All the winter I did not make it to one of the bread baking days in our local history museum. It was due to different reasons: a lot of snow, a bad cold, our spontaneous weekend trip into the Ardennes…
But last weekend I finally was back and it was so good to meet all the nice people there once again. And as every time I was enchanted by all the little details around the wood fired oven and took many photos.
To honour the museum I call the bread I baked this time “Bergneustädter” as the Museum is seated at the historical centrum of the little town Bergneustadt. It is a bread made with white wheat and rye flour. To keep the bread moist for a long time I added a bit of potato flakes and a little bit of butter, too. The roasted malt enhances the subtle smoke notes of the wood fired oven. For rising the bread adding my hyperactive sourdough would be enough. But as a wood fired oven waits for no one I kept on the secure side and added a bit of yeast to make the proofing better controllable. So the bread needed 60 min to be ready for baking, which is fits perfect in the time schedule I have in the museum.
October means that its time again for World Bread Day. And as I baked bread in the wood fired community oven of our local history museum, I have a real “Backes Bread”. The Word “Backes” means community bread baking house in our dialect. And baking bread in such a “Backes” means sharing a great feeling of society. There are not so many other things that creates a sense of community then some loaves of bread made and shared with one another.
And so this bread is a bread meant for sharing. It is baked by placing two small loaves in one proofing basket. The ingredients of the bread is a bit inspired by leftovers: mashed potatoes, some quark and a bit of whole emmer flour. The Quark and Potatoes make the crumb moist while the emmer adds a deep nutty flavour.
The breads left the oven with a real dark crust – something that can happen by this more archaic way of baking. And it fits somehow very well with the bread, it adds a slight smoky flavour – and that goes extremely well with a bread from a wood fired oven.
Whenever I look at the recipe of the federweißer bread, I have to think about our old vintner. The old gentleman had his wine shop next door. And he would always tell us when the young wine (called Federweißer in Germany) arrived as he knew that my beloved one impatiently waits for the first bottle. As he turned eighty last year he decided to sell the shop and to enjoy his retirement. We wished him all the best – and were shocked when soon afterwards we got the news that he passed away. His heart just stopped beating the night after he sold his shop. Strange things happens sometimes… I still think about him now and then.
Already for some time I had the idea of a mild aromatic pure rye bread in my mind. But I need – as everyone knows – someone to share breads with high percentage. A big family get together for which I volunteered to bake all bread needed was the chance to bring my idea of this bread to life.
My wild sourdough was build in to stages to ensure both mild flavour and good strength to rise the loaf. But at the moment my sourdough is a bit to wild and the second stage doubled its volume after just one hour. That was to short to develop enough lactic acid and other flavour components. And so I placed the bowl at a cooler spot and let it ripe for another two hours until the flavour of the sourdough was right. But the amazing power of this sourdough was unbroken. After not even one hour(instead of the normal two) the loaf peaked over the rim of the proofing basket.
Sometimes it is just time to use leftovers. Like last friday, when I looked around in the kitchen: there was some leftover fine rye meal from the blackbread, a small bowl with mashed potatoes and in the fridge I found a lonely egg yolk. And so I combined everything and kneaded a dough for the next day. As I prefer freshly baked rolls for breakfast, the dough rose overnight in the fridge.
When we get up on Saturday I went straight to the kitchen and formed the rolls. And while we get ourselves ready, cooked coffee and lay out the table, the rolls proofed and got baked. And when we then had breakfast with the flavourful fluffy rolls I thought once again: leftover recipes can be so great!
For Christmas everyone likes to serve something special. Here at “Hefe und mehr” we are no exception and this includes bread, of course. This year I decided to go for an elegant variation of my favourite combination: nuts and potatoes. For the festive touch I combined walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios. These nutty flavours are supported by hints of roasted malt and cacao – just enough to add a deepness to its aroma. The bread is risen by my favourite preferment: Sweet starter. And so the bread contains everything you need for a little flavour fire works – again a bread that needs nothing but a bit of butter as spread.
The December some haste away so quickly that I want to enjoy my Christmas with the family without distractions. And so I will be not be online during the holidays and answer comments and emails after Christmas.
And this can happen in our house as well: the fridge is empty when I was sure that there should be some breakfast rolls left. And at nine in the evening not even I start to think about making a quick preferment for rolls. Instead I made a short stocktaking in the kitchen and found some left over boiled potatoes, cream and eggs in the fridge. With them I mixed a sweet dough for rolls. Like the dough for my favourite braid this dough has to rest in the fridge for at least one hour, but can stay there over night as well.
That’s what I did and the next morning I just had to form the rolls, proof and bake them. And even while I normally prefer rolls made with preferment and a more complex flavour, I was quite pleased with them. Due to potatoes and cream they have a very soft, fluffy crumb which can be torn into long fibres. The perfect sweet roll.
As soon as the weather change from summer heat to autumn cold I long for hearty breads with whole grains. A great combination is whole grain, potato and walnuts. For our bread baking course I promised a moist whole grain bread and as I have the feeling that another bread without preferment will find some friends here I designed the recipe accordingly.
But the bread gains a lot if you allow the dough to rise over night in the fridge. It will not only will enhance the flavour, but also gives the bran a longer time to soak and gets softer. For a good soaking of the whole grain flour, using warm water and still warm potatoes helps to speed up this process during the first stage of dough preparation.
And if the dough gets the time it needs you will be rewarded with a whole grain bread with an soft and moist crumb. It pairs perfectly with cheese or honey!
I mentioned already once or twice that I like to at potatoes into bread dough. In combination with a preferment they make the crumb soft and fluffy.
A classic preferment consist of flour, water, sometimes salt and microorganisms. In a sourdough the microorganisms are different lactobacteria and yeasts, while in a biga, poolish or pâte fermentée you will find bakers yeast (because you added them). A preferment will ferment for some time (mostly 12-16 hours) and in this time the microorganisms will release byproducts of their metabolism into the preferment. That makes the flavour of the dough (and later of the bread) complex and deep.
A short look through the kitchen cupboards produced a open glass of yoghurt, some boiled potatoes form our Lunch and a leftover of whole rye flour. Together with a little spoonful of sourdough (a idea I copied from Günther Weber) I kneaded them to a dough and let them rise over night. The next morning I formed and baked some rolls from this dough which rose highly while we splept.
The rolls I served shortly later for breakfast had a soft, fluffy crumb and a great complex flavour. A great roll for breakfast or brunch!