Like each year at this day in November I want to add a “can you believe this” when I write down the age of this blog. With now nine years the blog feels sometime like a mammoth in a modern time. And just like Micha I sometimes miss the gone days when the blog world was small and young and mainly add-free. I miss the times when every blog had its own blog roll. Past then I could spent hours surfing through the favourite blogs from other bloggers, finding new favourites while I travel through the sites. Nowadays my journeys are often interrupted as many blogs does not share their favourites anymore. Why I can’t understand but I moan about the lost connections and interactions. And I’m more then happy when I find a blog that stands out from the mass and which has a blogroll of its own. Then I will add it to may blogroll, for which I still care a lot. I keep an eye on it so it contains only active blogs (inactive but good blogs can be found have their own special blogroll). You can the blogroll on the left side when you scroll down a bit.
But enough from nostalgia! Another thing that I care a lot for is my growing collection of traditional bread recipes. I like the stories and memories connected with this breads. And so I continue to collect what I can found. There are so many little gems just waiting to be discovered! If you know one – please share the description with me!
A good example for connected stories is the Bertesgadener Stuck. It is a bread which stems from the traditional bread sharing with poor ones at All Souls day which can be found in many regions of south germany. The local custom in Berchtsgarden of “Stuck Betteln” (asking for stuck rolls) was alive until the 1920s. Around this time this custom was banned. But the stuck recipe was kept alive as the bakeries started to sell the rolls from September till Santa Claus day.
An intersting point of the recipe is fact that the unsweetened dough is well seasoned with cinnamon, clove and sometimes other spices. I added a bit of bread spice (coriander, caraway, fennel) but only so much to create a deepness in flavour. The sweetness stems from the added Zante currants. And once again the bread contains some rye – I find it interesting how many traditional sweet breads in Germany exists which are partly made with rye flour!
I stumpled about the Neheimer Stütchen during a guided tour in the cologne cathedral. It was the fact that Count Gottfried von Arnsberg IV. is buried as the only not clerical person. This prominat burial place he got because of a very generous gift to the cologne bishop – and to ensure that the people in his county would pray for him after his death he gifted a very good forest to the city of Neheim. The forest still exists and from the yearly gain of it several celebrations are paid: each year a wreath is laid down at his tomb in the cathedral, there are count gottfried games and all children of the city get a roll called “Neheimer Stütchen” at the 4th september.
The Neheimer Stütchen is a sweet milk roll, a bit larger then normal and already that tempted me. And as this story is such a nice one that it fits very well in my blog series of regional, traditional breads. And so I baked my version of this roll, with a biga for aroma and a water roux for fluffy soft crumb.
Another discovery of my search for regional breads is the Salzweck. Its a roll which stems from the region Baden and which is formed in a special way. Its rim is folded in a similar way like used for Kärntener Kasnudeln or for the Handsemmeln. Its not so difficult to form and to proof this I took a video from the forming process.
The roll comes golden brown out of the oven and provides a fluffy soft crumb under its crisp crust. This is due to the combination of the macial combination of egg yolk, butter, enzyme active malt and vitamin C from the powdered rose hip. To make the flavour deep and complex, I added a Biga to the dough, too. Taken together this yields a beautiful looking roll with great aroma!
Since I discovered the Kieler Semmel for me, they rank very high on my personal favourite roll list. I love their tender crumb and the crisp buttery-salty crust with the slight hint of cinnamon. And so it was an easy decision what recipe I would bake at my course at the Brotzeit.
But the recipe vary a bit form the two recipes already published on the Blog: this time I use poolish as preferment and I had to use more yeast to compensate the short time window in the course. But I added a variant for more time below.
The dough of this rolls is rather firm and can be formed round easily. After forming the rolls need to be rubbed in a butter mix which works some fat into the seam. This prevents the seam from sticking and so the rolls open nicely in the oven. To get enough butter in the seam needs a bit of practice – and this can only be gained by practice 😉
This was a great weekend in Berlin! The smell of bread was everywhere and I had the change to try so many different specialities. Not only on the Brotzeit Market, but on the evening before as well when all of the participants came together to chat and eat. A lot of the Bakers brought their favourite bread and I spent that evening of sampling nearly 20 Breads. My personal favourites were: a bread with sprouted spelt, a loaf with sprouted sun flower seeds and a ciabatta like bread with hot pepper and olives. But there was a delicious walnut, a bread flavoured with nettles, and different great rye breads as well. The different breads and the interesting conversations about bread, grain and bees at this evening will be inspiring my baking in the next time for sure!
