I stumpled about the Neheimer Stütchen during a guided tour in the cologne cathedral. It was the fact that Count Gottfried von Arnsberg IV. is buried as the only not clerical person. This prominat burial place he got because of a very generous gift to the cologne bishop – and to ensure that the people in his county would pray for him after his death he gifted a very good forest to the city of Neheim. The forest still exists and from the yearly gain of it several celebrations are paid: each year a wreath is laid down at his tomb in the cathedral, there are count gottfried games and all children of the city get a roll called “Neheimer Stütchen” at the 4th september.
The Neheimer Stütchen is a sweet milk roll, a bit larger then normal and already that tempted me. And as this story is such a nice one that it fits very well in my blog series of regional, traditional breads. And so I baked my version of this roll, with a biga for aroma and a water roux for fluffy soft crumb.
There are so many different variants of black bread in Germany that I always feel sorry that my stomach can not cope to much of it. So I can bake one just once in a while and to bake me through all the regional variants will take some time. One really fascinating black bread recipe is the “Klever Schwarzbrot”. It uses buttermilk instead of sourdough. This adds enough acid to make the rye bake-able.
The bread has fine lactic flavour in combination with the sweetness of the molasses makes this bread special. And to add some complex flavour notes I added for my recipe a preferment with rye meal, buttermilk and tiny bit of yeast. The preferment adds not only aroma but helps the meal to soak up enough liquid which makes the bread more moist. The same is true for the soaker: the roasted bread crumbs add flavour and the nuts and coarse meal can soak up the liquid. And while this two additional steps makes the recipe more complicated then the “fast” variant with a lot of yeast but it makes it so flavourful that it is worth work. Continue reading →
Another discovery of my search for regional breads is the Salzweck. Its a roll which stems from the region Baden and which is formed in a special way. Its rim is folded in a similar way like used for Kärntener Kasnudeln or for the Handsemmeln. Its not so difficult to form and to proof this I took a video from the forming process.
The roll comes golden brown out of the oven and provides a fluffy soft crumb under its crisp crust. This is due to the combination of the macial combination of egg yolk, butter, enzyme active malt and vitamin C from the powdered rose hip. To make the flavour deep and complex, I added a Biga to the dough, too. Taken together this yields a beautiful looking roll with great aroma!
This was a great weekend in Berlin! The smell of bread was everywhere and I had the change to try so many different specialities. Not only on the Brotzeit Market, but on the evening before as well when all of the participants came together to chat and eat. A lot of the Bakers brought their favourite bread and I spent that evening of sampling nearly 20 Breads. My personal favourites were: a bread with sprouted spelt, a loaf with sprouted sun flower seeds and a ciabatta like bread with hot pepper and olives. But there was a delicious walnut, a bread flavoured with nettles, and different great rye breads as well. The different breads and the interesting conversations about bread, grain and bees at this evening will be inspiring my baking in the next time for sure!
The next regional bread recipe is from Northern Germany, too. Or, to be more precise, from Osnabrück. It is a roll which roots in meagre days when good flour with a high amount of gluten was rare. The poor flour quality results in a finer, denser crumb and a smaller volume then normal rolls. To archive good looking rolls with a nice crust despite the flour quality the bakers used a trick. They spread the rolls with different kinds of mixtures which results on a crisp, and crackled crust. This special look of the crust gave the rolls their name “Springbrötchen” (lit. Cracked Rolls).
The flavour of the crumb is slightly sweet while the crust is very hearty. The hearty flavour stems from the last mixture which is applied on the rolls: It is a mixture of fat and baker’s ammonia. The slight alkalinity of the baker’s ammonia has a similar effect like lye for making pretzels and gives the rolls their specific flavour. The hint of sweetness is archived by a bit of sugar and the addition of some milk and is a lovely contrast to the flavour of the crust. I like the flavour very much and there are already new recipe variants with preferments circling in my mind. Always a sign that I like a recipe…
When I asked for suggestions of regional traditional Bread one bread on top of the list of favourites was Gersterbrot. This bread stems from the region around Hanover and Bremen and it is really special as it is flambéd after forming the loaves. This seals the crust and adds dark speckles all over the bread. Both lead to a bread with a hearty flavour and beautiful crisp crust. And it enhances shelf live as well as the thick crust prevents the moisture from evaporating.
To flambé the loaf properly I bought a small blazing torch as it develops more heat then a flambé torch. And when I flambéd the bread I took care that the surface below was fire proof! And I had a wet towel near just in case… But everything worked perfectly fine, no kitchen on fire, just a beautiful bread with a fine crumb and the thin crust – just as it has to be!
The grandmother of my dearest complained that today you can not get real blackbread anymore. The “modern” one is to moist in her opinion. When I asked how a “real” blackbread should be, she answered: “Just like it once had been”. My argument that I do not know how the bread looked like ninety years back in the past just gained me a critical gaze. But at the end I could get some informations about her childhoods blackbread from her: moist, but not so moist we today, dark and baked with rather fine cracked rye. And my ambitions was aroused to recreate this bread for her.
And so I bake a blackbread with the classical way: sourdough made with fine cracked rye, a soaker with roasted bread crumbs and coarse cracked rye and a good portion molasse. I added a bit of dark roasted rye malt to enhance the deep malt flavour. I baked it in the middle of the week when we spent some days with our Gran. And when we cut the bread the next day, everyone was happy, even Gran liked the bread!
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!
When I was researching another recipe, I stumbled upon the recipe for anise pretzels . These pretzles are made without lye and are typically served during winter in the region Upper Franconia. They contain a lot of anise, as their name promise.
Interestingly it seems that the recipe vary from town to town: In Weidenberg the dough is made without the addition of fat, while in a recipe from Bayreuth the dough is enriched with some milk and butter. I liked the richer variant more and so my dough contains both milk and butter, too. A egg yolk is added as emulsifier and helps to create fluffy and soft crumb.
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.