Sometime it is good to have a delicious recipe at hand, which works well for those, who are not eating milk, eggs or wheat. For me, it is important that these recipes do not taste like “replacements” but are delicious stand-alone recipes.
The Spelt Potato Braid is one of this recipes. The dough is made without milk or eggs and if you replace the egg for glacing with the optional shiny glazing mix the recipe is vegan. The potato keeps the dough moist and tender, and a good portion of almond butter supplies the dough with an extra portion of fat and adds flavour. The almond flavour can be further enhanced when some grounded tonka bean is added to the dough, too.
And so, the braid is delicious and full of flavour: a braid with tendency to be a new favourite!
One tradition in Germany I value very much: Giving bread and salt to newly wed couples or when someone moves into a new house. And when two very dear persons got married beginning of this month, I started two think directly about the traditional gift. But as the two lives two far away as that I could simply drop a basket there, I decided to send it per mail.
To make sure that the bread survives the trip in the parcel and stays fresh until its arrival, I bake a simple rye bread in weck jars and canned them afterwards. Treated like this, the bread keeps fresh for several weeks.
If you want to avoid the canning, you can close the lit on the glass directly after baking. But as I have the tendency to burn my fingers in this process I prefer variant one 😀
I am still surprised how widely spread the use of rye flour in traditional sweets bread was. Surprised because nowadays it is rather hard to find such breads in bakeries. And using rye flour to replace some portion of wheat flour makes perfectly sense as rye grows in much rougher conditions as the fastidious wheat. And so rye grew even in regions with poor soil and colder climate like you can find it in the Eifel or here in the “Bergische Land”.
When I stumbled upon the Bread called “Kleenroggen” (litterally little rye) I was buffled as I never heared from such a bread before. Researching deeper yield not so many information, but it seems that this tradtional bread was once baked from the “Bergische Land” up to the Sauerland. And it must have been a fairly common bread, as there is even a church which is called “Kleenroggenkerke” (Kleenroggen church) in the local idiom due to its pan bread like shape. And it always describes a sweet bread with currants and a good portion of rye.
For a family BBQ I had opted for bringing bread (anyone surprised by this?). And as I had some left over Einkorn flour from the Ein-Korn-Rolls I baked last week, my plan was made fast: Spelt Baguette with a good amount of whole Einkorn flour.
As Einkorn has the tendency to destablize the gluten network, I decided to use some enzyme active bean flour. The enzymes of this flour start oxidative processes in the dough, which leads to a better links between gluten proteins and thus to a stronger gluten network. If you need alternatives for bean flour please take a look at this post.
To watch the oven spring was mere “oven tv” for me. I sat happily before the oven and watched its oven spring. It was such a beautiful ovenspring, that it was very hard to to wait until the breads cooled before I sliced them. But then I was very happy: the crumb is for baguette with such a weak gluten network and one third whole grain flour surprisingly open. And the flavour is complex with its deep nutty undertones from the einkorn flour.
We had a delicious dinner this week, made of Falafel, lukewarm zucchini salad from Ottolenghis Plenty and Flatbread.
The dough for the bread I had already mixed around lunch time. It contained only a wee bit of yeast and some sourdough and was left on the counter for fermenting over roughly 6 hours.
After this time, the very soft dough was beautiful bubbly and I preshaped it as gentle as possible to keep the dough bubbles. While the preshaped dough rested I heated the oven as hot as possible. Baking was then only a question of minutes and we snacked the first loaf already while cooking the rest of the meal – it was just so good.
The bread is just as a flatbread should be: wild open crump under a thin crisp. And I’m asking myself why I bake flatbreads so seldom…
It was nearly 10 years ago when I stumbled over a sprouted grain bread. Susan from Wild Yeast baked it for Bread Baking Day with the theme “Bread with Sprouts”. A long, long time ago… I can still remember…
But it needed a second encounter to make me thinking about it. This second time I tasted a bread from sprouted spelt on a bread market a year ago. And this time I was hooked. But as sprouting is time consuming I took some time to start this project. But the Easter holidays were perfect for a new adventure!
Before Easter we had some young visitors. And as I doubted that a hearty whole grain bread would be their most favourite bread I baked a soft sandwich bread instead. But – and aunts can be a little mean – I still added 30 % whole grain flour to make the bread hearty and healthy enough for me to enjoy.
This bread is another step towards the whole grain spelt and emmer sandwich bread I work on already for some month. As the combination of emmer and whole grain tends to destabilize the gluten network I added everything to strengthen it: Egg as lecithin source, rose hip powered as vitamin c source and some physillium hulls to bind more water.
And the bread turned out just like a sandwich bread should be: fluffy with shreddable crumb and a crust that was crisp fresh from the oven but turns softer while cooling. And our seven and five year old guests enjoyed the bread very much. It vanished so quickly that my love complained that he got nearly nothing of this fluffy bread. But, as the first grader happily explained, this is because the bread is perfect to be eaten with tooth gaps. And then she took the last slice…
The most exiting part of my “Time for Bread” baking courses is the part when the participants and I develop together a new bread formula. It is so exiting because we bake it together, too and the result is as new for me as for my participants. And the breads in each course vary from each other. This time there was a bread with a heritage grain, nuts and fruits. To give the emmer whole grain flour enough time to soak we put it completely in the poolish. The nuts and fruit mixture soaks overnight as well so they do not withdraw the water from the dough.
I liked the resulting bread very much. The Emmer has a nutty flavour which underlines very nicely the aroma of the walnuts. Raisins and apricots add a fruit sweetness which is still subtle and goes well together with goat cheese.
When we drove through snow- rain to meet with the family on Easter Sunday, I mused if todays Easter weather was colder then on Christmas Eve or not. But good weather or not we had a broad mixture of rolls and a greek easter braid with us.
The idea of baking tsoureki I had in mind since a readers question last year. And so I did some research and found the braid in many different forms and different ratios of ingredients. But two ingredients were a stable: Mastix and Mahlep.
Mastix is the resin of the pistachios tree, while mahlep are cherry pits form Prunus mahaleb. While grinding the spices to powder I realized that mahlep has an similar aroma than tonka beans: almond like and very delicious. As always, the flavours of a spiced bread are depending more on the spices then on the aroma of the preferment. But using a preferment is useful anyway, as it helps to strengthens the gluten network as well as improves the shelf life.
We enjoyed this greek Easter Bread with its fluffy crumb and almond like flavours very much.
All the winter I did not make it to one of the bread baking days in our local history museum. It was due to different reasons: a lot of snow, a bad cold, our spontaneous weekend trip into the Ardennes…
But last weekend I finally was back and it was so good to meet all the nice people there once again. And as every time I was enchanted by all the little details around the wood fired oven and took many photos.
To honour the museum I call the bread I baked this time “Bergneustädter” as the Museum is seated at the historical centrum of the little town Bergneustadt. It is a bread made with white wheat and rye flour. To keep the bread moist for a long time I added a bit of potato flakes and a little bit of butter, too. The roasted malt enhances the subtle smoke notes of the wood fired oven. For rising the bread adding my hyperactive sourdough would be enough. But as a wood fired oven waits for no one I kept on the secure side and added a bit of yeast to make the proofing better controllable. So the bread needed 60 min to be ready for baking, which is fits perfect in the time schedule I have in the museum.