The next regional bread recipe is from Northern Germany, too. Or, to be more precise, from Osnabrück. It is a roll which roots in meagre days when good flour with a high amount of gluten was rare. The poor flour quality results in a finer, denser crumb and a smaller volume then normal rolls. To archive good looking rolls with a nice crust despite the flour quality the bakers used a trick. They spread the rolls with different kinds of mixtures which results on a crisp, and crackled crust. This special look of the crust gave the rolls their name “Springbrötchen” (lit. Cracked Rolls).
The flavour of the crumb is slightly sweet while the crust is very hearty. The hearty flavour stems from the last mixture which is applied on the rolls: It is a mixture of fat and baker’s ammonia. The slight alkalinity of the baker’s ammonia has a similar effect like lye for making pretzels and gives the rolls their specific flavour. The hint of sweetness is archived by a bit of sugar and the addition of some milk and is a lovely contrast to the flavour of the crust. I like the flavour very much and there are already new recipe variants with preferments circling in my mind. Always a sign that I like a recipe…
When I asked for suggestions of regional traditional Bread one bread on top of the list of favourites was Gersterbrot. This bread stems from the region around Hanover and Bremen and it is really special as it is flambéd after forming the loaves. This seals the crust and adds dark speckles all over the bread. Both lead to a bread with a hearty flavour and beautiful crisp crust. And it enhances shelf live as well as the thick crust prevents the moisture from evaporating.
To flambé the loaf properly I bought a small blazing torch as it develops more heat then a flambé torch. And when I flambéd the bread I took care that the surface below was fire proof! And I had a wet towel near just in case… But everything worked perfectly fine, no kitchen on fire, just a beautiful bread with a fine crumb and the thin crust – just as it has to be!
The Ausgezogne is a south german deep fried cake which is similar to a doughnut but instead of a hole there is a very thin dough layer in the middle. Sometime this cake is called Knieküchlein (literally knee cake), too as the thin dough layer can be archived by stretching the dough over the knee. But it can be stretched by hand, too, and is very similar to forming pizza dough.
To get a good stretchable dough it is important to develop the gluten network fully. To support the gluten development a pâte fermentée is added to the rather soft dough. This makes it easy to form the Ausgezogne dircetly before frying. The thin part gets crisp while the outer rim is soft and fluffy. And this contrast is typical for the little cake and makes it so delicious!
The grandmother of my dearest complained that today you can not get real blackbread anymore. The “modern” one is to moist in her opinion. When I asked how a “real” blackbread should be, she answered: “Just like it once had been”. My argument that I do not know how the bread looked like ninety years back in the past just gained me a critical gaze. But at the end I could get some informations about her childhoods blackbread from her: moist, but not so moist we today, dark and baked with rather fine cracked rye. And my ambitions was aroused to recreate this bread for her.
And so I bake a blackbread with the classical way: sourdough made with fine cracked rye, a soaker with roasted bread crumbs and coarse cracked rye and a good portion molasse. I added a bit of dark roasted rye malt to enhance the deep malt flavour. I baked it in the middle of the week when we spent some days with our Gran. And when we cut the bread the next day, everyone was happy, even Gran liked the bread!
A small part of a comment caught my attention: the word “Pottweck”. I asked for a description and got a very detailed explanation from Jürgen. Nicole added some other details and so I was straight on my way to the kitchen. They explained to me that the Pottweck is a regional speciality from the area lower rhine. Its name stems from the way it is baked: in a pot (= Pott in the dialect). And the pot gives the bread its typical mushroom shape, too, as the bread rise highly over the pot.
For the ingredients both were united at the buttermilk as liquid, while they differed at the used fat – it seems that either butter, butter plus some lard or only margarine can be used. I stayed with the butter for the beginning, but it is easy to swap part of it with lard or replace it completely with margarine. To increase flavour complexity and to enlarge shelf life I added a pâte fermentée to the formula as well as a little (untypical) addition of cream. And as my old black enamel pot is a bigger one, I knew from beginning that it had to be one big bread.
To watch the bread while baking was pure fun. It rose higher and higher. It was hard to let it cool and wait to for the photos before tasting the bread. But then we had the fresh bread for breakfast and where extremly happy with the slight sourness and complex flavour! A delicious treat on Saturday morning!