After a mainly cold and rainy summer, the weather turned for some days just when school started. But this was just the last glimpse of summer we got. With the beginning of September it changed again and since then we have typical autumn weather – cold, sometimes rain, sometimes sun. When I drive to work I can see the valley filled with mist– it looks like little clouds snuggling into their beds before sun is waking them for the day. For me autumn is always the season to bake nut breads. And so I bake not only the dark spelt, nut & fruit in the wood fired oven last week, but as well a light spelt bread with hazelnuts and walnuts.
A deep flavour is archived by the combination of a spelt sourdough, a rye sourdough and a sweet starter. And due to the three lively sourdough adding yeast is theoretically not necessary. But as the community oven is not waiting for anyone I used a tiny bit of commercial yeast to keep fermentation well controlled and well fitted in the time schedule. And so et the end everything worked as planned: The oven spring was strong, the crust turned out crunchy and the crumb was fluffy. A perfect day for calm autumn days.
As soon as the temperature drops I start longing for hearty whole grain breads. Blackbread would satisfy all my cravings but I have troubles with the amount of rye. It can cause me stomach ache and so I thought about another alternative. For the monthly bread baking day in the wood fired oven I came up with two nutty spelt breads. One was made with white flour (Recipe will follow), the other is made with cracked spelt and mixture of walnuts, hazelnuts and cranberries. As the cracked spelt is soaked overnight, it helps to keep the bread perfectly moist. For the right flavour I used molasses and some spelt sourdough which balanced each other perfectly. Kneading is done in intervals to protect the fragile gluten of spelt and einkorn. This works like a charm and at the end I had a soft but good to handle dough. Continue reading
I baked this bread in the last weeks already several times. One time with raisins, one time with dried apricots and walnuts, once just plain. And always when I start to bake a bread repeatedly it is a clear sign that I have a new favourite.
I like the good balance of the hint of buttermilk sourness and the subtle sweetness of this bread. And if you add raisins or other dried fruits the bread moves a bit more onto the sweet side but is still well balanced. Freshly baked it is one of the breads I eat with just a dab of butter. Is there anything in the world that tastes better then a freshly baked sweet bread with fluffy crumb?
I baked the bread in my new tiny 500g loaf pans. These pans are brand new in my baking pan collection and I already realized that they are perfect for baking such sweet breads or whole grain breads. And it is perfect if you need some small loaves to share with family and friends!
I posted our family favourite cake already some years ago here in the blog. When we have to choose between torte and goldknödel on a birthday celebration, all of us will take a piece of the goldknödel. It is THIS kind of favourite of extended family!
The cake stems from the Transylvanian and Hungarian part of family heritage and is all by it self a rather simple pastry. It is made from a sweet yeast dough which is formed into small balls and coated with warm butter and a mixture of grounded nuts and sugar. While baking in a kugelhopf pan the sugar caramelize and adds another delicious flavour to the aroma of nuts and butter.
A Kugelhopf pan is mandatory for this cake. Wen the Teflon coat of my – rather cheep – pan started to fall apart after ten years of using I decided that I need something longer lasting. And so I bought an ancient brass kugelhopf pan. It has very good baking qualities, is rather everlasting and looks beautiful on my kitchen wall when not in use.
I was making dessert in my summer warm kitchen and when whipping cream the cream turned nearly instantly to butter. Luckily it was still unsweetened and so I took the butter clumps out to wash them and use them as delicious homemade butter. The buttermilk was at this point not fermented, so I decided to inoculate it with some creme fraice from the fridge, thinking: if you can use buttermilk to inoculated cream for creme fraiche it will work the other way round, too. And it did! After 24 hours the buttermilk was thick and tasted sour.
But what should I do with this tiny amount? Making bread with buttermilk is always great and so I decided to put it into the dough I was kneading for the bread baking in the wood fired oven in the local museum.
One of the participants of my baking course asked for a recipe for Simit and brought a glass full of Pekmez (Grape molasse) for me, too. And that was all that was needed to get my brain working on this sesame rings.
Some weeks later, when I took a sheet full of Simit from the oven I had a sudden flashback into my childhood. About 20 years ago I regularly took the bus to go to the next town to visit the library. After spending joyful hours between the silent rows of books full of mysteries and stories I carried a armful of books home. And before I would hop into the bus I would make a short stop in the little turkish greengrocery shop located next to the library. There I would buy two simits for 1 DM (this was long before we got the €) and eat them with my nose already in the first book.
The flavour of my fresh baked Simit brought back all this happy memories of summer holidays and dream worlds. But even without this memories the flavour of this sesame rings is great. Sweet and hearty is well balanced here as they are dipped into Pekmez solution before they are turned into sesame. And the preferment (in this variant sweet starter) helps to develop a complex flavour. I’m very much in love with them right now and bake them already several times – something that happen seldom here!
Sometimes it can happen even in a bread loving household: no bread! This happened to me some weeks ago when we had to defrost our freezer and so started to eat our way through all frozen goods. And then – in the middle of my working week – all bread was eaten and only to lonely rolls where left in the freezer. Enough to ensure our breakfast the next morning – but for the rest of the week we needed bread. And so I checked the flour stocks, took out some sweet starter and sourdough from the fridge and kneaded a dough before I went to sleep. The dough rested in the fridge meanwhile.
There are so many different variants of black bread in Germany that I always feel sorry that my stomach can not cope to much of it. So I can bake one just once in a while and to bake me through all the regional variants will take some time. One really fascinating black bread recipe is the “Klever Schwarzbrot”. It uses buttermilk instead of sourdough. This adds enough acid to make the rye bake-able.
The bread has fine lactic flavour in combination with the sweetness of the molasses makes this bread special. And to add some complex flavour notes I added for my recipe a preferment with rye meal, buttermilk and tiny bit of yeast. The preferment adds not only aroma but helps the meal to soak up enough liquid which makes the bread more moist. The same is true for the soaker: the roasted bread crumbs add flavour and the nuts and coarse meal can soak up the liquid. And while this two additional steps makes the recipe more complicated then the “fast” variant with a lot of yeast but it makes it so flavourful that it is worth work. Continue reading
I fine tuned this recipe for quite a while. It started back last summer and I need about a year until I was nearly satisfied with the croissants. The crumb could still be more open but that is only a question of practise. Theoretically you could use more butter for the tourage (300-500g) but for me the croissants are then way to fatty. And so I keep practising and share the recipe meanwhile with you so you can start practising as well 🙂