Autumn means always potato time for me. And even after this hot and endless summer, when we had to harvest them already in august due to the drought, I hunger for the first loaf of potato bread. Here – in the region around cologne – potatoes are called Ärpel or Erpel. This dialectal term is a short form from “Erdapfel” (literal earthapple). And so is an Ärpelbrot nothing other then a potato bread.
These Variant is in some points similar to the Oberbergischen Ärpelbrot but is baked with a rye poolish and yeast. And so it is a variant that works well for bread baking beginners too. It is a aromatic bread whit crisp crust and tender crumb.
For me, it is the right bread to eat it – thickly slathered with Plum butter – on a cold, misty autumn morning!
The spicy flavour of grounded caraway, fennel and coriander seeds in combination with the tasty Schabzigerklee (Trigonella caerulea) makes it hard to resist these rye flatbreads. They taste very (!) similar to the Tyrolean flatbread named Vinschgauer. But while traditional Vinschgauer are made with sourdough, these variant is made with an rye-buttermilk-poolish instead. It is a recipe well suited for the advanced beginner. Someone, who did not started the adventure of rising an own sourdough, but is not afraid of sticky rye dough. How sticky the dough will be can be regulated by amount of added buttermilk. The more buttermilk is added, the more stickier the dough will. But a plus of buttermilk makes the flatbreads more moist, too, so it is worth the hassle with a sticky dough anyway! And the dough will be sticky in any case – just as prewarning! But with some flour on hands and counter top the dough can be handled very well!
I could call this bread a simple “leftover bread”. But this would be to simple as the bread is a really delicious one. But to be honest, it contains a lot of leftover flours. There is the package of einkorn flour I found behind my flour box. And the bag with the little bit of spelt flour and another bag with some leftover rye flour. And as these three did not yield enough flour for a bread, I added some wheat flour, too.
As I planned to bake the bread in the wood fired oven in our regional history museum, I had to plan accordingly. For an relaxed baking day, I prefer to knead the dough friday night and let it rise over night in the fridge. But this normally means that I have to prepare the preferment in the morning before I leave for work. But – with school years end so near – I knew I would be to tired that morning for mixing a preferment at 5:30 am. As workaround I decided to let the poolish ferment in the fridge as well. It needs about 24 hours then, but with a bit of planing ahead, it minimize the time I had to spent each day with preapring the bread.
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. Continue reading