February 27th, 2016

Walnut & Porridge Bread

Walnuss und Hafergrütz-Brot (1)Whenever we spent our vacation in nothern Germany, I have to buy something I have troubles to find in the Rhineland: Steel cut oats! I like them very much, not for the kale stew like it is typical in North Germany, but for making porridge or baking bread. A porridge is such a good addition to a bread, adding some bite and a good deal of moisture and helping to keep the bread fresh for a long time. Especially for spelt bread it is a good addition as spelt has the tendency to bake dry without added soaker.

The bread I baked last week contains the trio of spelt, oat and walnuts. All three are somehow nutty flavoured and it feels natural to me to combine all of them in a bread. The preferment is a whole spelt sourdough which I grow over to stages to contain the mild lactic acid flavour I love so much. And the combination of joghurt-like notes of the sourdough and the nutty flavours of the grain and the nut makes this bread to one these I enjoy most plain or just with some butter and sprinkles of salt flakes. A clear favourite of mine!

 

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February 21st, 2016

Leftover Bread

Restel-Brot (1)Sometimes, the best bread happens rather unplanned. Like this bread, which is a kind of a left over bread. It started when I was thinking about what to do with the remaining part of the “aromastück” I prepared when baking the “Irländer”. In the fridge was a big batch of sweet starter  waiting to be fed, but it was to much to feed the whole amount, so using part of the unfed starter was needed, too. And in my flour cabinet I had nearly empty bag with rye, spelt and wheat flour. So why not combining everything to bake a bread?

The result is a classic every day bread with a soft crumb. The Aromastück adds a nice malty note and helps to keep it fresh for a long time while the unfed sweet starter adds subtle flavour notes that adds complexity to the aroma. A truly delicious bread that makes me think about new experiments with the aromastück.

 

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February 13th, 2016

Irländer

Irländer (1)

Oliver asked in December if I had a recipe for a aromatic bread with 90% rye. The orignal bread named “Irländer” is a whole grain bread baked with sourdough only and is originated in Mannheim. As I easily get stomach problems when eating to much rye, I always need someone to share a rye bread with. And so it took some time until a weekend I know that I would see my parents and my sister. Shared with three, the amount of rye bread left for me is perfectly 🙂

This bread has a moist crump and stays fresh for a long time. A so called “aroma stück” and sourdough makes the bread aromatic and the “aroma stück” buffers the acid peaks of the sourdough very well. A very harmonic bread.

 

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February 8th, 2016

Twin Bread

Zwillingsbrot (1)I had a nice email exchange with a reader some time ago. She just had started her own sourdough starter and had some questions about it. One was how to replace the bought dried sourdough with her own one. She mailed me the recipe and I adjust it so that it is sole leavend by sourdough. To ensure that the sourdough is strong enough, it is fed twice. I although added a soaker for seeds, to ensure they can take up enough water. As I changed much of the handling as well, add the end there are just the same ingredients but a complete different recipe. But it is worth while as it yields an aromatic, moist bread with a well balanced mild soudough flavour.

As the bread is bake as two loaves set next to each other it is a great bread to be shared with friends. A Bread where one half looks like a twin of the other half. A real ”twin bread”!

 

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February 7th, 2016

Spelt-Berliner

Dinkel-Berliner (2)

There is only one reason to spent carnival Sunday not thinking about the best hiding place: my nice and my nephew. As we invited them to  watch the children carnival parade in our little town with us, I even bought some paper streamers and baked some “Amerikaner” (german version of black and white cookies) and Berliner. That is as close as I will ever  come to celebrating carnival.

This years Berliner are made with spelt flour and get their good flavour from a biga, which helps to build a strong gluten network, too. For a bit more moisture I added a water roux and like last year I have again a good amount of egg yolk in the dough, which helps to create a tender crump. And as Berliner a for me the best part of carnival, I wish you a good time during the “crazy days”: Alaaf!

 

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February 4th, 2016

Kieler Semmeln

Kieler SemmelKieler 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.

