Celebrating my birthday always means for me baking a cake I like very much, too! And something I like very much are cakes baked with the heritage apple “Jakob Lebel” which grows in my parents garden. For me this is the ideal apple for baking cakes or making apple juice. And so I decided that my birthday cake will be apple torte. But I did not use the windfall apples but the last glasses of apple sauce, apple juice and apple slices I preserved last year, so I make room for new, too!
The torte consists of a thin cinnamon cream layer, topped with a apple slices in apple juice jelly (made with agar) and covered with an apple mousse. On top of the cake there are fanned apple slices and a little rose formed with apple slices, which looks beautiful. To prevent stress on my birthday I prepared most of the cake the night before, so I only had to do the rose and fanned apple the next morning. That worked very well and we had a beautiful day in my parents garden, where I took the pictures of the cake together with windfall apples, too.
On our way back home from the summer holidays we were greeted with a terrible thunderstorm as soon as we passed the border of North Rhine-Westphalia. We shortly whished to turn the car and drive back to the sunny Plön. But when we finally reached home I was happy to have my oven back. And it was like it would whisper: “Bake a bread!” And so I refreshed my sourdough and the next morning I looked through my baking cupboard to see what I could bake.
I found some Emmer, Rye and of course Wheat flour and so I decided to bake a three grain bread. To enhance the nutty flavour of the Emmer I made a paste from roasted sesame and poppy seeds. I did not add a big amount, only a little bit so it would not stand out but melt with the aroma of the grains.
A this makes a great bread, aromatic with a open crumb and a crisp crust. A perfect start into autumn.
A Butterkuchen in its simplicity is one of the most enchanting cakes for me. It is only made with some flour, milk, butter, sugar and yeast and allows each ingredients to shine. And when the fridge is still rather empty after coming home after our vacation trip, it is the perfect cake because it only needs so few ingredients. And after a short search in the cupboard I even found some almond splices which I sprinkled over the cake for the more luxury variant.
And because the sweet starter had to be fed after being trapped in the fridge for two weeks anyway I decided that I would bake the cake with sweet starter instead of yeast. To ensure that the starter is strong enough after sleeping in the fridge for so long I fed it once in the evening, put it in the fridge after 3 hours at 30°C and then fed it again the next morning. Due to the fact that a sweet starter will not let a dough rise as fast as with commercial yeast it takes from 8 o’clock in the morning until half past three in the afternoon until we could try the still warm cake.
It may not be the fastest method to bake this cake but you will be rewarded with a soft, fluffy cake packed with a lot of tender but complex flavour notes. And while the cake it technically baked with a sourdough, there is not even a hind if acidity. I love my sweet starter!
We always have small leftovers of bread in our kitchen. I collect them on a small tray which I place on a heater. I let the bread dry completely and when a bigger amount has accumulated I can grind them to bread crumbs. I start with sorting the bread: Bread with whole grain flour for dark bread crumbs and white bread for white bread crumbs. Then I grind the bread (e.g with a food prozessor) to fine crumbs. The white crumbs I use mainly for cooking and the dark crumbs will add flavour to a new bread.
I like it best when the crumbs are added to a preferment, like I did with this famers bread. This bread has a deep, complex flavour and is made with old bread perfermet plus a mild sourdough which I rise in to steps. Its rustic character is enhanced by grounded caraway seeds and rye flour. The Crust is dark and aromatic, and the crust is elastic and soft, perfect for a hearty “Brotzeit”.
I love breads with a soft crumb and a crisp crust. And there are two possibilities to archive a thick, crunchy crust: You can either bake the bread with falling heat or you use the trick of “double baking”. For double baking you let the bread cool down after the first round of baking and then put it back into the oven. This yields a very aromatic, crisp crust.
For this wheat and spelt bread I used both methods. First I baked the loaves with falling heat, then I let them cool down over night. The next morning I put them back into the oven for about 15 min. That created a bread with a perfectly crisp crust!
When I was small I already loved to eat “Krusti”, crusty rolls with a rustic shape. And nowadays I enjoy baking them even more because now I can sit in front of the oven and observe how the rolls partly unfold giving each roll a individual shape and creates a lot of crust.
Like I did with these breakfast rolls I added some egg yolk as natural lecithin source. The lecithin enhances the volume of the bread and helps to create a soft crumb without influencing the flavour. And a rather short proofing ensures that the rolls has enough power for a good oven spring. For the good flavour I used some pâte fermentée and a spoonfull sourdough and a little bit butter and malt makes the aroma well balanced. A perfect breakfast roll!
I own milk kefir grains since some months. In such a kefir grain you can find a lot of different lactic acid bacteria and yeast and making homemade kefir is even more easy then making yoghurt. You just have to put the grains into milk and leave them for about 1 day. It is a fresh, slightly sparkling refreshment – especially during summer – and is good for health, too.
Like always I ended at some point whisking to put this milk product into a bread dough. And so I bake delicious kefir buns this weekend. I made a no-knead version, it just involves mixing the dough and let it rise over night. The next morning I rolled the dough into a long band, rolled it up into a long log and cut it into pieces. That is way faster then rolling each part up alone.
I baked them seamside up and they crack open very nicely along the seam during baking. They have a rather soft crust and moist crumb similar to my favourite Yoghurt rolls. Some Emmer flour gives the rolls a nutty flavour and the kefir adds a certain freshness to the buns.
Nearly a year has passed since our visit in Alsace in our summer vacation. One of the souvenirs I brought home after two splendid weeks in france was a clay baking form for Kougelhopf. It is sitting on my kitchen cabinet since then, waiting for me to create a recipe for Kugelhopf.
This weekend I finally found the time to study different Kougelhopf recipes. But I did not like them, all of them use a lot of yeast and give the dough no time to rest properly to develop a good flavour. And I wanted a recipe which uses a preferment for better taste and longer shelf life! And so I decided to use my own interpreation with a sweet starter which helps to rise the buttery dough without using a lot of yeast.
The cake is more time consuming then other recipes you may find in the web, but it develops a fine complex flavour and light and feathery crumb. I imaging that even my alsacian great-grandmother would have enjoyed it!
My Dearest like the crusty rolls from the bakery which have a very soft and fluffy crumb. Such a crumb can not be archived without the use of at least some lecithin in the dough. But I do not want to use isolated lecithin and so I decided to use natural sources. Egg yolk and butter milk have both a high content of lecithin and the butter milk adds a good flavour as well.
The dough is made in the evening and rise overnight in the fridge. The next morning the rolls only has to be formed and baked. In about one and a half hour you have delicious warm rolls for breakfast!
It’s berry season! After we spent the last weeks with cooking red currant, raspberry and strawberry jam we turned our attention to the blueberries. Beside of cooking jam I set some aside to use them for a little weekend treat. Together with some quark I baked quark blueberry pastries.
For the dough I used my sweet starter which was just freshly feed. But like for this Sonntagszopf you can use Lievito madre or a biga instead. What ever you choose as a preferment, it will be delicious!