Sometimes I have “phases” in which I concentrate on a special topic while baking. At the moment it is whole grain. Maybe the very cold or dark winter is the reason why I am craving for grains, I do not know. But it is as it is and so I played a bit with the recipe I posted two weeks ago. The result is a beginner friendly bread which needs not so much planning as works without preferment. To still archive a balanced flavour I opted for a mixture of buttermilk and a tiny bit of balsamico. The amount of balsamico has to be well balanced, as to much can cause a unwelcome stingy tartness. But carefully dosed it creates a flavour with reminders of sourdough taste.
For the rest, I keep the parameters: enough time for kneading and proofing, so the whole grain flour can soak up all liquid its need. And for a little change in the palate I switched wheat with emmer flour. But if you have no emmer flour at hand, it can be baked with spelt flour all along, too.
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 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.
A small part of a comment caught my attention: the word “Pottweck”. I asked for a description and got a very detailed explanation from Jürgen. Nicole added some other details and so I was straight on my way to the kitchen. They explained to me that the Pottweck is a regional speciality from the area lower rhine. Its name stems from the way it is baked: in a pot (= Pott in the dialect). And the pot gives the bread its typical mushroom shape, too, as the bread rise highly over the pot.
For the ingredients both were united at the buttermilk as liquid, while they differed at the used fat – it seems that either butter, butter plus some lard or only margarine can be used. I stayed with the butter for the beginning, but it is easy to swap part of it with lard or replace it completely with margarine. To increase flavour complexity and to enlarge shelf life I added a pâte fermentée to the formula as well as a little (untypical) addition of cream. And as my old black enamel pot is a bigger one, I knew from beginning that it had to be one big bread.
To watch the bread while baking was pure fun. It rose higher and higher. It was hard to let it cool and wait to for the photos before tasting the bread. But then we had the fresh bread for breakfast and where extremly happy with the slight sourness and complex flavour! A delicious treat on Saturday morning!
I like recipe tweaking – especially when this happens so spontaneously like here. Duríng a nice exchange about sweet starter the questions occurred how to add the starter in a existing and trusted everyday bread recipe. I offered help and Kekki posted her formula and the wishes for the new versions. The recipe sounded very good, made with Kefir or Buttermilk, 20% rye and 80% wheat. I exchanged the wheat sourdough with sweet starter and added a long, cold autolysis for the whole grain flour. And I baked the recipe directly, as it sounded so tempting. And I was not disappointed: The bread is very flavourful, with a hearty tangy note, good crust and soft crump. A true everyday bread!
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.
Oliver asked me on Saturday morning if I have a recipe for a “King Ludwig Bread”. I did not know a bread with this name, but after some minutes of googling I started to suspect that it is a readymade mixture for bakeries, as so many bakeries are selling it. Some minutes later I found the manufacture of the mix and the ingredients did not sound so well in my ears: “Spelt flour, ry flour, malt, dried rye sourdough, whole spelt flour, coarse meal spelt, gluten, salt, sweet whey powder, guar flour, wheat bran, grape concentrate, ascorbic acid, enzymes”.
The breads seems to have a soft crumb what speaks against a bigger amount of rye and the brownish crumb should be due to malt and not to a lot of whole grain flour. And slowly a recipe starts to appear in my brain.
Another Bread from “Wishlist” is the Westphalian Farmers loaf. It is made with buttermilk and lard. As breads with buttermilk easily catch my eye, I couldn’t resist this whish.
It is a rustic bread with a small amount of rye which is typical for Westphalia and especially for the Munsterland. In its traditional form it is made with lard, but it can be made with ghee instead as well. In my version, I used it a rye poolish, which helps to create a very good crust and a great flavour. For the form I saw them as a long, slashed loaf as well as a rustic round loaves which were baked seam side up. I like the rustic look for a farmers bread more and so I baked round loaves.
During baking the bread develops a nice crisp, reddish brown crust due to the rye poolish. The crumb is very soft and fluffy. Another bread for my favourite list!
The next recipe for beginners is a bread made with buttermilk and some rye flour. These ingredients make the bread hearty and if you proof the dough over night in the fridge, the flavour will be even more complex. But if you need a fast bread, it is possible to let the dough rise for one hour instead.
In contrast to the other breads we prepared in the little series, the dough will be a little bit sticky after kneading. This is due to pentosane in the rye flour and because of the higher water content. When kneading sticky dough I tend to leave the dough in the bowl and knead the dough by pulling the sides of the dough into the middle. One hand holds the bowl, the other do the folding. After 10 minutes the dough should come together nicely and can easily pulled away from the bottom of the bowl. Continue reading →