Before Easter we had some young visitors. And as I doubted that a hearty whole grain bread would be their most favourite bread I baked a soft sandwich bread instead. But – and aunts can be a little mean – I still added 30 % whole grain flour to make the bread hearty and healthy enough for me to enjoy.
This bread is another step towards the whole grain spelt and emmer sandwich bread I work on already for some month. As the combination of emmer and whole grain tends to destabilize the gluten network I added everything to strengthen it: Egg as lecithin source, rose hip powered as vitamin c source and some physillium hulls to bind more water.
And the bread turned out just like a sandwich bread should be: fluffy with shreddable crumb and a crust that was crisp fresh from the oven but turns softer while cooling. And our seven and five year old guests enjoyed the bread very much. It vanished so quickly that my love complained that he got nearly nothing of this fluffy bread. But, as the first grader happily explained, this is because the bread is perfect to be eaten with tooth gaps. And then she took the last slice…
The most exiting part of my “Time for Bread” baking courses is the part when the participants and I develop together a new bread formula. It is so exiting because we bake it together, too and the result is as new for me as for my participants. And the breads in each course vary from each other. This time there was a bread with a heritage grain, nuts and fruits. To give the emmer whole grain flour enough time to soak we put it completely in the poolish. The nuts and fruit mixture soaks overnight as well so they do not withdraw the water from the dough.
I liked the resulting bread very much. The Emmer has a nutty flavour which underlines very nicely the aroma of the walnuts. Raisins and apricots add a fruit sweetness which is still subtle and goes well together with goat cheese.
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 like relaxed baking on weekend mornings. And so I often knead a dough in the evening and put it in the fridge to ferment over night while I dream sweetly. The next morning all I have to do is forming rolls, letting them rise a bit and placing them in the oven.
Following this principles I created the recipe for the Three Grainy Rolls during Christmas holidays. They are easy to make and so perfect for lazy holiday mornings. The dough contains three different grains: spelt, emmer and rye. This adds a deepness to the flavour which is enhanced by the cold fermentation in the fridge. Adding a bit of sourdough is optional, the recipe works well with out but with sourdough is flavour is even more enhanced.
Due to the butter in the dough the rolls have a fluffy crump which is perfect for breakfast. I love them most with a good amount honey!
I struggeled a lot with Emmer or Einkorn Whole Grain Sandwich breads this year. The problem was always the weak gluten network of the ancient grain in combination with the bran in the whole grain bread which destabilized the gluten network even more. And so the crumb never satisfied my high standards.
Adding Spelt flour to the mixture did not do the trick and so I still try to create the perfect recipe. And will continue in the next year. To relax meanwhile I decided to bake a sandwich with white wheat flour and 30 % whole emmer flour.
I call this Bread Emmerich. The name says it all: Emmer rich. And so is the bread: 50% freshly milled whole emmer flour in combination with spelt flour makes this bread so delicious. The name “Emmerich” has a second meaning, too. It is the name of a city in north Rhine Westphalia. And I often thought that this city needs its own Emmer bread when I read its name.
After the last rye breads I needed a mild bread for my stomach and so I choose as spelt variant of the Sweet Starter as preferment. The forgotten bag with emmer I found in the storage seemed perfect for me. And the bread turned out as delicious as I hope it would. It taste especially good in combination with honey or with a mild goat cheese.
Since several weeks I have two packages of Emmer and Einkorn sitting in my pantry, waiting for me to create a recipe with them. But I was always to short in time as I had to do a lot of recipe testing for the upcoming bread baking courses and for a magazine article. And so they where pushed deeper and deeper into the depth of the shelf. Sorting my baking supplies brought them back to my mind, as well as a package of dark roasted malt. And so I decided to combine Emmer and malt in one bread.
As I did not want to use a hot soaker or water roux, I decided to use a hydration of about 70% and a long period of stretch and fold in combination of a cold fermentation. With the stretch and fold the dough gains enough strength and the long fermentation give the flour enough time to soak up the moisture. But nevertheless is this a dough on the rather soft side and so it is needed to flour the proofing basket very well!
Due to the dark malt, the bread develops are dark crust and crumb with a malty flavour followed by nutty notes of the Emmer. The sweet Starter which is the only leavening agent develops a deep complexity without any acidity. This is a bread which I love!
This is a leftover – recipe which I created while looking through my storage: I had a open bottle lingering in the kitchen after baking the Swan King Bread. The sweet starter needed urgently a feeding and in the pantry I found another box of steel cut oat, a souvenir from our last trip to the East Frisian coast.
I decided to soak the steel cut oat in hot water instead of boiling it so it keeps a certain bite. And the generous portion of roasted sesame together with oats and emmer gives the bread a very delicous nutty flavour, while the malt beer adds a subtle sweetness. The right bread for the first cold and rainy days in autumn.
In August we spent a weekend in the beautiful Swabia. A part of my family has its roots there and I always enjoy being there. Eating some pretzels is then a “Must” of course. When we stop at a bakerie in Schwäbisch Hall, I spotted a roll made with some Emmer and Quark (Curd). But sadly the last one was already sold when it was my turn. So I bought pretzels and Briegels instead. But the idea was fixed in my head. And soon afterwards I recipe began to form in my head.
As spelt is a typical grain for Swabia, I decided to use a mix of Emmer and Spelt, which adds a nice nutty flavour to the rolls. The Quark makes it moist and if I would not know, that I added 30 % whole grain flour, I would never have guessed it.
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.