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 was asked more than once to publish a sourdough rye bread recipe for the “Bread baking for Beginners” post series. I hesitated as a rye bread is not so easy to handle as a wheat one and to know when a pure sourdough loaf is ready to bake needs some experience. But with the Rye bread without sourdough we had already the right starting point to step into the world of sticky rye dough – practising this bread before switching to sourdough is highly advisable.
To rise the bread with only sourdough in a reliable way, the sourdough has to be very active. If it is not so active or was in the fridge for a longer period, making a refreshment to activate the sourdough yeast the day before is a must. The rye sourdough is then build in two stages to archive a well balance flavour and a high activity. The two stages make use of the fact that lactobacteria and yeast differ in their temperature optima. The first, cooler and firmer stage is perfect for the growth of bacteria , which produce lactic acid and acetic acid. The warm and soft stage then favours the yeasts which are needed for a good oven spring.
The recipe, which I created for this post contains 60% of rye and 40% of wheat flour which makes the dough sticky but still good to handle. It is a classical german “Roggenmischbrot” (literally mixed rye bread), with a slight sour and hearty flavour. Different bread spices which are sprinkled into the bread form add a spicy note to its taste.
Some weeks ago a reader asked me if I had an idea for a spelt variant of the Buttermilk loaf from the beginners course. Of course I had an idea and so I send her a recipe draft. The flour used for this bread had a higher ash content – just as she asked for. A soaker made from flour and buttermilk prevents the bread from getting to dry.
It took a while until I bake the bread by myself. A inflammation of my wrist kept me from hand kneading dough for a while. But since my wrist is fine again, I finally managed to knead it by hand without pain. As I like the combination of spelt and walnuts, I decided to some, too. And I slightly increased the water amount in comparison to the recipe draft. The bread has a moist and fluffy crumb with a slight darker colour due to the higher ash content of the flour and due to the walnuts.
It is a mild tasting bread which pairs well with goat cheese or honey and as it made with a straight dough it is a good alternative for moments when you need a fresh loaf in a considerable short time.
In January a reader asked me about a recipe for dark bread with lots of rye, but without Sourdough. I needed time to think about a recipe, but finally a recipe began to form in my head. As rye needs acid for baking, I choose butter milk as liquid. The complex flavour is created by a rye poolish and a soaker made out of dried whole grain bread crumbs. The bread is in the style of a dark farmers bread with 70% rye. The buttermilk adds a noticeable but mild acidity like you would find in a mild sourdough bread.
To create the fine cracked pattern on the crust, the loaf are turned on the peel already 20 minutes prior baking and left uncovered. This results into a slight drying of the skin of the loaf and as is spread a bit during this time as well, it will create cracks on the surface. Adding steam after 30 seconds of baking will enhance the effect as well.
After all, it is a good bread with a moist, regular crumb and a thick, flavourful crust. And as it is made without sourdough it is although a nice start for bread baking beginners who want a easier start into rye breads.
I told you already here: I made an eBook out of the recipes of the Bread baking course (the book is in German). And as Christmas present for my readers it is can be downloaded for free at all online bookshops. Here is a list (not a complete one) where you can download it:
It is the seventh birthday candle I lit today for “Hefe und mehr” and I wonder how time is flying. Did I thought about how much the blog would be a part of my life? I don’t think so. But at this day was the start of a big adventure and things happend I never dreamed they would ever happen, like the advents calender or the book. I learnt a lot in this years, both in baking and taking pictures. And I met a lot of nice people due to the blog. I’m so happy that I clicked the publish button seven years ago.
To celebrate I would like to start another birthday blog event like I did in the last two year. This year I would like to collect recipes for bread baking beginners, fitting the new category I started this year. So here is my wish for this event:
Another wish for the Bread Baking Course was Baguette. And Baguette dough is a simple dough: You need just flour, water, yeast and salt.
But when it comes to forming and slashing, it gets way more complicated. Only one thing can help with this: Practice! For slashing you actually don’t have to even bake baguette, one can start practicing with paper and pen! As PIP onces wrote: “If you can draw them, you can slash them!” And so I made two practice sheets for you. One with reference lines and one without. You can print them and start practising right away. Try to draw the slashes on the “Paper baguette” in fluent movements without stopping while drawing a slash. Repeat this until you feel comfortable with drawing the slashes, then try it with the real one. And other ways then the traditional cuts are possible as well. In France I saw Baguettes slashed lengthwise as well!
The new Sourdough is ready to bake our first sourdough bread. As a freshly raised sourdough is still a little bit weak, it makes sense to do one (or even better two) sourdough feedings at warm temperature to rise some more yeasts. After this rounds of refreshing the sourdough starter is very active and can be used to prepare the sourdough for the bread.
As the bread is made with sourdough only, some patient is need while preparing the dough. Especially baking should be considered depending on the proofing status of the loaf and not on the clock. A good method to test if the bread is already ready for baking is pressing thumb carefully into the surface of the loaf. If the dent spring back directly, it still needs to proof for some time. If the dent is filling slowly, the bread can go in the oven, if a strong oven spring is desired. If the dent will stay it is really time to bake. The bread will have still some oven spring.
The oldest method to rise a bread is using sourdough. As soon as water is mixed with flour, yeasts and lacto bacteria which can be found in the flour starts to proliferate. Soon the first bubbles can be observed which is a sign of the microorganism activity. The microfauna starts to stabilize. In Spelt and Wheat sourdough the dominating species are the same, while in rye sourdough other bacteria species are predominant. The is the reason why rye sourdough is more sour than a wheat or spelt sourdough.