When I heard the term “Scharwaie” the first time, I had to asked my badish host to repeat the word. Spoken with Baden accent it sounds similar to “sha – wai”. Even a second repletion didn’t help me. Finally Iasked to write the word down, as my brain struggled to get the letters on the right places. The Term “waie” means flat bread or cake while “Schar” is thought to come from scrabbing left over dough pieces together after forming the regular bread. It is a traditional flat bread that is baked in Baden, a region in the south west of Germany. And as I am a collector of traditional bread I was hooked.
Back home I had to wait for another baking day at the wood fire community oven in our museum. But as I knew that our leftover dough pieces would not enough to feed the whole crowd, I prepared a dough just for this case. It is a dough with 80% wheat and 20% rye which rises over night in the fridge. In combination with some added sourdough, this creates a delicious flavour. Backed for a short time at high temperature, the bread is soft and fluffy and so delicious.
Last autumn we spent a week in East Frisia. Our land lady told us, that the bakery around the corner should be the best of Leer and so we had to buy some bread there, of course. Something that rouse my curiosity was a small package of sliced raisin bread called Krintstuut. As it was a busy morning in the bakery, I didn’t ask about the ingredients. Tasting the bread back in our cottage, I was sure that it contained a good portion of rye. And so I used a quieter time in the bakery to confirm my assumption.
Finding rye in a sweet bread is nothing that surprises me any longer as I learned about so many traditional sweet breads baked that way. And it makes sense so much: Rye growth even in regions which are not suitable for wheat. So rye was always a grain used for many peasant breads. Wheat bread was something baked only for holidays. And even sweet breads with rye was something most families ate only on Sunday.
My interpretation of the recipe takes into account what I learned about bread baking in the 19. century: It uses sourdough but as well yeast. Back in time, the yeast was bought often at breweries and used for the “finer” breads like raisin bread.The sweetness stems from raisins alone as sugar was scarce back then. And that is really sweet enough. The bread is delicious, especially with some butter and honey.
They may not the most beautiful rolls in the world, but with the thin, crisp crust, the moist open crumb and their complex flavour they won my heart instantly. These rolls are called Kimmicher. Kimmich is the Swabian term for caraway seeds. The rolls are similar made as the famous “Eingenetzte”. The dough is proofed for a long time and then formed with water and transfered to the oven in a small bowl.
The recipe is once again a regional one and can be found in the Swabian City Reutlingen. It is a traditional recipe, something that is already claimed in an old Diamalt book which dates back in 1938. The dough is very wet and has to proof very long at low temperature. That is what is written in the old book, anyway. As the description is vague, and there are on ingredients listed at all, I had to trust myself when I recreated the recipe of the Kimmicher.
I hope, you all enjoyed the splendid Easter weather! Is there anything better then a Breakfast in the sunshine with the family? For our breakfast on Easter Sunday I baked a Spelt Easter Wreath.
To be able to serve a still oven warm wreath, I decided to go for another overnight recipe. And so I used only a bit butter in the dough while the bigger part of the fat stems fro m the cream. Instead of binding water in a hot soaker or water roux, I opted for using yoghurt in order to make the bread baking more relaxed. And I used a pâte fermentée as a preferment, so I could prepare it already three days in advance, if needed. This helps to relax the busy Easter schedule, too.
And so I only had to prepare the dough and form it after 90 minutes fermenting time on saturday evening. The wreath proofed over night and on Easter Sunday all I had to do is placing the dough in the oven. Perfect for a relaxed sunday!
A sweet treat which seems to be perfect for Easter Sunday breakfast is the traditional Aachener Streuselbrötchen (Streusel rolls from Aachen). They stem – as the name suggested – from Aachen and are not known above the city borders. And that is a pity, as they are so delicious, especially if you are a devoted streusel lover like I am. So I try today to get these rolls the national (or even international) attention they should have.
Forming these rolls is a bit “brutal”, as the nicely round formed rolls are firmly pressed into the streusel. They come out flat and with an even streusel surface. But this is how it should look, so do not fear. During proofing and baking they will gain height and the streusel surface will part again. And then you will have one of the most delicious breakfast treats you can bake!
Tin Breads are so convenient when baking in a kitchen that isn’t yours . No need for a bread baking stone, no need for a lot of fuss. And so I baked an old fashioned white tin bread. In Germany it is called “Kasten-Weißbrot” and is a bread with a lot of tradition. So it fits in my post series of traditional breads.
The bread is baked with a young sourdough to keep the amout of acid low to prevent a gummy crumb. For a young sourdough you need a very active starter so the sourdough can double or triple its volume in the short time. To enhance the fluffy crumb I added a bit of powdered rose hip which is a natural source of vitamin c. The rest of the dough is a quite simple white bread dough with a tiny bit of butter for a tender crumb. A bit of enzyme active malt helps to create a crisp crust.
It is a simple but so delicious bread. It tastes great with cheese or with peanutbutter and honey! Continue reading
In Germany you can finde a lot of different kinds of pretzels. There is the lye pretzel, of course. But there are all kinds of “white” (aka not treated with lye) pretzels as well. There are sweet ones like the Martinsbrezel, the Burger Brezel and the Neujahrsbrezel, but there are hearty pretzels like the Anisbrezn as well.
Todays white pretzels stems from the little town called Biberach. It is said that once upon time there was a lazy baker’s apprentice who forgot to prepare the lye. His Master Baker was very angry about his forgetfulness and tossed the pretzels in a pot with boiling salt water. And that turned out to be a brilliant idea. The so treated pretzels tasted deliciously and so these pretzels are baked during lent until today. Sounds like a real “happy ever after”, doesn’t it?
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.
The name “Neujährchen” is used in different regions of Germany for a wide variety of bread and pastry baked for new years eve or new years mornig. This variant stems from the Westerwald. I stumbled about it when I researched recipes for Neujährchen from the rhineland. I was fascinated by the dark crust which is archived by glazing them with cold coffee. And I was thrilled by the interesting mixture of spices and the fact that it is baked with a good amount of rye flour. The dough is mixed with a generous amount of butter, too, which is rather seldom for rye bread. The mixture of spices seems to vary from village to village. Adding Pepper and cinnamon seems to be common everywhere, but if anise or clove or both is used is different from recipe to recipe. As I do not like anise very much, the decision for my recipe variant was an easy one.
The hearty mixture of spice makes the rolls special, but very delicious. They taste great with honey, but would go as well with a mild goat cheese and some cranberry jam, too.