The first post in 2017 found its inspiration back in 2016. When I put together my “Best of 2016” I stumbled upon upon a readers question for rolls with open crumb. Back then I suggested this Baguette rolls and then the question slowly slipped from my mind. It has a simple reason: I normally prefer rolls with a finer crumb as we eat them mainly for breakfast and a wide open crumb means honey dropping all over the place. But during vacations we like to eat rolls for lunch or dinner, too. And with a slide of cheese a chiabatta-like roll is a delicious thing.
But the infection I catch before christmas was a mean one and so I spent most of my vacation on the sofa with hot tea and a good book – slowly recovering. I slept a lot, but baked nearly nothing and we went not for shopping food either but feed on our well stocked pantry and fridge. When we finally had to buy some groceries I discovered something new in our supermarket: organic pysillum hulls. I find their water binding capacity fascinating and so a package went home with me.
In the cologne pubs (called “Brauhaus”) exists a dish with confuse tourists regulary. It is called “Halve Hahn” and the tourists translate this with “half rooster” and expect to get a half roasted chicken when they order it. What they get is one half of twin-roll together with old gouda cheeses, mustard and some onions. There are many theories to explain the name of the dish – one is that once upon time someone asked in the cologne dialect if he could get on half of the roll: “Ääver isch will doch bloß ne halve han” (But I want just one half).
The roll that comes with the dish is called “Röggelchen” (little rye) and is baked as twin roll. You can tell in which city the roll was baked by the way it was formed: The Röggelchen from Düsseldorf has a round shape while the Cologne one’s shape is long. Both in common is that they are made partly with rye. In this variant the rye is used to make a sourdough, which adds complex flavour notes to the rolls. Another typical characteristic is the dark, shining crust which is due to a glazing which is made with roasted starch and applied before and after baking.
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!
Björn posted a series of fluffy Netherland breads back in January. One of these Breads was the classical Witbrood. It looked temping soft and fluffy. I bake those breads rather seldom, but when we finally felt a longing for a fluffy bread, I decided to use Björns Bread as Inspiration. My Witbrood-Variant is made with a mild sourdough and 2% yeast. This is for me a rather high amount, but it helps to create a high risen bread in a considerably short time.
Due to the wheat sourdough it develops a fine flavour with lactic acid notes – like a good yoghurt. And so it is not clear to me, why this post sank down to the bottom of the “well of lost plots”. But I brought it back to the surface – and here it is, with just three month delay!
Reader’s wishes are a good thing. They often give me new impulses or remind me of – sometime to obvious – breads. And when Julia wrote that a recipe for onion bread would be a fine idea, I was thinking: of course! And for the past long, sunny weekend I started to create a recipe.
A crucial part of onion bread is fried onions. And as I do not like the store bought ones very much I decided to go for homemade fried onions, too. For a better contrast I chose red onions for that. They are fried in oil until all of their water evaporates and are very crips. About 300g fresh onions yields 100g fried ones.
For the form I chose two different ones: the “classical” onion batard and round loaves with a half onion in the middle. These breads are a nice eye catcher for a buffet, but the batards are easier to cut.
The first version of the Kieler Semmel was already catapulted into the first ranks of my personal best of list of blog recipes. And I planed directly to make a second version with preferment. And took me a while to come back to this plan but finally I bake them. I choose a preferment which enhance the gluten structure, a sweet starter or its cousin, which is made with commercial yeast – a Biga. And I opted for diastatic malt as I wanted to make the crust very crisp. This makes the recipe unsuitable for a cold overnight proof – a reason why I always shied away from diastatic malt before – a mistake as I knew now! The crust gains a lot through the enzymatic processes due to the malt, it is crisp but easier to bite at the same time. I get a better volume and fluffiger crust then the last time, too.
Helga, a reader from Kiel, suggested some changes in the form and gave me some advices on the intensity of the cinnamon flavour. I decided to use cylon cinnamon, which has a more subtle and complex flavour then the warm, but more acerbic and blunt flavour of Cassia. I added one gramm to the butter which yields a slight cinnamon note. If you prefer a stronger cinnamon taste I would double this amount.
At the end, I have not to emphasise that I’m in love with this rolls, have I? They are maybe the most perfect rolls I bake (until now)!
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.
Until the 18th century bakers went to the next brewery to get some yeast for baking. Even the name of the yeast we use for baking shows that it was originally used for making beer: Saccharomyces cervicae. But when the new bottom fermenting yeast strain Saccharomyces carlsbergensis used by more and more breweries getting yeast for baking was not possible anymore because this yeast stays on the bottom of fermenting vessel (instead on floating on top like S. cervicae.) And so the first commercial produced yeast for bakers appeared on the market in 1780.
When my love and me brew beer it always breaks my heart to throw away the yeast which remains after bottling. And because I search ancient recipes for this month BBD, I decided to bake rolls using the beer yeast instead of the “normal” bakers yeast (which is the same species, anyway).
Now it’s official. I’m a little bit crazy.
I mean, who else would start making malt extract from scratch? But when I started to search for treasures in my pantry I found some left over barley malt from our last beer brewing. And that’s when the thought came to my mind that I could do my own malt extract. If you ever made beer by yourself you will know most of the procedure. Mixing milled malted barley with water and keeping it on defined temperatures for some hours. I do this in the oven which works very well with our normal mini batches (6 litre). After mashing I strained the mixture through some cheese cloths and then brought the malty liquid to boil. After the volume reduced to the half I had a thick, sweet syrup which looks and taste like the malt extract I normaly buy for baking bread.
I don’t think I will not start to make my malt extract by myself on a regular basis. But it is good to know that I could if I would like!
I baked a decorated loaf once again, this time as part of a present for my boyfriends grandmother (as I told before there is a birthday each week in April). But instead of using my normal recipe and shape I decided to go for something new. And so used another recipe and shaped the bread with a small loaf in the middle, surrounded by a poppy seed covered braid and with a little rose on the seam where the ends of the braid meets.
And because I can not cut into a present, I doubled the recipe and baked a “normal” loaf as well. I cut it when it was just cooled and I was in love with its fine crumb and crunchy crust in a moment. A very delicious bread!