In the dialect of the region where I live – the Oberbergische Land – potatoes are called “Ärdäppel” which means earth apple. In a shorter variant it is drawn together to “Ärpel”. And putting some potatoes in a bread dough (which makes it to a Ärpelbrot – Potato bread) was a good idea to all times. In former times this helps to save precious flour (especially in regions where grains do not grow so well like here in the Oberbergische Land), and nowadays we like the effect which potatoes have on the bread, keeping it moist and making the crumb soft and tender.
It is a great bread for all meals, and with the curved slashes it is a beautiful eye catcher as well.
I planned to post about a potato bread today (something I will do later this week) but the result of an experiment I baked this weekend made me so enthusiastic that I could not wait to share the recipe with you!
It is a recipe for a baguette made with sweet starter – a very active but not sour sourdough – and a 24 hours rise in the fridge. The Idea to this baguette came to me when I taste a little bit sweet starter which I kept in the fridge for some days. The complexity of the flavour was fascinating. Despite the time the sourdough spent in the fridge it did not taste tangy or acidic. It has a mild flavour of lactic acid, like you would expect it in crème fraiche. Beside that I could taste fruity tones and slight alcoholic taste due to the high activity of the yeast. It was a taste I wanted to catch in a bread!
Sometimes I need a little bit of sweet in the afternoon to refill my energy reserve. Especially on long workdays I have the longing for a cookie to accompany my cup of coffee to overcome my afternoon slump. And I like it most when the little treat in my lunchbox is then a homemade sweet, preferable made with whole grain.
This week I bake cookies with whole spelt flour and grounded poppy seeds, an idea I had in my mind since I baked the Mohnkipferln. Using whole cane sugar adds a delicious caramel note to the cookies while pinch of salt make the taste nicely round. A great cookie for a little break!
I’m keep my little sweet starter which I created for baking pandoro in the fridge for nearly a month now. I feed him once a week with one part flour and half a part water and let him rise at 30°C for 3-4 hours, until its volume doubles. This keeps the starter very active, but slowly the acidity is coming back. And so I decided today to refresh him by feeding him three times every three hours (similar as described here), which removes the tangy taste.
But that left me with some very active sweet starter which I didn’t want to throw away. And so I mixed it with some flour, milk, eggyolk, butter and sugar to bake “Germknödel” . I needed some patient, because the dough took its time to rise, so I would advice to use 5g fresh yeast to speed up the process if you are a little bit in hurry! I steamed most of them, but cooked some in water as well. Both worked fine, but like always I prefer the steamed version!
The Germknödel have very good flavour with some complex notes due to the starter but without any acidic tones! A delicious dessert or (that what we do) great treat on a lazy saturday afternoon!
I love homemade (vegetarian) Burger. And when really everything – from burger patty to the bun – is made by myself, it did not longer deserve the term “fast food”.
To push this dish to the healthy side, I bake the buns this time with 50% whole grain flour. The whole grain flour is a mixture of self milled spelt, wheat and buckwheat. This is not only healthy but it adds a deep nutty flavour to the buns as well. The only problem when baking with whole grain flour is that they tend to get dense and dry. To prevent this I made a hot soaker with some of whole grain flour and used the rest for autolysis so the bran could absorb as much water as possible.Adding some sourdough starter from the fridge as well as some malt helps to create round flavour.
The buns were great, with a soft and tender crumb, and together with some lentil cauliflower patties and a lot of lettuce and tomatoes they were a delicious dinner. And the leftover buns tasted good as breakfast roll with some honey or marmalade, too!
To blog about todays lunch is not really necessary because I posted the recipe for Ofenschlupfer, the swabian kind of bread pudding, already more then two years ago. But on the other is this my favourite leftover bread recipe and I’m pretty sure that we are not the only ones who are left with more then one or two slices of leftover bread after the holidays. I collected a slice Pandoro and some leftover New years pretzel for this, but old buns are although great for this.
I cut everything into thin slices, put it in a casserole and soaked it with a mixture of milk, egg and sugar. After baking for 45 minutes I had a great meal without a lot of hassle, something that is perfect when I still have to struggle with my lingering cold!
I hope, you all had a good start into the new year!
We spent our new year’s eve very quite with hot tea instead of sparkling wine because I had to fetch a bad cold – but that’s a kind of unforgettable new year’s eve, too 😉
But (and that should proof once again that I’m crazy) I decided to ignore the fever for a while because I can not start a new year without a homebaked new year’s pretzel! And so I take out a leftover sweet starter I kept in the fridge for 5 days. The Starter didn’t mind the time spend in the cold and tripled in size after feeding in only three hours! I then mixed the dough and trusted the sweet starter once again to be enough for a proper rise. The longer time it need to for rising and proofing was perfect for me so I could sleep in between 😉 If you want to speed up the recipe, at a little bit of yeast. Or make half of the recipe of the swiss butter braid instead, which yields a great bread, too.
The pretzel is very delicous, with a soft crust and a fluffy crumb, just the prefect way to welcome 2014!