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 second recipe I got from my parents neighbour which needed a bit of work over was a recipe for whole grain rolls with milk and a good portion of butter. I liked the idea of this rolls instantly.
I added poolish for more flavour and a water roux to make the dough more easy to handle. The other adjustment I made was concerning kneading and fermenting time. Kneading the dough until full gluten development is an important point here as a well developed dough keeps water much better. And as I told already last week, it is important that a whole grain dough gets enough time to soak up the liquid, too. This helps to improve the crumb as well as the shelf life. And in combination these all leads to a dough which is firm enough to get stemped with a roll stemp.
Beside of this I finetuned the recipe a bit, reducing the amount of yeast (once more) and adding an egg as lecithin source. This helps to create a fluffy roll with good volume and fine flavour. The buttery notes pair up very well with the nutty yet slightly bitter flavour of whole grain. These are rolls with potential for favourite rolls.
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.