March 22nd, 2014

How to dry and reactivate your sweet starter

Trockensicherung süßer Starter

Having a active sourdough like the sweet starter is a good thing. But there is always the risk of loosing. It could starve while you are on a longer vacation or because you have no time for bread baking. Or (worst case scenario) some mould could start to grow on your precious sourdough. And that’s when a backup can be handy.

When I grow my sweet starter in December, I decided to test two different methods for storing sourdough: Freezing and drying. And after three months I tested which method provides a faster success when I reactivating. I mixed both the frozen and the dried starter with fresh flour and water and left them on the counter. After 20 hours the dried starter was clearly back to life as I could judge from the increase of volume. A feeding with flour and water showed that it could already triple its volume after 4 hours on 30°C, like it would before freezing.

The frozen starter was barely alive after the same time, only some tiny bubbles suggest that it was not completely dead. But that does not surprise me so much, because during the freezing process the water in the cells of the microorganisms starts to form crystals, which damage the cells. During drying on the other hand the cells form spores to survive  the unpleasant situation and spring back to life as soon as it comes in contact with water and flour.

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March 20th, 2014

Baguette rolls with sweet starter

Baguettebrötchen

A short glance in our pantry told me last Friday that it was really time for restocking flour. And so the rolls I was planning to bake the next morning was dictated by the flour I had still in stock. And the rolls turned out great! Great oven spring, open crumb, crisp crust and a great flavour, too. And so I decided to post the recipe despite the fact that there is already a bunch of baguette recipe here on the blog.

And I will send them to Zorras Bread Baking Day as well. This month it is hosted by Food for Angels and Devils and is dedicated to the ultimate Baguette recipe.

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March 18th, 2014

Flour

flourFlour is essential for baking bread. But if you start to compare international flours you will fast realize that the flour types in one country are not easily to translate into flour types of another country. There is no international standard to make flour comparable. And that’s why MayK asked me to make a picture of the flours I use and give a closer description because German Type numbers can be rather confusing.

In Germany, flour is classified by its ash content. For that the flour is burned in a 900°C hot oven, so only the unburnable part of the flour – the minerals – are left over. And then the ash is weighted. According to the DIN 10355 each Type of German flour has to contain a defined amount of minerals. For Type 550 this is rougly about 550mg Minerals in 100g flour (which can also be described as 0.55% ash content). Continue reading

March 15th, 2014

Pear Chocolate Tarteletts

Birnen-Schokoladen-Tarte 2A combination which is unbeatable for me is semisweet chocolate and pear. And when I have pears in the kitchen witch has to be used quickly because they are already very ripe, I tend to always to come back to this combination.

And when I was left with one and half pear after cooking the Apple Pear Jelly I started to knead a pastry dough without much thinking. While the dough rested in the fridge I cooked the pears and whipped up a chocolate filling. The filling is flavoured with a hint of cinnamon and tonka bean which adds some depth to the chocolate.

I baked the tarteletts in rings I bought in France last year, but a regular tarte form will do as well.

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March 9th, 2014

Country loaf

Landbrot(2)

Somedays ago I got a mail from a reader, asking me to help her to transform a recipe so she could proof the loaves in the fridge overnight. The main point to keep in mind when you plan to proof a bread in the fridge is that the amount of fresh yeast should be below 1%. The other ingredients can stay the same. And so the recipe was transformed quickly. But my creative juice were just flowing and so I sent her another variation which use a preferment as well. And I liked the recipe so much that I decided to bake it myself, too.

And the bread turned out very well, too: A good ovenspring and a mild aromatic taste due to preferment and the long, cold proof. I’m really happy that Alexandra asked for a recipe!

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March 8th, 2014

Sübrot

Sübrot (3)We spent our last summer holiday in the Alsace. And we enjoyed the beautiful landscape, the food and the niece people there very and much – and the bakeries,too! During our holidays I scribbled down a list with breads I had to bake when I’m back home.

Among the breads of this list was the Pain Pavé as well as this Sübrot. Sü comes from Sou which means a very small coin and Brot means bread so Sübrot can be translated to “Penny bread”. During wartimes it was a cheap bread that due to its form could be purchased in pieces as well. And even nowadays I was asked if I wanted the whole loaf or only a part of it when I bought it in a Boulangerie in Strasbourg.

Back home, when I decided to bake my own version, I decided to go to a slow rising dough, which fermented over night at roomtemperature. The next morning I divided the dough, shaped two squares and spread a thin layer of oil on top of one of them. The oil layer hast to be really thin to ensure that the bread do not unfold to quickly in the oven, so I removed a part of it again with a paper towel. And that worked very well, indeed. I was sit in front of the oven all the time, fascinated by the unfolding bread.

And the finished bread is a treat, too: Open crumb, crisp crust and a mild but complex taste!

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February 28th, 2014

Sandwich Bread with Sourdough and Sweet Starter

Sandwichbrot (1)

Sometimes I love a good sandwich bread. And then there are long phases it does not appeal me at all. But when I feel a hunger for sandwich bread I tend to bake it as soon as possible. That what happend last weekend.

And so when I saw the beautiful braided sandwhich bread with poppy seeds at Sara bakar I knew how the bread should look like. But I decided to use my own recipe with a combination of sourdough and sweet starter. This combination sounds strange in the beginning, but this combination results in a very mild bread with a slight yoghurt flavour. The sweet starter helps to let the bread rise in a relative short time as well!

The bread has a beautiful soft crumb and a nutty poppy seed crust and tasted so good that it vanished very fast!

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February 25th, 2014

Apple Pear Jelly with Vanilla quark

Apfel-Birnen-Grütze mit Vanillequark

Last weekend was the christening of my sweet little nephew. To help my sister I volunteered to prepare the desert and bake a cake. For 18 adults and 9 children I prepared two different desserts (at the end I made about 58 small Glasses with Dessert what was a little bit to much): a creamy chocolate custard and a apple pear jelly with vanilla quark.  I was inspired by a recipe I found at Lecker.de but because I do not like their recipe so much I changed it a lot.

I reduced the amount of sugar and cream and increased the amount of quark, and for the jelly I decided to cook the apple and pear pieces separately and seasoned them with a little bit of Tonka bean which underlines nicely the flavour.

It is a delicious recipe which can easily prepared the day before!

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February 23rd, 2014

Peach Passionfruit Torte

Pfirsich-Maracuja-Mousse-Törtchen

February is normally not the right time to bake little Peach Passionfruit Mousse Tortes. But when cleaning up my freezer, I found a bag with handpicked peaches which one of my dear colleagues gave to me last summer. And with three egg whites in the fridge and some passions fruits in the fruit basket I knew directly what I would do with the peaches: Bringing some summer sun into dark winter days!

The recipe follows my love for light mousse torte. A thin spong cake is topped with some peach jelly with small pieces of fruit, followed from a light mousse and the last layer made of passion fruit jelly. A delicious treat for grey winter days as well as for sun lit summer afternoons!

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