There is one big christmas tradition in our Family: Cheese fondue with Grandparents, Grandaunt and –uncle, Parents, Aunts and Uncles, Siblings and Cousins and little nieces, nephews and great cousins. The recipe for the cheese fondue I published already some years back. Last year we had a little bread desaster. The bread was not only undelicous but crumbly and break rather than holding the cheese. A lot of bread got lost in the pots… And so my Mum and me volunteered (of course without any thinking) to bake baguette for all in the next year.
Over the year I did some researching and stumbled over the swiss fondue bread, something even my Swiss Grandaunt did not knew.
Some traditions are important. For me having a new years pretzel for the first breakfast of the year. And so there are more than one recipe for new years pretzels on the blog. That I like to use sourdough or sweet starter for that I realized when a reader asked me what recipe she could use for a “only yeast” pretzel.
I took the hint and my 2018 pretzel is made with yeast and poolish as yeasted preferment. The poolish together with the bit of spelt flour makes the dough extensible and so its easy to roll the dough into strands. For the flavour, I added sour cream and some honey to the dough.
And while I was baking my pretzel a question came to my mind: Do you have special breads or pastry you need to celebrate the first day of the year?
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.
After a lot of recipe development for my last course I have a lot of little flour leftovers from various ancient grains. There was for example the packet of white Kamut flour which I bought before I decided that the ancient grain workshop would be a whole grain workshop, too. And so I decided to use the last bread baking day in the museum to cut down some leftovers and baked pure kamut bread.
The bread contains about 40% whole grain flour which is mainly added to the poolish. That allows the flour to take up a lot of water. Especially Kamut is able to soak up a lot of water – at least all the batches I worked with in the last month. Anyway it is a good Idea to start with less water and add the water while kneading – just in case. The mild flaovur of the poolish fits very well to the nutty aroma of the Kamut.
Like each year at this day in November I want to add a “can you believe this” when I write down the age of this blog. With now nine years the blog feels sometime like a mammoth in a modern time. And just like Micha I sometimes miss the gone days when the blog world was small and young and mainly add-free. I miss the times when every blog had its own blog roll. Past then I could spent hours surfing through the favourite blogs from other bloggers, finding new favourites while I travel through the sites. Nowadays my journeys are often interrupted as many blogs does not share their favourites anymore. Why I can’t understand but I moan about the lost connections and interactions. And I’m more then happy when I find a blog that stands out from the mass and which has a blogroll of its own. Then I will add it to may blogroll, for which I still care a lot. I keep an eye on it so it contains only active blogs (inactive but good blogs can be found have their own special blogroll). You can the blogroll on the left side when you scroll down a bit.
But enough from nostalgia! Another thing that I care a lot for is my growing collection of traditional bread recipes. I like the stories and memories connected with this breads. And so I continue to collect what I can found. There are so many little gems just waiting to be discovered! If you know one – please share the description with me!
A good example for connected stories is the Bertesgadener Stuck. It is a bread which stems from the traditional bread sharing with poor ones at All Souls day which can be found in many regions of south germany. The local custom in Berchtsgarden of “Stuck Betteln” (asking for stuck rolls) was alive until the 1920s. Around this time this custom was banned. But the stuck recipe was kept alive as the bakeries started to sell the rolls from September till Santa Claus day.
An intersting point of the recipe is fact that the unsweetened dough is well seasoned with cinnamon, clove and sometimes other spices. I added a bit of bread spice (coriander, caraway, fennel) but only so much to create a deepness in flavour. The sweetness stems from the added Zante currants. And once again the bread contains some rye – I find it interesting how many traditional sweet breads in Germany exists which are partly made with rye flour!
Sometimes I have the feeling that baking bread follows as many fashions as you can observe in cloth. The trend flour of the last years was the French ones. Nowadays it seems that Swiss Ruchmehl is the new “in” flour. (Ruchmehl is a light wheat flour that contains more bran than normal white flour.) But this is not my kind of philosophy. I like to buy my flour in our local mill in which Wheat from the Rhineland and Spelt from The Bergischen Land is milled into very good flour. Just like Arndt Erbel I prefer to bake with the things that grow in my nighbourhood. And I firmly belief that every baker has to school his or her feeling for the dough for produce a great bread. Of course a great bread needs to have a great ingredients, too. But these can be found in your home region, too.
My rule is an easy one. I buy local flour. And when I in a new region, I buy the local flour there, too. This makes traveling much more exiting. And of course I bought some kilo Ruchmehl when we visited Basel – I like playing with new flour as much as everyone else does.
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.
At the moment my heart belongs once again the wide variety of rolls. Especially the square once which are just cut from a high-hydration dough are favourites. And so it would be sad if this recipe would get lost in the whirlwind of inspirations in the last weeks. I baked this spelt squares already some weeks ago, their were part of our easter brunch as I felt that we would need some whole grainy beside pretzel rolls, cheese rolls, bakers rolls and my beloved Kieler Semmeln. And so I took the same matrix that worked so well for the Luftikus and this whole grain rolls: A long rise and a high hydration.
This time I used the combination of poolish, yoghurt and a long rise to give a complex flavour to the rolls, while the physiilum seed hulls helps to make the highly hydrated dough easy to handle. The Oat bran in which the crust is covered adds a crunchy effect to the crust and helps to achieve a fairly crispy crust which is not so easy for psyllium grain rolls.
Since I discovered the Kieler Semmel for me, they rank very high on my personal favourite roll list. I love their tender crumb and the crisp buttery-salty crust with the slight hint of cinnamon. And so it was an easy decision what recipe I would bake at my course at the Brotzeit.
But the recipe vary a bit form the two recipes already published on the Blog: this time I use poolish as preferment and I had to use more yeast to compensate the short time window in the course. But I added a variant for more time below.
The dough of this rolls is rather firm and can be formed round easily. After forming the rolls need to be rubbed in a butter mix which works some fat into the seam. This prevents the seam from sticking and so the rolls open nicely in the oven. To get enough butter in the seam needs a bit of practice – and this can only be gained by practice 😉