Spelt is a favourite and so I was regulary asked if my Stollen can be baked with spelt flour, too. I answered “theoretically yes” and decided to bake a Stollen with spelt flour instead of wheat, too. I like to have a practical background for those answers.
The dough contains only minimal changes to the regular recipe: I used a mixture of sultanas and currants instead of raisins and I reduced the amount of yeast, too. And I replaced the wheat flour with spelt flour, of course.
After three long weeks of resting time we cut the spelt stollen for the first Advent. And it was as moist and mellow as a good stollen has to be. Maybe it is a bit more mellow then the normal recipe, but that was the only difference I recognize. The different spices are stronger then the slight spelt flavour and I doubt that I could tell the spelt and wheat stollen apart when blind testing. And so I can tell now with own experience: Yes, you can bake a spelt stollen!
Last year I saw a Christstollen with Sourdough which “Ofenkante” published on his blog. This stirred my brain and I started to think about Stollen made with sweet starter. But as I was already done with Stollen baking at this time point, I stored the idea in the back of my mind. After one year of thinking about it I decided to bake directly two stollen for this Christmas: a traditional and a experimental one.
In the experimental stollen with sweet starter I kept the same ratio of ingredients then in my traditional one (never change a winning team) but build the the sweet starter over several steps to get a enough strength for rising. It is always amazing to see how strong the sweet starter gets when fed three times in a row! But as the feeding is time consuming, this recipe needs a day until it is done.
After four weeks of ripening I brought the stollen from the cold attic back to the warm kitchen and sliced it. The crumb was perfect, firm but moist and the different flavours had fused to a harmonic consonance. Compared to the traditional stollen there are subtle differences in flavour nuances, but it is hard to pin them down. After all, both of them taste terrific and I can not name a favourite.
When the quinces turn golden in my parents garden then we are in the middle of autumn. And our flat is filled with the rich perfume of the fruits as I tend to place them strategically in living room and kitchen to enjoy my favourite autumn flavour as much as possible.
Qunices are rich on pektin so they are perfect for jelly making. I use them with peel and core and although add some green ones to the batch, as these are especially high on pektin. Preparing the fruits is then quite easy as they just have to cut into pieces. Then they are cooked with water until tender. The longer you cook them, the deeper the colour will become, ranging from amber to red. For an extra plus I always add some vanilla , as it underlines so nicely the delicate quince flavour.
I can not tell how I learn about the Reformationsbrötchen (reformation rolls). But the idea somehow stuck in mind and so I had to bake them just in time for the 31. October (Reformation day).
This rolls originate from the area around Leipzig and are baked in Saxony, Thüringen and Saxony-Anhalt. It is made from a buttery yeast dough enriched with a lot of raisins, candid orange and lemon peel and almonds. The square form with the red jam in the middle is said to symbolize either the Luther rose, the seal of Martin Luther, or a bishops hat.
My variant is made with a biga preferment for a complex flavour and is rich with raisins and almonds. The candid orange and lemon peel I added in a smaller amount. The crumb is soft and moist due to cream and butter and the tart cherry jam is a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the dough and fruits. A great pastry for the last day of October.
Since three years I use my Slowcooker to cook plum butter. This is very relaxed as I just have to remove the plum pits the night before and turn on the slow cooker. I put the lid on the cooker in a right angle, leaving a gap so the evaporated water can escape. After 12 hours cooking on “High” the juice has reduced a good deal and after pureeing it needs another three to four hours until it reaches the perfect thick consistence.
The dearest one likes his plum butter without a lot of spices, so I add only half of a cinnamon stick and a tiny little bit of a vanilla bean. Just enough to underline the flavour without shining through. And as I use only a bit of sugar, I preserve the glasses of plum butter, just to be on the safe side. Last year I tested Michas Methode with boiling the glasses covered with water in a big pot. It worked like a charm and the plum butter kept well for one year.
“Bienenstich” is a traditional german cake and its name literally means “bee sting”. For me it is a classical cake to serve on Sundays together with some coffee. When my parents visited us last sunday, I decided to make some muffin sized little Bienstich. Their dough is a “sibling” of my actual favourite braid, but in contrast to the original recipe it contains more cream and no butter. For a relaxed baking I let them proof overnight in a muffinpan in the fridge. And due to the fact that my kitchen machine kneads much better when using 500g flour, I doubled the amount of dough and made a little braid for breakfast with the second half.
The only little disadvantage is the height of the muffin which makes it challenging to eat it. The easiest way is to split it in two halves. Then it is very easy to enjoy this delicious cake!
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!
The Patzerlgugelhupf is a speciality from vienna. “Patzerl” means “a little bit” and the cake is called like this because of his different fillings: a little bit nut, a little bit quark, a little bit plum butter, a little bit poppy seeds. A cake which is perfect for people who can not make up their mind and a cake which is perfect to use up left overs. I saw a picture of such a cake in the net some time ago and fell into love with it. And so I had to bake him. And because I always love to use the sweet starter as preferment for pastry, I used him here as well. But for those who do not call this kind of sourdough their own: You can replace him easily with a biga! Continue reading →
On the first christmas day we met with my family at my sisters place. To reduce the work for her (and because I like to do it) I offered to make dessert. For a long time I was lacking a good idea. But when I was decorating our flat with my Christmas apples I knew what to cook: Mini baked apples with ice cream. In our childhood my mum always bought marzipan ice cream (shaped as christmas tree) for us. And so I knew the flavour for the ice cream as well: Marzipan! Inspired by Michas cream cheese ice cream I created a new recipe and it is perfect for christmas time because you can make it in advance, freeze it and serve it directly from the fridge. Due to the high amount of invertsirup and cream cheese it will be soft and perfect to eat!
And the combination of cold ice cream, hot apples and crunchy almonds was the perfect end of a delicious Christmas meal!
When I bake my Sourdough Pandoro with the special (not sour) sourdough called sweet starter last year I knew already that I would have to make my own Panettone recipe for the following christmas. Similar to the Pandoro recipe I planed to build the dough in some steps so that the yeasts in the sweet starter would get used to sugar and fat which would help to let the dough rise fast. The sweet starter I kept during 2014 alive and baked rather a lot of different breads with him.
On 22. December I refreshed the sweet starter tree times to make him strong and fast rising. He was so strong and fast rising that he only needed two instead if three hours to double his volume when I started the sweet starter for the Panettone at the 23. in the morning. And even the sugar and the butter in the following first and second dough did not slow him down, and tripled its volume in 90 minutes instead of 2 hours. But anyway the third (and last) dough had to take 3 hours for rising because I had to run some errands. Coming home again I formed the Panettone (Susans Tip to grease hands and counter with a lot of butter is really helpful!) and during forming I calculated: I’m now two hours earlier then planned… but it will need about 12 hours at least to proof… and at seven in the morning I’m normally already awake. So there is no problem at all…
At five o’clock the next morning, on my way to the bathroom, I quickly checked the Panettone in the kitchen. And turned the oven on. Ten hours were what they needed to reach the rim of the form. And who needs sleep?
One hour later the panettone was already hanging between two chairs and I crawled back into bed to have another little nap. Later that day we took some pictures and sliced one cake. And it was so delicious: soft and fluffy, the crumb could be teared into long strands, flavours of orange and vanilla and subtle, but complex notes from the sweet starter. And it keeps fresh for a long time, we eat one with my family on the first christmas day, and had some on second christmas day as well and it still tasted like freshly baked. It is a fussy cake and I could less sleep then normal but it is worth everything! It is the perfect christmas cake!