, which is really forgiving when used half a day later then planned, a poolish has only a limited time window in which it can be used. After that it starts to degrade and collapse.  But it helps the dough to rise well and adds a mild, complex flavour.  The name poolish comes from the polish bakers who brought this kind of dough to France in former times. Here he is used often for baguette dough.

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April 5th, 2015

Schiacciata di Pasqua

Schiacciata (1)Sometimes you stumble over a recipe and then it catches you so much, that you change all your plans just to bake it. For me this happend when I read about the Schiacciata di Pasqua, the Tuscan Easter bread similar to Panettone. It is baked with olive oil, what tempted me very much. And because I was feeding my sweet starter anyway to bake a Colomba pasquale I decided to make to festive breads for Eastern in parallel.

For my recipe I checked many formula available in the net but had to realize that the amount of olive oil varies a lot. At the end I placed my recipe somewhere in the middle. A little change to the original formula is that I avoided to add anise seeds which I do not like at all. But I added them in the recipe in brackets, because the traditional Schiacciata di pasqua has to contain these seeds.

It is a very delicious bread in the end, sweet with a subtle hint of olive oil and very slight sourness from the sourdough. The crumb can be teared into long fibers and is very light. A perfect gift for the family on Easter Morning!

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March 28th, 2015

Bread baking for Beginners VI: Zuckerplatz (Sweet Bread)

Zuckerplatz (2)Last weekeend I realized how near Eastern is when my mom told me on the phone about her plans of dyeing eggs with her kids at school. And so I changed my plans for the bread baking course and developed a sweet recipe perfect for the Easter Breakfast. It is a sweet bread called which is made with the biga preferement. The subtle acidity of it helps to strengthen the gluten network. For a tender crumb the dough contains cream, egg yolk and some butter. By replacing the butter with cream the dough can rise in the fridge if needed.

For all doughs with a lot of sugar or butter it is important to develop first the gluten network before butter and sugar. Both can inhibit the gluten development. The fat in the butter can coat the gluten proteins so that they can not connect with other gluten proteins to form strands while the sugar draw the water away from the proteins which again strongly reduce the forming of gluten strands. That’s why we will add the sugar in small increments after 10 min of intense kneading. You will realize while kneading in the sugar that the dough will become softer. This is due to the water which is no longer bound by gluten proteins because of the sugar. Continue reading

March 14th, 2015

Breadbaking for Beginners IV: Buttermilk Loaf

Buttermilchlaib (2)The next recipe for beginners is a bread made with buttermilk and some rye flour. These ingredients make the bread hearty and if you proof the dough over night in the fridge, the flavour will be even more complex. But if you need a fast bread, it is possible to let the dough rise for one hour instead.

In contrast to the other breads we prepared in the little series, the dough will be a little bit sticky after kneading. This is due to pentosane in the rye flour and because of the higher water content. When kneading sticky dough I tend to leave the dough in the bowl and knead the dough by pulling the sides of the dough into the middle. One hand holds the bowl, the other do the folding. After 10 minutes the dough should come together nicely and can easily pulled away from the bottom of the bowl. Continue reading