Inspiration is a strange thing. In case of this whole grain bagel it came to me in form of an advertisement “to-go products” at the side of an supermarket. “Bagels” I told my beloved one while musings “are a good idea”. Back home I stumbled across a back of whole spelt flour and the different ideas melted together to one recipe.
As I baked them not in my own kitchen, I simplified the recipe as much as possible: hand kneaded dough and a long resting period in the fridge make sure, that they can be baked with no fancy equipment or preferment at hand.A spoonful sourdough can help to further improve flavour, but it is not mandatory. As the whole grain flour needs more water then white flour, the recipe has a higher hydration then the normal bagel recipe. Together with the overnight fermentation in the fridge this ensures that the bran can soak up all water needed. This helps to keep the crumb chewy and to enhance the bagel shelf life. But anyway – after two days all of the bagels were already eaten as they tasted so good…
Sometimes it is just time to use leftovers. Like last friday, when I looked around in the kitchen: there was some leftover fine rye meal from the blackbread, a small bowl with mashed potatoes and in the fridge I found a lonely egg yolk. And so I combined everything and kneaded a dough for the next day. As I prefer freshly baked rolls for breakfast, the dough rose overnight in the fridge.
When we get up on Saturday I went straight to the kitchen and formed the rolls. And while we get ourselves ready, cooked coffee and lay out the table, the rolls proofed and got baked. And when we then had breakfast with the flavourful fluffy rolls I thought once again: leftover recipes can be so great!
Some weeks ago a reader asked me if I had an idea for a spelt variant of the Buttermilk loaf from the beginners course. Of course I had an idea and so I send her a recipe draft. The flour used for this bread had a higher ash content – just as she asked for. A soaker made from flour and buttermilk prevents the bread from getting to dry.
It took a while until I bake the bread by myself. A inflammation of my wrist kept me from hand kneading dough for a while. But since my wrist is fine again, I finally managed to knead it by hand without pain. As I like the combination of spelt and walnuts, I decided to some, too. And I slightly increased the water amount in comparison to the recipe draft. The bread has a moist and fluffy crumb with a slight darker colour due to the higher ash content of the flour and due to the walnuts.
It is a mild tasting bread which pairs well with goat cheese or honey and as it made with a straight dough it is a good alternative for moments when you need a fresh loaf in a considerable short time.
Kieler Semmeln are rolls which stem – as their name suggested – from Kiel. They are a special roll as they are rubbed in a mixture of butter and salt, which gives their surface a rough look and adds a nice buttery and sligthly salty flavour. There are different recipes around for this kind of rolls, some of the containing lard or cinnamon as well. Cinnamon seems to me a bit to adventurous for a first trial, but I keep this variant in the back of my head for a second version.
As dough, I chose something well-tried, which I changed only slightly. Some sourdough and a cold rise in the fridge adds complex aroma notes even without a preferment, which makes the rolls good for spontaneous “I want to serve rolls for breakfast”- Ideas on late evenings. The rubbing of the preformed rolls in the butter-salt-mixture needs a bit of practice but even if the dough dos not make perfect folds, the recipe will still yields a delicous roll with fluffy crumb a crisp crust which crackles while cooling and which carries a hint of salt and butter.
Last year I saw a Christstollen with Sourdough which “Ofenkante” published on his blog. This stirred my brain and I started to think about Stollen made with sweet starter. But as I was already done with Stollen baking at this time point, I stored the idea in the back of my mind. After one year of thinking about it I decided to bake directly two stollen for this Christmas: a traditional and a experimental one.
In the experimental stollen with sweet starter I kept the same ratio of ingredients then in my traditional one (never change a winning team) but build the the sweet starter over several steps to get a enough strength for rising. It is always amazing to see how strong the sweet starter gets when fed three times in a row! But as the feeding is time consuming, this recipe needs a day until it is done.
After four weeks of ripening I brought the stollen from the cold attic back to the warm kitchen and sliced it. The crumb was perfect, firm but moist and the different flavours had fused to a harmonic consonance. Compared to the traditional stollen there are subtle differences in flavour nuances, but it is hard to pin them down. After all, both of them taste terrific and I can not name a favourite.
As soon as the weather change from summer heat to autumn cold I long for hearty breads with whole grains. A great combination is whole grain, potato and walnuts. For our bread baking course I promised a moist whole grain bread and as I have the feeling that another bread without preferment will find some friends here I designed the recipe accordingly.
But the bread gains a lot if you allow the dough to rise over night in the fridge. It will not only will enhance the flavour, but also gives the bran a longer time to soak and gets softer. For a good soaking of the whole grain flour, using warm water and still warm potatoes helps to speed up this process during the first stage of dough preparation.
And if the dough gets the time it needs you will be rewarded with a whole grain bread with an soft and moist crumb. It pairs perfectly with cheese or honey!
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.
Do you know this? You take a photograph, and another one, and another one. And nothing looks good. This Arabian flatbread, Chubz, is one of this cases. It is so … flat. After ten minutes of unsatisfying pictures my beloved one turn nervous and declared that bread and falafel would be better in our stomach then on a picture. And he was right, of course. So I put away the camera and we sat down to eat.
Chubz is a stable in the Arabian cuisine. In Germany you will find it falafel stalls where the chickpea balls are wrapped together into the bread. They are traditional baked in clay ovens, where they are place on the oven wall. They are simple breads made with flour, water, oil, salt and yeast. My variant of the flatbread uses wild yeasts from two kinds of sourdough what makes it very aromatic. They are baked at highest temperature in the oven (300°C) and there they need only 90 seconds until they puff up and got golden brown speckles on the surface.
The next day I give the picture another try and after a night of sleep my creative brain was working better. I put the rolled leftover breads in a glass to gain some height which gave me a more appealing picture.
“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