Another wish for the Bread Baking Course was Baguette. And Baguette dough is a simple dough: You need just flour, water, yeast and salt.
But when it comes to forming and slashing, it gets way more complicated. Only one thing can help with this: Practice! For slashing you actually don’t have to even bake baguette, one can start practicing with paper and pen! As PIP onces wrote: “If you can draw them, you can slash them!” And so I made two practice sheets for you. One with reference lines and one without. You can print them and start practising right away. Try to draw the slashes on the “Paper baguette” in fluent movements without stopping while drawing a slash. Repeat this until you feel comfortable with drawing the slashes, then try it with the real one. And other ways then the traditional cuts are possible as well. In France I saw Baguettes slashed lengthwise as well!
There are three different ways to soak seeds or flour: You can either cook them, or soak them in hot water or in cold water. For this bread I decided to soak the seeds in cold water. They do not absorb not as much water as when hot water is used, and this results in seeds which have still some bite. As the seeds have to soak overnight some salt is added to prevent them from fermenting.
Seeds in a dough can inhibit gluten development and so the soaker is added after ten minutes of kneading. The dough is firm at the beginning and will get softer when the soaker, which contains some free water as well, is added.
For a hearty flavour I bake this bread with some beer. It is a mild organic weiss beer, but you can start to experiment with different kinds of beers. A dark brew, for example, would bring the beer flavour forward and would yield in a very hearty bread.
I was asked to include a bagel recipe in my little course about bread baking and I was very willing to do so. Bagels are a good recipe for beginners as the dough is quite firm and not sticky at all. Kneading on the other hand can be a little work out because of the firm dough, too. But kneading a bagel dough is important to get a chewy bagel. So turn on some music and start kneading!
Another important point is boiling the bagels prior to baking. The longer you cook, the denser the bagel will become, as the proteins and starch on the outside of the bagel start already to set, preventing the bagel from rising to much in the oven. I like Bagel on the softer side, so I boil them for 30 seconds on each side. But play around with this time to get your personal perfect bagel! Continue reading
“Eingenetztes Brot” would be Net-Bread if translated literally. But the origin from the word “eingenetzt” does not stem from the German “Netz” (net) but from “Nass”, which means “Wet”. And making the bread is wet indeed. The sticky dough is easiest to handle when hands and tools are really wet. When the bread is placed in the oven its surface is wet as well. This helps to create the shiny crust which is characteristic for this bread. To get the soft dough in the oven without accident, a so called “Schapf”, a kind of ladle, is used traditionally. Even in my rather big kitchen collection, there is no “Schapf” and so I used a small salad bowl instead. And this worked fine!
For a good flavour I used only a little bit of yeast and let the dough rise very slowly. A tiny bit of sourdough adds depth and complexity. The recipe works without sourdough as well, but its flavour is then a little bit flatter. Continue reading
Another Bread from “Wishlist” is the Westphalian Farmers loaf. It is made with buttermilk and lard. As breads with buttermilk easily catch my eye, I couldn’t resist this whish.
It is a rustic bread with a small amount of rye which is typical for Westphalia and especially for the Munsterland. In its traditional form it is made with lard, but it can be made with ghee instead as well. In my version, I used it a rye poolish, which helps to create a very good crust and a great flavour. For the form I saw them as a long, slashed loaf as well as a rustic round loaves which were baked seam side up. I like the rustic look for a farmers bread more and so I baked round loaves.
During baking the bread develops a nice crisp, reddish brown crust due to the rye poolish. The crumb is very soft and fluffy. Another bread for my favourite list!
The new Sourdough is ready to bake our first sourdough bread. As a freshly raised sourdough is still a little bit weak, it makes sense to do one (or even better two) sourdough feedings at warm temperature to rise some more yeasts. After this rounds of refreshing the sourdough starter is very active and can be used to prepare the sourdough for the bread.
As the bread is made with sourdough only, some patient is need while preparing the dough. Especially baking should be considered depending on the proofing status of the loaf and not on the clock. A good method to test if the bread is already ready for baking is pressing thumb carefully into the surface of the loaf. If the dent spring back directly, it still needs to proof for some time. If the dent is filling slowly, the bread can go in the oven, if a strong oven spring is desired. If the dent will stay it is really time to bake. The bread will have still some oven spring.
Now we feeded our new sourdough for for four or five days and it is happy bubbeling. But how to proceed now? Here is an overview on how to care for a sourdough: Continue reading
The oldest method to rise a bread is using sourdough. As soon as water is mixed with flour, yeasts and lacto bacteria which can be found in the flour starts to proliferate. Soon the first bubbles can be observed which is a sign of the microorganism activity. The microfauna starts to stabilize. In Spelt and Wheat sourdough the dominating species are the same, while in rye sourdough other bacteria species are predominant. The is the reason why rye sourdough is more sour than a wheat or spelt sourdough.
There are a lot of whishes’ for recipes for the bread baking course: the swabian “genetzes” Bread, Baguette, Bread with heirloom grains, yeasted cake, Westphalian Farmer Loaf, Sourdough and Sourdough breads, Salzstangerl, Bagel and Basler Brot. And there are still my personal wishes, a whole grain bread and a multi grain bread. We are not running out of recipes or ideas 🙂
Today I would like to start with the Basler Brot. It is one of most famous Swiss breads, and stems – as the name suggested – from Basel. It has a very crisp crust and a soft crumb. It is a pure wheat bread is normally baked with the Swiss “Ruchmehl”. This flour is hard to get in Germany, and so I did a variant using Flour Type 550 and Whole wheat flour. To increase the amount of water while keeping the dough easy to handle I added a hot soaker. This helps to create a soft crumb. A little bit of butter helps here, too.
To make sure that the crust is crisp we use the technic of “double baking”.Here the bread is baked a second time after cooling down for at least 30 min. This makes the crust very aromatic and crisp.
So here is now the promised Spelt bread. I know that many of the readers of this blog like to bake with spelt, but baking with spelt flour is a little bit more challenging then baking with wheat flour, so the recipe comes relatively late in my bread baking course.
Spelt is closely realted to wheat. But there are two thing to keep in mind when working with spelt. Flour made from spelt contains a different composition of gluten proteins which finally results in a more fragile gluten network. This makes it easy to “over knead” spelt dough, meaning that the dough is kneaded longer then it takes to obtain full gluten development which ends in breaking down the gluten network once again. Due to this fact I prefer to knead spelt dough by hand which gives me a better control then kneading with the kitchen machine. If kneading with the machine it is important to keep a close eye on the dough and testing the gluten development by the window pane test. Intervall kneading (kneading shortly with breaks in between) can be handy as well. Continue reading