When sorting my flour storage boxes I stumble upon a left over bag full of vacation memories. Or, to be more precisely, a half full bag of Ruchmehl. Ruchmehl is a Swiss flour similar to first clear flour. The amount of flour was just perfect for baking some rolls. And so I put together a preferment later that day. The next day I prepared the dough but time was lesser than planned, so I but it into the fridge instead of baking. Early the next morning I finally shape the rolls and baked them on high temperature.
The rolls were delicous: mild and at the same time complex with a crisp, thin crust.
Baking fritters is something very typical for this season. And while I have still not much love for celebrating carnival, I like to bake fritters once in a while. These apple fritters were inspired by some left over miniature apples, we used as decoaration for our christmas. After christmas I kept this cute little apples in my open kitchen shelf for because they were to beautiful to eat. But now the started to shrivel and so apple fritter were my new idea for them.
When baking apple fritters you can find two kinds of recipes in Germany: Some are baked with a yeasted dough only, while others use a additional layer of Pâte à Choux to keep the apple piceses fixed in the fritters. I opted for the second variant and choose my favourite Pâte à Choux recipe and a standard yeast dough. From there it was only a short way to a delicious afternoon treat…
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?
And sometimes a new recipe starts like this:
When filling the dried potato flour into a container I was left with a leftover that would not fit in. So what to do?
I opted for putting it in my dough bowl and started to build a recipe around it. As it was already late that evening, it was clear that I would do my favourite variant of rolls: Overnight rolls.
As I’m still testing coconut oil in baking, I used it here, too. But if you prefer butter, replacing the coconut oil with butter is possible, too!
Having a cold means for me today, that I had to stayed warmly tugged under a blanket on the sofa instead of baking bread in a wood fired oven. To avoid getting to grumpy about that fact I decided to look back on past baking adventures:
For Christmas eve I promised to bring some baguette. And as I felt adventurous I decided to try the Emmer Baguette I was thinking about since I baked the emmer ciabatta last autumn. The white emmer flour which I used lays somewhere between Type 812 and 1050. So it has still a good portion of bran. To enhance the gluten network I opted for enzyme active bean flour – just like I did for the spelt einkorn baguette. And it worked surprisingly well, leaving me with a dough which was easily shaped to a baguette. It hold it shape very well during proofing and had a gorgeous oven spring. The crumb was not as open as I wished for – I guess it is due to the weaker gluten network of emmer compared to wheat or spelt. But the flavour makes us forget about this very fast, as it is at the same time creamy and nutty. So they are a delicious addition to the baguette family on the blog.
It is already middle of January, but I still have two Recipes from christmas waiting. The first one is the recipe for a spelt panettone. Baking panettone or pandoro on the 23. December is already a kind of tradtion here at “Hefe und mehr”. In the weeks before, I take intensivly care of my sweet starter to make it especially fit for the task.
As baking Panettone is already nearly a no brainer. And so I was looking for a new challange. Switching from wheat to spelt is definitly more challenging, as kneading the sensitive spelt to full gluten development needs experience. And it is a good idea to check which sort of spelt you use. Different spelt sorts behave differently as their gluten composition differs. For Example if you use Oberkulmer Rotkorn you need to shorten the kneading time compare to Franckenkorn, which I used here. But with these in mind, baking panettone with spelt works very well. Just keep a close eye on the gluten development.
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.