And sometimes a new recipe starts like this:
When filling the dried potato flour into a container I was left with a leftover that would not fit in. So what to do?
I opted for putting it in my dough bowl and started to build a recipe around it. As it was already late that evening, it was clear that I would do my favourite variant of rolls: Overnight rolls.
As I’m still testing coconut oil in baking, I used it here, too. But if you prefer butter, replacing the coconut oil with butter is possible, too!
For new years morning I baked my traditional New years pretzel, Westerwälder Neujährchen and Rheinische Neujährchen. The swirly form of the Rheinische Neujährchen may looks familiar to some of you. It is one of the forms that is used traditional for Lussekatter. And in Tyrol there is a Bread called “Thomasradl” which is baked during Christmas time in this form. The wide spread of this form is a hint that baking breads in this forms stems from a pre-Christian time. It is discussed that its a leftover of the midwinter fest and is a symbol for the sun.
I like the idea of sun very much as I am waiting each year in January to the days get visibly longer again.
The name “Neujährchen” is used in different regions of Germany for a wide variety of bread and pastry baked for new years eve or new years mornig. This variant stems from the Westerwald. I stumbled about it when I researched recipes for Neujährchen from the rhineland. I was fascinated by the dark crust which is archived by glazing them with cold coffee. And I was thrilled by the interesting mixture of spices and the fact that it is baked with a good amount of rye flour. The dough is mixed with a generous amount of butter, too, which is rather seldom for rye bread. The mixture of spices seems to vary from village to village. Adding Pepper and cinnamon seems to be common everywhere, but if anise or clove or both is used is different from recipe to recipe. As I do not like anise very much, the decision for my recipe variant was an easy one.
The hearty mixture of spice makes the rolls special, but very delicious. They taste great with honey, but would go as well with a mild goat cheese and some cranberry jam, too.
Honey is a stable in our pantry. There is no weekend breakfast without honey for me. Luckily we have some beekeepers in the family, so we are always well provided. Honey is although a delicious part of Christmas Baking, as for Turrón or Pepperkakror. And so I was hooked when I stumbled over a recipe of soft ginger bread in an old christmas cookbook.
and because I read a lot of using rye flour in such cakes lately I decided to modify it a bit and add some rye to the recipe. I tweaked the amount of liquids and spices as well a bit and was then very pleased with the outcome: The ginger bread is soft and fluffy and so delicious that is has to be hidden to survive until Christmas!
No, I will not start complaining about the rain. I am honestly glad about the constant pouring as the hot and dry summer and autumn left nature thirsting for water. But my foodblogger heart is still grumbles a little bit about the dull light we have. It is rather bad for taking pictures. But that’s what high Iso and the golden side of my reflector is for, isn’t it?
And when it’s raining cats and dogs it is the perfect weather for baking bread. And so I spent the last sunday with baking another regional bread. The Kassler Bread (or short Kassler) stems – as its name suggest – from the city Kassel, but is nowadays baked often in the Rhineland, too. It contains about 30% Rye and 70% Wheat flour and it’s a kind of bread I call lovingly “everyday bread”. It is flavourful and goes well with every kind of topping: from honey to cheese, everything fits with this kind of bread.
The “Bergische Land” is a hilly region next to cologne. Its name stems from the former Duchy of Berg and not from the hilly (which means “bergig” in German) landscape. It was for a long time a poor region as the ground is stony and loamy. Most farmers grew rye which can better cope such conditions.
And if you look for recipes which are from this regions you will inevitable find mainly rye breads. But for special occasions a whet bread was baked. It is called Nullbruut.
The origin of this bread stems either from the flour or because of its form. The Rheinische Wörterbuch explains that “dubbel genullt” means a flour is extra finely milled and such is the flour need for this bread. But “null” is also an old word for “parting (hair or landscape)” and could refer to the fact that the bread is slashed lengthwise prior to baking.
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!
Slowly I find back into my everyday life after summer holidays. And summer seemed to be endless this year. I can’t remember when we had such a long period of hot and dry weather. But now, beginning of september, I feel that autumn is shyly knocking on our door. On my daily way to work I can see how mist is now filling the valleys around me. These are mornings which wake the memory of my favourite poem from Eduward Mörike.
A memory of the fading summer is this recipe for three grain rolls. Made with einkorn, rye and wheat flour the rolls have a delicious nutty flavour. A bit of potaote flakes helps to keep the crumb moist and tender. They are nourishing rolls packed with flavour and a good portion of whole grain flour. And so they were the perfect snack on our long summer trip to the Normandy.
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!
Chocolate is always a good idea. And already since childhood I’m in love with the “Schokoladen-Weckchen” (Sweet chocolate rolls) which the baker in my home town baked. And during the sorting of my baking suppleys I found chocolate drops, which I original bought for baking cookies. But when I saw them, I coudn’t get this rolls from my mind. And so I decided to recreate the treat of childhood days!
As there was a bit of cream left in the fridge, I decided to base the dough loosley on the recipe of my favourite Sunday braid, but with some rye flour to enhance their tenderness and shelf life. This is a lesson I learned from several traditional recipes for sweet bread.