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!
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!
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!
Sometimes, we have some crazy ideas! And when a friend and I tested different Macaron recipes last march we got such a crazy idea: baking macarons as give away for her wedding. We just found the perfect recipe (from the faboulous Pierre Hermé) and already had an idea how the Macarons should look like. And the filling should be flavoured with rosewater to fit to the rose bud on top the macaron.
In the next month, we test baked several rounds. The shells worked perfectly with the first try, adding rose buds on top of a shell prior to baking works like a charm. But the filling caused more problems.
Last November a reader asked for a recipe of a moist spelt bread with high whole grain portion and different seeds. I had an idea for the bread very quickly: With a whole rye sourdough, many pumpkin seeds, some flax seeds and sesame and a good portion whole spelt flour – partly in a water roux for more moisture. But then the pysllium husk discovery happend and I changed my plan fastly. Instead of a water roux I decided to use the pysllium hulls to increase water binding. And I added some butter which makes the crumb nicely soft and helps to keep it fresh.
The result is a moist and aromatic bread. The crumb is full of pumpkin seeds and a thick crunchy crust. A bread with potential for a a favourite!
There is one slot free again in the sold out baking course “Zeit zum Brotbacken” at the 8. and 9. April 2017. If you want to bake with us, you should book here
It’s been some month ago when a reader suggested to build a “help” page where I could bundle and answer the most frequent questions. That was a great idea and I can use this page as roadmap to one ore the other informative post I wrote in the past eight years. Many of these are hiding between all the recipes.
I hope, you will find this page helpful and that you find the answers for your questions. And if not, this will be a good place to asked general questions