Last weekend, a reader asked if I had an idea for baking a bread on a busy week night. She had a clear idea of what ingredients she would like in her bread: white flour plus a tiny bit of whole grain mixed with a lot of seeds. And I had a very clear idea on how to make a bread out of this.
As the she needed a bread which ferments over a whole night and day, I decided to make a straight dough. The long fermentation yields enough flavour. And I decided to add the seeds without soaking, too. But before anyone is now worried about the bread going dry: I added enough water for the seeds to soak during fermenting without withdrawing to much from the dough.
I used the recipe directly on this very busy weekend. Normally I would postpone baking to a calmer day, but so it worked like a charm. A great bread for busy days!
When I look over my roll recipe I published during the last few years, I see a clear tendence: overnight doughs. And my Ein-Korn-Rolls are no exception from this rule.
They are spelt rolls with 30% whole grain einkorn flour and about 16% seeds. This mixture give a deep nutty flavour and some bite. If you like, you can even roast the seeds, but I didn’t as I want to prevent the seed flavour to overpower the einkorn flavour.
The rest of the recipe follows a well working schema: some egg yolk and butter for a tender crumb and some psyllium hulls to increase the water binding capacity. And that brings a delicious roll. So delicious, that my dearest praised them at breakfast enthusaticaly. And that happens with my – from good bread quality spoiled – spouse rather seldomly 😀
One of the participants of my baking course asked for a recipe for Simit and brought a glass full of Pekmez (Grape molasse) for me, too. And that was all that was needed to get my brain working on this sesame rings.
Some weeks later, when I took a sheet full of Simit from the oven I had a sudden flashback into my childhood. About 20 years ago I regularly took the bus to go to the next town to visit the library. After spending joyful hours between the silent rows of books full of mysteries and stories I carried a armful of books home. And before I would hop into the bus I would make a short stop in the little turkish greengrocery shop located next to the library. There I would buy two simits for 1 DM (this was long before we got the €) and eat them with my nose already in the first book.
The flavour of my fresh baked Simit brought back all this happy memories of summer holidays and dream worlds. But even without this memories the flavour of this sesame rings is great. Sweet and hearty is well balanced here as they are dipped into Pekmez solution before they are turned into sesame. And the preferment (in this variant sweet starter) helps to develop a complex flavour. I’m very much in love with them right now and bake them already several times – something that happen seldom here!
Some month ago I bought a apple slicer with two exchangeable cutter one for apples and one for for cubes. I planed to use the cube cutter for making french fries but it works only so-so. The apple cutter is a tiny bit better. But then – while forming rolls- I had THE idea which save the apple slicer from the waste bin. The cutter is perfect suitable for cutting rolls! Why I didn’t had this idea already much earlier I don’t know. The deep cuts open flower like during baking and I’m totally in love with their appearance.
The inner values of the rolls are beautiful as well: 40% whole grain pushes it to the healthy side, but the crumb is nonetheless fluffy and soft, the crust is crunchy and covered with seeds. It is once again a great roll for our breakfast table!
Last November a reader asked for a recipe of a moist spelt bread with high whole grain portion and different seeds. I had an idea for the bread very quickly: With a whole rye sourdough, many pumpkin seeds, some flax seeds and sesame and a good portion whole spelt flour – partly in a water roux for more moisture. But then the pysllium husk discovery happend and I changed my plan fastly. Instead of a water roux I decided to use the pysllium hulls to increase water binding. And I added some butter which makes the crumb nicely soft and helps to keep it fresh.
The result is a moist and aromatic bread. The crumb is full of pumpkin seeds and a thick crunchy crust. A bread with potential for a a favourite!
This Sandwich bread is a readers wish. But I needed two rounds, until I was really satisfied. In the first Variant I had a boiled soaker with whole spelt flour and seeds, but this added to much liquid to the dough. This resulted in a very instable crumb. The recipe needed adjustments!
The bread (in both tries) is a pure spelt flour with 30 percent whole grain flour and amixture of flax seeds, sesame and sun flower seeds for an extra nuttiness. The preferment is a biga made from whole spelt flour. This has many advantages: the whole grain flour has enough time to soak up the liquid, a biga helps to strength the gluten network and it adds complex flavour nuances, too. As every sandwich bread this bread needs a fully developed gluten network, and spelt is a sensible. So it is needed to keep a close eye on the dough to find the perfect spot.
At the rerun of the recipe I used a bit mashed potato for fluffiness and a soaker with an only moderate amount of water. This makes the dough recognizable firmer, the dough is easier to handle and the fluffy crumb gets enough stability. So what was my lecture of this day? Sometimes less (water) is more!
This week was laborious and exhausting. And add this twelve hour workdays I was happy about the nourishing whole wheat bread that was waiting for me in my lunchbox in the breaks. A soaker made of seeds, nuts and whole wheat flour keeps this bread long moist and fresh while a wheat sourdough adds the desired flavour.
As whole wheat sourdough tends to develop more acidity as the white flour variant, I build the sourdough in two stage and let it ferment rather short and warm. This makes the sourdough strong and mild. A bit of honey in the dough helps to balance the flavour in a harmonic way.
With all the seeds and its sturdiness it is a perfect bread for cold November days.
There are three different ways to soak seeds or flour: You can either cook them, or soak them in hot water or in cold water. For this bread I decided to soak the seeds in cold water. They do not absorb not as much water as when hot water is used, and this results in seeds which have still some bite. As the seeds have to soak overnight some salt is added to prevent them from fermenting.
Seeds in a dough can inhibit gluten development and so the soaker is added after ten minutes of kneading. The dough is firm at the beginning and will get softer when the soaker, which contains some free water as well, is added.
For a hearty flavour I bake this bread with some beer. It is a mild organic weiss beer, but you can start to experiment with different kinds of beers. A dark brew, for example, would bring the beer flavour forward and would yield in a very hearty bread.
I was asked to include a bagel recipe in my little course about bread baking and I was very willing to do so. Bagels are a good recipe for beginners as the dough is quite firm and not sticky at all. Kneading on the other hand can be a little work out because of the firm dough, too. But kneading a bagel dough is important to get a chewy bagel. So turn on some music and start kneading!
Another important point is boiling the bagels prior to baking. The longer you cook, the denser the bagel will become, as the proteins and starch on the outside of the bagel start already to set, preventing the bagel from rising to much in the oven. I like Bagel on the softer side, so I boil them for 30 seconds on each side. But play around with this time to get your personal perfect bagel! Continue reading
To me, the basic of good breakfast is a good roll. And so we are baking rolls in part three of our little bread baking course. These rolls are looking more complicated then they. For shaping we will use the same method then for the bread we baked last time. And already after 15 minutes the rolls are deeply cut, which is much easier than cutting a fully proofed roll. The cut is carefully laid together and will open beautiful during baking.
For a good volume the recipe uses on the on hand some fat and the lecithin from egg yolk and on the other hand a good kneading. For kneading such a firm dough I knead like that: I press the dough with the heel of hands away from my body. Then I draw the dough back to my body with my fingers. While kneading you need patient because it takes 10 minutes to reach middle gluten development. So turn on some music and knead ahead. At the end the dough should is soft but not sticky.