 

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January 30th, 2016

Briegel

Briegel

I didn’t eat a Briegel for ages. At least it feels like that as I had the last one when we visit beautiful  Swabia last summer. When I baked a lot of spelt “Seelen” – a bread very close related to Briegel – at the breat festival in Berlin two weeks ago, the memory of this briegel appeared again in my mind. And the idea of baking them by my self was fixed in my brain.

The starting point for this recipe was Lutz spelt Seelen. Instead of using yeast I went for a whole grain variant of my sweet starter. A slightly higher whole grain flour amount in the dough and a changed water roux makes the the a bit firmer, as a Briegel dough should be. The dough is good to handle despite the fact that is has a hydration of 87%. A long cold rest in the fridge helps to add a lot of flavour and subtle aroma of lactic acid which fits very well with the bread. To build the gluten network more easily, the double Hydration method is used. For forming a lot of water is needed, too. The surface of the worktop has to wet to avoid sticking and the hands has to be wet as well.  Then it is easy to form the Briegel and bake them directly, without proofing.

The crumb of the Briegel is then as it should be: Opend and moist. The crust is crisp and the flavour is unbeatable, complex and deep with a week hint of lactic acid.

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January 24th, 2016

Gaufres de liège with sweet Starter (Whole Spelt variant)

Vollkorn Lütticher Waffeln (1)Tired, but happy I look back on the last week. Tired because I came back very late Sunday night just to leave again on early monday to morning to a mass spectrometry training in Frankfurt. Luckily there was not as much snow as forecasted and all trains were in time. Thinking on the bread festival in Berlin makes me still smiling, as it was such a good experience. I’m very happy that I met some of my Readers there!

My short stop at home I used to freeze some bread I brought with me from our baking marathon (Spelt seelen and Wheat and rye bread). So our freezer was still well filled when I came home end of week. So there was no need for baking, but some of the starters demanded some feeding. So what to do with the left overs? As I keep part of my sweet starter on whole spelt flour at the moment I decided to bake my beloved gaufres de liège in a whole grain variant. Some Tonkabean in the dough added some slight marzipan and vanilla notes to the nutty and a bit tarter flavour of the whole spelt flour, rounding the aroma very nicely.

I enjoyed them very much together with a cup of black tea. They were a perfect treat for a relaxing weekend!

 

 

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January 15th, 2016

Bergisch Beer Bread

Bergisches Bierbrot (2)Sometimes days go in another direction then my bread baking plan was scheduled. Like last weekend when my mum called to invite me for a spontaneous lunch. So I placed my dough in the fridge after kneading. When we came home it was already late afternoon and when I calculate how long it would take to proof and bake the bread I realize it would be already past my bed time. So I decided to form the loaves and proof them over night in the fridge. With a mild sourdough, this works very well without getting a to sour bread.

And indeed, the bread has only a very faint sour hint  underlining the malty notes of the dark beer and a very complex flavour due to the long, cold rise. The crumb is fluffy and soft, the crust crisp, a perfect every day bread. And if you wonder why it is called “Bergisch” Beer Bread: The Bread is named after the region I live in, the Bergische Land.

 

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January 9th, 2016

Pandoro – A Picture Story

Pandoro

The quite days between christmas and new years eve I like to spent with baking time consuming “cake”-breads. My favourite one is the golden Pandoro, who is a laborious with its preferments, but every time I’m so excited how high it rise and what flavour it develops.

This year I baked once again my pure Sourdough variant, which gains it strangth and complex aroma through the sweet starter. It needs more then 24 hours until it is done, but when the tender crumbs nearly melts in my mouth I always think: This feels like eating a cloud.

When I was baking the pandoro this year there was a question about the sweet starter: Does it really rise during fermentation? I looked at my starter who had trippled its volume in 2 hours and decided to snap a photo to show how it should look. And as I was taking photos I decided to follow the whole fermenting and proofing process with the camera. When the pandoro was baked and sat in the kitchen to cool, I checked the pictures on the computer and was very happy with my result. The pictures showed so well how the preferment dobuled, nearly trippled and how the Pandoro gained a nearly the a four times bigger volume during proofing and baking.

 

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