I didn’t eat a Briegel for ages. At least it feels like that as I had the last one when we visit beautiful Swabia last summer. When I baked a lot of spelt “Seelen” – a bread very close related to Briegel – at the breat festival in Berlin two weeks ago, the memory of this briegel appeared again in my mind. And the idea of baking them by my self was fixed in my brain.
The starting point for this recipe was Lutz spelt Seelen. Instead of using yeast I went for a whole grain variant of my sweet starter. A slightly higher whole grain flour amount in the dough and a changed water roux makes the the a bit firmer, as a Briegel dough should be. The dough is good to handle despite the fact that is has a hydration of 87%. A long cold rest in the fridge helps to add a lot of flavour and subtle aroma of lactic acid which fits very well with the bread. To build the gluten network more easily, the double Hydration method is used. For forming a lot of water is needed, too. The surface of the worktop has to wet to avoid sticking and the hands has to be wet as well. Then it is easy to form the Briegel and bake them directly, without proofing.
The crumb of the Briegel is then as it should be: Opend and moist. The crust is crisp and the flavour is unbeatable, complex and deep with a week hint of lactic acid.
Tired, but happy I look back on the last week. Tired because I came back very late Sunday night just to leave again on early monday to morning to a mass spectrometry training in Frankfurt. Luckily there was not as much snow as forecasted and all trains were in time. Thinking on the bread festival in Berlin makes me still smiling, as it was such a good experience. I’m very happy that I met some of my Readers there!
My short stop at home I used to freeze some bread I brought with me from our baking marathon (Spelt seelen and Wheat and rye bread). So our freezer was still well filled when I came home end of week. So there was no need for baking, but some of the starters demanded some feeding. So what to do with the left overs? As I keep part of my sweet starter on whole spelt flour at the moment I decided to bake my beloved gaufres de liège in a whole grain variant. Some Tonkabean in the dough added some slight marzipan and vanilla notes to the nutty and a bit tarter flavour of the whole spelt flour, rounding the aroma very nicely.
I enjoyed them very much together with a cup of black tea. They were a perfect treat for a relaxing weekend!
Sometimes days go in another direction then my bread baking plan was scheduled. Like last weekend when my mum called to invite me for a spontaneous lunch. So I placed my dough in the fridge after kneading. When we came home it was already late afternoon and when I calculate how long it would take to proof and bake the bread I realize it would be already past my bed time. So I decided to form the loaves and proof them over night in the fridge. With a mild sourdough, this works very well without getting a to sour bread.
And indeed, the bread has only a very faint sour hint underlining the malty notes of the dark beer and a very complex flavour due to the long, cold rise. The crumb is fluffy and soft, the crust crisp, a perfect every day bread. And if you wonder why it is called “Bergisch” Beer Bread: The Bread is named after the region I live in, the Bergische Land.
The quite days between christmas and new years eve I like to spent with baking time consuming “cake”-breads. My favourite one is the golden Pandoro, who is a laborious with its preferments, but every time I’m so excited how high it rise and what flavour it develops.
This year I baked once again my pure Sourdough variant, which gains it strangth and complex aroma through the sweet starter. It needs more then 24 hours until it is done, but when the tender crumbs nearly melts in my mouth I always think: This feels like eating a cloud.
When I was baking the pandoro this year there was a question about the sweet starter: Does it really rise during fermentation? I looked at my starter who had trippled its volume in 2 hours and decided to snap a photo to show how it should look. And as I was taking photos I decided to follow the whole fermenting and proofing process with the camera. When the pandoro was baked and sat in the kitchen to cool, I checked the pictures on the computer and was very happy with my result. The pictures showed so well how the preferment dobuled, nearly trippled and how the Pandoro gained a nearly the a four times bigger volume during proofing and baking.
Maybe you read this already on Lutz’ Plötzblog : There will be a big Brotzeit (literally Bread Time) market in the Markthalle Neun in Berlin at Sunday, the 17. January. Many famous bakers will be there as well as other exhibitors. Together with Lutz, Werner and Schelli I will be there as well, baking spelt rolls (Dinkelseelen) with the visitors of the fair. And we have some other Ideas for bread as well! I’m already very exited and hope that I will see some of you there!!
Relaxed and in good company was our start into 2016. I hope, you landed good in the new year as well!
For a late breakfast we always have the traditional new year pretzel and for this one I did something I planed to do already for some time. I transformed the favourite sunday braid recipe to spelt flour. To increase the water binding capacity, I added a water roux and for a stronger starter, I build the dough similar to a pandoro with a first and a second dough. This enhance flavour and makes the yeasts stronger as they already have the change to adapt to the higher sugar content.