Category Archives: Special Occasions

December 13th, 2014

Santa Claus Bread

DSC_2740

My entry for the christmas party in the lab looked like that: Bread (of course homemade). That was an easy decision. It was more difficult to decide what to bake. We are a very international team and everyone should bring something special from his country. And so I decided to honour the swabian part of my family history and baked pretzels. For the second kind of bread I chose my favourite bread. With this dough you can do every “mischief” you can imagine when forming a bread. And so I decided to bake a Santa Claus bread. I saw similar breads before but I did not like the fact that they were painted with food colouring and the way how they were formed did not fit to my ideas complexly either. But I had my own ideas already…

… and the ideas worked well and the breads turned out to be the most photographed part of the buffet. And one colleague asked me to bake such a bread for christmas eve  for her (what I will love to do).

About the bread itself I can just repeat what I said before: It is delicious crusty with a soft crumb and great flavour.  It is my personal favourite. And that makes it a good candidate for Michas new permanrnt blogevent where she looks for “Undiscovered Blog Buster” (german: Der Unendeckte Blog Buster =DUBB)!

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November 8th, 2014

Weckmann

Weckmann

The Weckmann is a tradtional bread baked in germany between Saint Martins Day and Christmas. In the Rhineland they are given to children after the Saint Martin procession.

It is five years ago since I posted the last Weckmann recipe.  I baked them than for my first blogbirthday. This year I felt that I would like to try a new recipe, with cream, egg yolk and a biga as preferment. The cream makes the dough very tender and the dough is easy to handle, too. And using cream instead of butter makes it easy to let the dough rise in the fridge, so you can bake them freshly the morning if needed.

They have a tender crust and soft crumb and a perfect to enjoy them together with a cup of hot cacao.

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October 24th, 2014

Stollen 2014: It’s time to start planning

Saftiger Stollen

One thought hits me every year out of the blue at the End of October: Its only a month left till advent! And because my family has the tradition to eat christstollen at the first advent Sunday, I have to start my stollen baking early enough because a good stollen needs two to four weeks storage to develop the perfect flavour!

The recipe I use is unchanged since five years and I will use it this year again.And when I stop changing recipes then this means something! In the last years I collected my recipe, tips and tricks on the blog. Last year I although added two variants of my stollen which I baked ADDITIONALLY to the traditional one.

To give you a guide to recipes and tips is here a overview: Continue reading

July 27th, 2014

Alsacian Kougelhopf

Gugelhupf

Nearly a year has passed since our visit in Alsace in our summer vacation. One of the souvenirs  I brought home after two splendid weeks in france was a clay baking form for Kougelhopf. It is sitting on my kitchen cabinet since then, waiting for me to create a recipe for Kugelhopf.

This weekend I finally found the time to study different Kougelhopf recipes. But I did not like them, all of them use a lot of yeast and give the dough no time to rest properly to develop a good flavour. And I wanted a recipe which uses a preferment for better taste and longer shelf life! And so I decided to use my own interpreation with a sweet starter which helps to rise the buttery dough without using a lot of yeast.

The cake is more time consuming then other recipes you may find in the web, but it develops a fine complex flavour and light and feathery crumb. I imaging that even my alsacian great-grandmother would have enjoyed it!

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June 1st, 2014

Brioche

Brioche (3)

Since some weeks I have some niece little brioche forms sitting in my cupboard which are only waiting for being filled with a new recipe. This long weekend was the perfect time to try the idea of baking Brioche with sweet starter. This strong, not tangy sourdough adds a niece complexity to the dough while the big amounts of egg and butter yield a soft and fluffy crumb.

But this big amount of butter makes it necessary to use a kitchen machine for kneading. When the butter is added, the dough loose all of its strength and becomes soft and smeary. So soft and smeary that I had my doubts if I could knead it to good consistency. But during  intensive kneading with the kitchen machine the dough gains back its strength and after 15 min the gluten network was fully developed. But it is worth to find the patience to knead for such a long time because this will result in a fluffy crumb which can be torn into long fibres.

The only thing I will change the next time is that I would form the upper ball for the Brioche à tête a little bit smaller so that the head is easier to recognize.

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April 20th, 2014

Colomba pasquale

Colomba (2)When I baked the little Colombinas about five years ago I was already searching for the traditional paper mold for Colomba pasquale. But I had no luck finding one neither in the “real word” nor in german onlineshops. And so I finally give in and bought a silicon mold, ignoring my dislike of this kind of baking molds. And the mold was delivered just in time, so the only thing I had to was to refresh my sweet starter and start baking.

Raisins and candid orange peel would make my beloved one rather unhappy, so I choose semisweet chocolate drops and chopped candid almonds instead. The fits well with my first colomba memory, when some years ago a former colleague brought back a big, chocolate filled colomba after visiting her parents in Italy. The dough for the dove is similar to my pandoro recipe, but this time I kneaded the butter into the dough. The dough was easy in handling and after baking I was able to unmold the colomba without any problems, much to my relief.

After cooling down we cut the dove and the first bite of it was pure delight. The crumb could be torn into long strands and was as light as a feather, and the combination of chocolate and candied almonds is great, too! This colomba is a real dream dove!

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April 19th, 2014

Attendorner Ostersemmel

Attendorner Ostersemmel (1)

It is tradition in Attendorn, a small city in the Sauerland, that the pastor will issue a bless on the “Ostersemmel” (which means Easter bread) on Holy Saturday. It is a big event, that takes place in front of the church where the citizens of the Attendorn will hold their bread into the air. The Bread is forked on both ends, a shape that should depict the Christian symbol of a fish.

It is a bread made with rye, wheat and caraway seeds. My interpretation of the Ostersemmel is made with 30% Rye and Sourdough, and the recipe yields to breads. With a round cookie cutter I make an inprint for the eye, like I saw it in some pictures.

It is a perfect bread for caraway lovers like me, very aromatic with a soft crumb and a shiny crust.

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April 18th, 2014

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Ostereier färben (1)

To dye easter eggs with different natural dyes is always great fun for me. This year I had the idea to use plant juices instead of the time consuming boiling and filtering of plant extracts I used until now.  Since I call an old juice centrifuge my own I bought some red cabbage ad red beet. That the red beet would yield a fair amount of juice I knew, but what would happen with the red cabbage? To my great joy the yield of cabbage juice was amazingly  high, too.

I mixed the cabbage juice with baking soda  or vinegar and let the hard boiled eggs sit in the solutions for some hours.  When I take the eggs from the soution, the red beet juice has dyed them in deep red, while the cabbage juice with soda yielded green eggs. The eggs from the red cabbage juice with pink when I take them out but turned brightly blue during drying. I dipped one of the blue eggs shortly in the red beet juice and so I get a dusky pink egg as well.

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February 20th, 2014

Basler Fastenwähe

Basler FastenwäheSince last year I plan to bake “Basler Fastenwähe”, a special bread which is bake in Basel during Three Kings Day and Carnival. It is made with a very rich dough with a lot of butter,  similar to the swiss butter braid, glazed with egg and sprinkled with caraway.

The form with the four cuts is made with a special tool named “Faschtewaije Yse”. But I don’t own one and so I used a small trick and made the cuts with a not longer used (and very welled cleaned) credit card. The card has the perfect size and making the cuts worked very well.

I liked the Fastenwähe very much, they are very delicious with a rich buttery flavour, which is especially good when the bread is still a little bit warm from the oven!

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