When we drove through snow- rain to meet with the family on Easter Sunday, I mused if todays Easter weather was colder then on Christmas Eve or not. But good weather or not we had a broad mixture of rolls and a greek easter braid with us.
The idea of baking tsoureki I had in mind since a readers question last year. And so I did some research and found the braid in many different forms and different ratios of ingredients. But two ingredients were a stable: Mastix and Mahlep.
Mastix is the resin of the pistachios tree, while mahlep are cherry pits form Prunus mahaleb. While grinding the spices to powder I realized that mahlep has an similar aroma than tonka beans: almond like and very delicious. As always, the flavours of a spiced bread are depending more on the spices then on the aroma of the preferment. But using a preferment is useful anyway, as it helps to strengthens the gluten network as well as improves the shelf life.
We enjoyed this greek Easter Bread with its fluffy crumb and almond like flavours very much.
Heißewecken – sometimes called Hedewäggen, Hetwegge, Heiteweggen or Heetwich, too – are spiced raisin buns which are typical for North Germany. Their form vary from region to region, sometimes they are baked in bun shape, in others regions they are baked as flatbreads. They are baked traditionally in the feasting time between carnival and Easter and often served with warm milk and butter.
I have them on my list of regionals breads I want to bake for already one year. And before it is Easter again I finally managed to bake them. I chose the bun shape over the flatbread as I find the buns easier to eat for breakfast. But you can easily roll the dough to small flatbreads, too. Both forms are baked fast and hot which ensured a moist crumb.
I like the fine crumb and soft crust of this rolls very much. Cinnamon and Cardamom add a delicious deepness to the flavour and I ask myself why it took me so long to bake them …
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!
The Ausgezogne is a south german deep fried cake which is similar to a doughnut but instead of a hole there is a very thin dough layer in the middle. Sometime this cake is called Knieküchlein (literally knee cake), too as the thin dough layer can be archived by stretching the dough over the knee. But it can be stretched by hand, too, and is very similar to forming pizza dough.
To get a good stretchable dough it is important to develop the gluten network fully. To support the gluten development a pâte fermentée is added to the rather soft dough. This makes it easy to form the Ausgezogne dircetly before frying. The thin part gets crisp while the outer rim is soft and fluffy. And this contrast is typical for the little cake and makes it so delicious!
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!
Finally I can post the first recipe in the upcoming post series of “regional breads” and can tell you how I came to this idea.
It all started with an email from the Magazine “Ö”, asking if I could develop some recipes form different German regions for their September issue. Of course I could and shortly after I was whirlwinding in the kitchen, baking Eastfrisian Blackbread, Schrippen from Berlin, Cologne Röggelchen, Göppinger Briegel, Swabian Spelt bread and Bavarian Farmers Bread. At the end of the week the bread was stacking in my kitchen and some colleagues and family members would find anonymous gifts of bread or rolls 🙂 I sent the recipe together with some Gerstl to the photographer who bake the bread, too and took the pictures.
I love “Hörnchen” the halfmoon shaped pastry made of sweet challah or brioche dough since my childhood. And since I made the delicious Kifle I catched the “Hörnchen” fever once again. And so it was out of question what the third recipe for my vegan “one for all” sweet spelt dough had to be. They can be baked with reduced or no sugar, too. Then they are great with hearty spreads as well.
To achieve the form of this soft, fluffy breakfast pastry it is important to roll the dough out into a long and very thin oval and then roll it up again with some tension. To prevent them from touching each other while baking I worked the dough in two batches.
For a shiny brown crust I used a glaze made from roasted starch and water and applied before and after baking. The shine of this glaze is nearly as strong as the traditional egg glaze. Optional sprinkled with poppy seeds, this “Hörnchen” are the perfect breakfast treat fitting not only for those with dietary restrictions!
I get the question for a sweet yeast dough without egg, milk or wheat regularly. Depending on the dietary restrictions I sent the readers to this, this or that recipe. A dough “without everything” was missing until now. And so I promised to fill this gap.
The recipe I designed is a aromatic vegan spelt dough. Similar to my favourite braid I used here a mixture of firm and liquid fat: vegan margarine and oil. And while in a butter braid the butter flavour is very prominent, in this recipe a oil made of roasted walnuts takes over this role.
The dough recipe is a basic recipe which can be used in many different recipes. I used it to bake this braid, vegan spelt Hörnchen and nut pastry. The other recipes will follow in the next weeks.
When I stroll over the Christmas market I’m often wondering about the enormous prices for little helpings of Schupfnudel, fried mushrooms or molten raclett cheese. And so I’m little tempted to spend my money there. But what I take with me this time was an inspiration for “Handbrot”. The name means literally hand bread and is a pieces of bread dough filled with Cheese, bacon or mushrooms. The versions sold on the cologne Christmas market where baked to pale for my liking and the dough contained surely to much yeast, but while looking on the breads a recipe started to appear in my mind.
As basis I used my favourite bread recipe but added some additional potatoes for a softer crumb. The filling is a mild gouda cheese, mushrooms and crisp fried smoked tofu. For non-vegetarian persons you can of course use bacon as well! Served still warm from the oven this little breads are a great treat with the gooey cheese. But they taste delicious when cooled, too. Then you can taste the complex flavour of the bread as well as the flavour of smoke tofu and cheese. And while eating my dearest and I started already to think about new variants: using raclett cheese instead of gouda or filling the breads with feta and dried tomatoes. There a millions of possibilities laying before us …
The idea for this rolls started when I pull a nearly forgotten glas with Pâte fermentée from the fridge saturday night. I planed to prepare some sunday morning rolls and so I added some spelt flour (white and and whole grain) for the nutty flavour and egg yolk, butter and milk for a soft crumb. Together with the fermented dough this promised to yield rolls with a deep, complex flavour.
But it was already late at night and so I place the dough in the fridge to rise there until the next morning. Early on Sunday morning I degased the dough, formed the rolls and let them proof for a rather short time. The short proofing made sure that the rolls develope a good oven spring and that the slash opens widely.
The rolls are perfect for a sunday breakfast: beautiful, crisp with soft crumb and as flavourful as they promised to be!