For new years morning I baked my traditional New years pretzel, Westerwälder Neujährchen and Rheinische Neujährchen. The swirly form of the Rheinische Neujährchen may looks familiar to some of you. It is one of the forms that is used traditional for Lussekatter. And in Tyrol there is a Bread called “Thomasradl” which is baked during Christmas time in this form. The wide spread of this form is a hint that baking breads in this forms stems from a pre-Christian time. It is discussed that its a leftover of the midwinter fest and is a symbol for the sun.
I like the idea of sun very much as I am waiting each year in January to the days get visibly longer again.
I love to bake bread for Christmas. And nearly every Christmas I included one loaf with nuts, as nuts are an essential treat on Christmas for me. So, the 2018 Edition of Christmas Bread is made with walnuts, spelt and emmer. It has a crisp crust and soft and fluffy crumb, perfect to go along any Christmas delicious.
The preferments are inspired by a look in the fridge: a bit of left over Pâte Fermentée and a Sweet starter that needed a feeding. They add complex aroma notes to the dough which is nicely underlined by the flavour of buttermilk and nutty tone from the Spelt and Emmer.
And with this recipe, my dear reader, I start my christmas break here in the blog. For new years eve I will be back for the traditional “Best of 2018” post. I whish you merry and peaceful Christmas Days!
Most of the time I think that breads with the tag “vegan” are silly. The standard variant of bread means “flour, water and salt” and this is after all so pure and simple vegan that there should be no questions left. But with sweet breads this is a different story. I always try to avoid highly processed replacements like margarine. And so I was fascinated when I read in a description of a organic baker that he uses coconut oil for vegan baking.
Using this fat makes sense as it contains naturally a high amount of saturated fat and so is solid at room temperature. I just wondered if the the slight coconut flavour of the oil would shine trough in the baked good. And to verify this question there was just one option: Baking a bread with coconut oil.
During the baking course last weekend one of the participants wished a recipe for a bread which can be baked without much equipment in a caravan. Choosing grains which has to be kneaded only a short time came to our mind directly. And so I suggest a bread with a mixture of emmer and spelt flour in combination with some flax seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts for an additional flavour boost. This combination makes it although a nourishing snack for long trips. And baking the bread in a bread pan gives it the right form to fit in every bread box.
And as it is the World bread day today, I will send this little fellow on a virtual travel around the world with all the breads that Zorra will collect as each year on her blog!
There is one advantage of recipes which are troublesome in the development: the other good recipes you find on the way. A recipe which development was extremly troublesome is the spelt & emmer sandwich bread I needed for my “Vergessene Getreideschätze” course. It took me over a year until I got the bread just as I wanted it to be. But as I was testing different methodes and the influence of ingredients, I got a lot of good recipes during this tests: Sandwich bread with Emmer, Spelt-Sandwich bread, Spelt-Emmer-Sandwich bread und spelt brioche. And this whole grain Spelt & Emmer Burger Buns are from this series, too.
I could call this bread a simple “leftover bread”. But this would be to simple as the bread is a really delicious one. But to be honest, it contains a lot of leftover flours. There is the package of einkorn flour I found behind my flour box. And the bag with the little bit of spelt flour and another bag with some leftover rye flour. And as these three did not yield enough flour for a bread, I added some wheat flour, too.
As I planned to bake the bread in the wood fired oven in our regional history museum, I had to plan accordingly. For an relaxed baking day, I prefer to knead the dough friday night and let it rise over night in the fridge. But this normally means that I have to prepare the preferment in the morning before I leave for work. But – with school years end so near – I knew I would be to tired that morning for mixing a preferment at 5:30 am. As workaround I decided to let the poolish ferment in the fridge as well. It needs about 24 hours then, but with a bit of planing ahead, it minimize the time I had to spent each day with preapring the bread.
Sometime it is good to have a delicious recipe at hand, which works well for those, who are not eating milk, eggs or wheat. For me, it is important that these recipes do not taste like “replacements” but are delicious stand-alone recipes.
The Spelt Potato Braid is one of this recipes. The dough is made without milk or eggs and if you replace the egg for glacing with the optional shiny glazing mix the recipe is vegan. The potato keeps the dough moist and tender, and a good portion of almond butter supplies the dough with an extra portion of fat and adds flavour. The almond flavour can be further enhanced when some grounded tonka bean is added to the dough, too.
And so, the braid is delicious and full of flavour: a braid with tendency to be a new favourite!
Inspiration is a strange thing. In case of this whole grain bagel it came to me in form of an advertisement “to-go products” at the side of an supermarket. “Bagels” I told my beloved one while musings “are a good idea”. Back home I stumbled across a back of whole spelt flour and the different ideas melted together to one recipe.
As I baked them not in my own kitchen, I simplified the recipe as much as possible: hand kneaded dough and a long resting period in the fridge make sure, that they can be baked with no fancy equipment or preferment at hand.A spoonful sourdough can help to further improve flavour, but it is not mandatory. As the whole grain flour needs more water then white flour, the recipe has a higher hydration then the normal bagel recipe. Together with the overnight fermentation in the fridge this ensures that the bran can soak up all water needed. This helps to keep the crumb chewy and to enhance the bagel shelf life. But anyway – after two days all of the bagels were already eaten as they tasted so good…
For a family BBQ I had opted for bringing bread (anyone surprised by this?). And as I had some left over Einkorn flour from the Ein-Korn-Rolls I baked last week, my plan was made fast: Spelt Baguette with a good amount of whole Einkorn flour.
As Einkorn has the tendency to destablize the gluten network, I decided to use some enzyme active bean flour. The enzymes of this flour start oxidative processes in the dough, which leads to a better links between gluten proteins and thus to a stronger gluten network. If you need alternatives for bean flour please take a look at this post.
To watch the oven spring was mere “oven tv” for me. I sat happily before the oven and watched its oven spring. It was such a beautiful ovenspring, that it was very hard to to wait until the breads cooled before I sliced them. But then I was very happy: the crumb is for baguette with such a weak gluten network and one third whole grain flour surprisingly open. And the flavour is complex with its deep nutty undertones from the einkorn flour.
These Crescents are a spontaneous recipe. I planed to bake some kind of rolls and so I prepared more sourdough than I needed for the Sprouted Spelt Bread the night before. But what to bake – I had no clue then.
Most of the time, I sit down and write down the draft of a recipe before I head to the kitchen. This makes not only baking more easy but helps me to finetune the recipe for publishing, too. The decisions for this rolls, anyway, where made in the kitchen by following my instincts. While proofing, I type down the recipe as fast as I could to prevent me forgetting some detail. And I’m glad I did so as I love the new rolls very much.