Some month ago the sister of my dearest and me agreed to bake a wedding cake for some friends of her. And so we spent a lot of time on pinterest, collecting ideas and inspiration.
Slowly a plan for the decoration emerged and finally we had a plan for the cakes as well: Punch torte, Nussnougat-Quark-Cake and Sacher Torte would be the perfect cakes. We baked some tiny test cakes for the bride and the groom, they tried them and liked them, too. Especially the punch torte was a favourite. And as we changed this recipe quite a lot it deserved its own recipe.
There are big changes in the job lying ahead of me and so we decided to take a short vacation to refill our energy. But to find a free vacation home in the middle of the summer was a bit troublesome. But finally we found a beautiful one at the border of the “Alte Land”. The Alte Land is one of the most prominent growing area for fruits in Germany, especially for apples and cherries. A dream place for a food blogger! Beginning of August we were just in time for the very last cherries and first Damsons and Mirabelle plums. And as the vacation home kitchen was well equipped with an oven baking cake was a must. A damson cake for my love and a cherry streusel cake for me, baked in two small ceramic dishes. But the cake will work well in a “normal” spring form, too.
The dough is my “normal” dough for plum cake, a mixture of yeast dough and short crust. It is a fluffy dough that stays fresh for a long time and which keeps the fruit juice in the dough very well. A perfect cake for lazy summer days!
I love “Hörnchen” the halfmoon shaped pastry made of sweet challah or brioche dough since my childhood. And since I made the delicious Kifle I catched the “Hörnchen” fever once again. And so it was out of question what the third recipe for my vegan “one for all” sweet spelt dough had to be. They can be baked with reduced or no sugar, too. Then they are great with hearty spreads as well.
To achieve the form of this soft, fluffy breakfast pastry it is important to roll the dough out into a long and very thin oval and then roll it up again with some tension. To prevent them from touching each other while baking I worked the dough in two batches.
For a shiny brown crust I used a glaze made from roasted starch and water and applied before and after baking. The shine of this glaze is nearly as strong as the traditional egg glaze. Optional sprinkled with poppy seeds, this “Hörnchen” are the perfect breakfast treat fitting not only for those with dietary restrictions!
Since several weeks I have two packages of Emmer and Einkorn sitting in my pantry, waiting for me to create a recipe with them. But I was always to short in time as I had to do a lot of recipe testing for the upcoming bread baking courses and for a magazine article. And so they where pushed deeper and deeper into the depth of the shelf. Sorting my baking supplies brought them back to my mind, as well as a package of dark roasted malt. And so I decided to combine Emmer and malt in one bread.
As I did not want to use a hot soaker or water roux, I decided to use a hydration of about 70% and a long period of stretch and fold in combination of a cold fermentation. With the stretch and fold the dough gains enough strength and the long fermentation give the flour enough time to soak up the moisture. But nevertheless is this a dough on the rather soft side and so it is needed to flour the proofing basket very well!
Due to the dark malt, the bread develops are dark crust and crumb with a malty flavour followed by nutty notes of the Emmer. The sweet Starter which is the only leavening agent develops a deep complexity without any acidity. This is a bread which I love!
Since last year I’m totally in love with cooking jams without gelling sugar. I love the old fashioned flavour and that I have all ingredients I need (which are sugar and lemon juice) always at hand. No need for extra shopping… And so I change slowly all of our favourite jam recipes.
The four favourite jams here are Blueberry, Red Currant and raspberry, Blackberry und plum butter. Apricot jam is raking not so high but having some glasses around is essential for baking cakes. And so I did not hesitate when there where beautiful apricots on sale last week. As apricots – like blackberries – contain a middle amount of pectin, I choose carefully some not so ripe fruits, to go along with the ripe ones. The reason behind is that unripe fruits have a higher content of pectin. Adding some lemon juice helps with the gelling process as well.
After half an hour of simmering, the jam has a deep apricot flavour which is one million times better then everything you can buy. Even my love was nodding his head approvingly when I was urging him to test. So this jam has the potential to rise high in our favourite list!
I get the question for a sweet yeast dough without egg, milk or wheat regularly. Depending on the dietary restrictions I sent the readers to this, this or that recipe. A dough “without everything” was missing until now. And so I promised to fill this gap.
The recipe I designed is a aromatic vegan spelt dough. Similar to my favourite braid I used here a mixture of firm and liquid fat: vegan margarine and oil. And while in a butter braid the butter flavour is very prominent, in this recipe a oil made of roasted walnuts takes over this role.
The dough recipe is a basic recipe which can be used in many different recipes. I used it to bake this braid, vegan spelt Hörnchen and nut pastry. The other recipes will follow in the next weeks.
Some days ago I had to sent some sourdough per mail. That is easy when the sourdough is mixed with a lot of flour to form dry crumbs – the German name for this is “Krümmelsauer” while it is called “Gerstl” in Austria. The crumbs should be as dry and fine as possible. This reduce the amount of water and put the microorganisms to hibernation. In this state there is nearly no fermentation going on.
Reactivation is easy as well. Mixing the “Krümmelsauer” with water and waiting until the first bubbles are showing. And as I realised that I never showed this kind of sourdough conservation on the blog, I made a double batch. One halve I sent to Berlin, the other one I kept for three days on the counter to simulate the enviroment during mailing. Then I mixed the sourdough crumbles with water and as my sourdough is quite active I saw the first bubbles after one hours already. I let the mixture ferment for another five hours, then I used it to start a sourdough. And this sourdough doubled its volume easily overnight.
This Sandwich bread is a readers wish. But I needed two rounds, until I was really satisfied. In the first Variant I had a boiled soaker with whole spelt flour and seeds, but this added to much liquid to the dough. This resulted in a very instable crumb. The recipe needed adjustments!
The bread (in both tries) is a pure spelt flour with 30 percent whole grain flour and amixture of flax seeds, sesame and sun flower seeds for an extra nuttiness. The preferment is a biga made from whole spelt flour. This has many advantages: the whole grain flour has enough time to soak up the liquid, a biga helps to strength the gluten network and it adds complex flavour nuances, too. As every sandwich bread this bread needs a fully developed gluten network, and spelt is a sensible. So it is needed to keep a close eye on the dough to find the perfect spot.
At the rerun of the recipe I used a bit mashed potato for fluffiness and a soaker with an only moderate amount of water. This makes the dough recognizable firmer, the dough is easier to handle and the fluffy crumb gets enough stability. So what was my lecture of this day? Sometimes less (water) is more!
In the last months I baked a lot and tweaked recipes a lot without showing anything on the blog. And there is a reason for that:
Some time ago Eva made “Rutite” (Fruit bars) for her little nice. The recipe sounded very simple and the needed dried fruits where all in my kitchen cupboards. After an intense search in the depth of my baking cabinet I even found the unloved round wafer paper which sleeps there unappreciated for several years.
As my mixer is really strong, I throw in all ingredients in whole, even the nuts. And after some minutes of mixing and scrapping down the mixture every now and then, the nuts started to release some oil and mixtrue turned into a dough with a similar consistence like marzipan. The rest was easily done: rolling out, cuting circles with an cookie cutter and placing them between wafer paper. And so I could test my Fruit bars soon. It is very delicious – even with wafer paper!