When autumn brings the first ripe apples I have to bake apple cake. The best apple for apple cakes is (and will always be) “Jakob Lebel”, a heritage apple with great flavour. My parents grow “Jakob Lebel” in their garden and so I can bake apple cakes with my favourite apple! This year was bad year for apples and so there will be not as much apples as in the last years. And so I have to enjoy and celebrate every apple I get!In Günthers book I found a recipe for apple cake with a sour cream and quark filling which sounded perfectly for me. And so I calculated the recipe down to a standard size spring form (26 cm diameter).
The dough is a yeasted short crust, a kind of crust I learned to love because it is easy in handling. It is made by mixing a yeast dough (for example with some challah dough or some sweet starter) and a short crust pastry. It is a very good crust – not only in handling but although in taste. The filling of apple slices and quark tastes delicious, too. As a little improvement I would blanch the apples the next time I bake this cake to make them really soft but this is only due to my personal preference. The cake is really great and I’m sure that I did not make him the last time!
There are traditions I would never break with, like baking a nut braid for my colleagues for my birthday coffee break. Everyone loves this braid, its tender crumb with the generous amout of filling. And the filling helps to keep the braid fresh for a long time, too.
This year, anyway, I had to face a problem. A new colleague is allergic against hazel- and walnuts and is lactose intolerant, too. Luckily she can eat almonds and so I decided to bake a new kind of braid filled with caramelized almonds, tonka bean and a little bit of amaretto. The dough is made with lactose free margarine instead of butter but if you don’t have to cook laktose free I would suggest using butter for a even finer aroma.
Like the nut braid this braid is perfect for being taken to work because it tastes best the day after baking when all the different nuances of the spices melt together. The filling keeps the braid soft and fresh. But how much longer it could be kept I cannot tell you because 2 kg of almond braid where eaten from 16 persons in shortest time. Not a crumb was left!
We spent our summer holidays this year near Plön. The landscape is very beautiful there and we enjoyed it so. And we fell in love with the small farmers market in Plön. We bought regional cheese from Ulrikes cheese monger with the great assortment of cheese and fresh fruits and vegetables from an organic farm nearby and we fell in love with the fresh fig pecorino ravioli sold from a small pasta manufactory. They had other great combinations as well (zucchini-sesame or porcino) but the combination of fig and pecorino was gorgeous! We bought them at every market day (twice a week) and even stopped for them on our way back home.
Home again we decided to create a recipe similar to them. Our variation is not a perfect copycat but has its own character. But the ravioli taste divinely, the sweetness of the figs is balanced by the hearty pecorino and both are enclosed by the creaminess of the mascarpone. To let their taste stand out, we served them only with some brown butter and grated pecorino and with a bowl of salad as side. That’s enough for a good meal!
From our kitchen window we could see how our neighbour, the vintner, put the first flasks with young wine (in Germany called Federweißer) in the display. And because we were waiting for the first bottle of Federweißer already, my dearest one directly went to buy some flasks. He came back with to happily fermenting flasks but not before he and our neighour savoured a glass of it together.
And because we enjoyed the Federweißer bread I baked last year so much, I started directly a poolish with rye flour. The idea of using rye instead of wheat flour I got from Dietmar
Vanessa asked for beginner frindly recipes and so reminded me that it s about time to post such another beginner recipe . And so I started to create a recipe which can baked without a lot equipment. And that I could use up the potato flakes which I had in the cupboard since christmas is a bonus point!
Potato flakes are great for beginner breads because they can bind a lot of water so the bread will be moist without struggling with sticky dough. You can either order them online or use organic instant mashed potatoes which contains mainly potato flakes plus salt and some spices (I used the one from Alnatura).
For some extra flavour I added a Pâte Fermentée and a stale bread soaker made from toasted stale bread. This adds a lot of roasting flavour to the bread.
When August changes into September it marks the beginning of autumn for me.
Now I start to search for my scarfs for the already cool, misty mornings and in the evening I will lit the first candles when the light goes down. Saying goodbye to the summer is not so hard for me, especially when between the cool morning and early evening lies a sunny, golden day. And when I can spent the light filled afternoon with a cup of hot tea together with a pieces of streusel cake filled with the autumn flavours of plum sauce and hazelnuts, then I will welcome autumn light-hearted!
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”.