Having a cold means for me today, that I had to stayed warmly tugged under a blanket on the sofa instead of baking bread in a wood fired oven. To avoid getting to grumpy about that fact I decided to look back on past baking adventures:
For Christmas eve I promised to bring some baguette. And as I felt adventurous I decided to try the Emmer Baguette I was thinking about since I baked the emmer ciabatta last autumn. The white emmer flour which I used lays somewhere between Type 812 and 1050. So it has still a good portion of bran. To enhance the gluten network I opted for enzyme active bean flour – just like I did for the spelt einkorn baguette. And it worked surprisingly well, leaving me with a dough which was easily shaped to a baguette. It hold it shape very well during proofing and had a gorgeous oven spring. The crumb was not as open as I wished for – I guess it is due to the weaker gluten network of emmer compared to wheat or spelt. But the flavour makes us forget about this very fast, as it is at the same time creamy and nutty. So they are a delicious addition to the baguette family on the blog.
It is already middle of January, but I still have two Recipes from christmas waiting. The first one is the recipe for a spelt panettone. Baking panettone or pandoro on the 23. December is already a kind of tradtion here at “Hefe und mehr”. In the weeks before, I take intensivly care of my sweet starter to make it especially fit for the task.
As baking Panettone is already nearly a no brainer. And so I was looking for a new challange. Switching from wheat to spelt is definitly more challenging, as kneading the sensitive spelt to full gluten development needs experience. And it is a good idea to check which sort of spelt you use. Different spelt sorts behave differently as their gluten composition differs. For Example if you use Oberkulmer Rotkorn you need to shorten the kneading time compare to Franckenkorn, which I used here. But with these in mind, baking panettone with spelt works very well. Just keep a close eye on the gluten development.
I am always fascinated how one recipe can lead me to the next (and the next…). Like when I was researching for the Rheinische Neujährchen, which leaded me to the Variant from the Westerwald. And then a reader commented about a tradition from reutlingen called Mutschel day. This day is the first thursday after Three Kings Day and at this day the people in Reutlingen a playing dice games in order to win a mutschel.
The mutschel is a highly decoreated bread made from a very rich dough. The bread has a eight pointed star shape with a bump in the middle. The shape is much easier to form then I first thought as the dough ball just has to be cut like a “#” and the sides then has to be pulled away and shape into pointy tips. I made pictures form the process but used a tinier variant of the mutschel as it was much easier taking pictures from it then from the big one.
For new years morning I baked my traditional New years pretzel, Westerwälder Neujährchen and Rheinische Neujährchen. The swirly form of the Rheinische Neujährchen may looks familiar to some of you. It is one of the forms that is used traditional for Lussekatter. And in Tyrol there is a Bread called “Thomasradl” which is baked during Christmas time in this form. The wide spread of this form is a hint that baking breads in this forms stems from a pre-Christian time. It is discussed that its a leftover of the midwinter fest and is a symbol for the sun.
I like the idea of sun very much as I am waiting each year in January to the days get visibly longer again.