January was extraordinary dark this year. I miss the sun and feel that without I lack creativity. Yesterday, finally, we had a sunny day and so we spent a day outside. Coming home my mind happily mingled different ideas I had recently to bake a whole grain brioche.
As adding some rose hip powered helped me to archive a better gluten structure in this bread I decided to test its power in a whole spelt variant of brioche. With some sweet starter for flavour and some finely grated orange peel to break the slight bitterness of whole grain, I kneaded a dough containing a good amount of egg and butter. Kneading a brioche dough is always thrilling. As soon as the butter is added to the mixture, it turns in a sloppy mess. This happens with wheat brioche dough as well, so do not panic. Just keep kneading. The dough needs time until it starts to come together once again, but it will. As spelt sensitive to overkneading, it is advisable to keep an eye on gluten development . Nevertheless aim for full gluten development. Then you will be rewarded with a delightful brioche with a tender crumb. The flavour is rich and buttery, with delicious orange notes. For me, it is an enrichment of my Sunday morning breakfast, especially in combination with my favourite orange jam!
We spent a relaxed New years eve with some dear friends and I promised to bring bread. As always, I like to bring a wide variety and so I decided for caraway seed bread, wheat and rye bread, and my favourite spelt, nut and fruit bread. As addition I liked to have small rolls, similar to the little rolls my mum sometimes bought when I was little. They were called bread confection and where turned in a mixture of cheese and different seeds.
For my own variant I decided to go for a classic roll dough with some active malt and sweet starter for flavour. And as I did not planned to spent a lot of time with weighting 32 to mini dough portions I divided the dough into four equal parts and rolled them into strands. Each strand was then cut into eight equal sized parts and each piece then turned in the cheese mixture. That went very well and easy.
The resulting rolls turned out even better then I hoped. They gained a good volume due to the malt and a bit of egg yolk as lecithin source while the sweet starter gave them a good flavour. Just as a good roll should be!
I love the Italian Christmas cakes Pandoro and Panettone. And as my sweet Starter is happily active it was no question that I would bake one of this cakes for Christmas eve. And when i found the lovely mini panettone forms for little cakes of 50g each the decision was quickly made. Panettone it would be this year.
My recipe for panettone yields an amount that fits for 3 normal sized cakes or for 30 mini ones. But forming so many minis was a bit to much, even for me and so I went for 2 big and 10 mini Panettone.
I tweaked the recipe a bit, too. I increased the liquid and butter amount but reduced the raisins a bit. The resulting cake was incredible light with a crumb that can easily be shredded into long strands and so tender that it seems to melt in the mouth.
My cold is still persistent but we started to fight the bacteria with antibiotic while I still stay on the sofa. In the meanwhile we eat us through the bread stored in the freezer. That has its advantages: as soon as I’m fit I can bake up a little storm!
And I am not only working my way through the freezer but I am looking through the unpublished posts as well. And there are still some jewels hidden in the dark. Jewels like this Vesper-Wecken. Why I did not publish this recipe before I can not tell anymore. Maybe it got lost during the hectic days before summer vacations. But the rolls were delicious and so it would be sad to lose the recipe.
Their great flavour stems from the sweet starter as sole leavening agent. The key here is the cold overnight rest as it helps to create a deep complex aroma notes with only a minimal acidity. And this makes the rolls perfect for lunch or dinner!
My plans for the first of advent were somehow different, but as I caught a mean cold I have to spent the day on the sofa instead of baking something delicious for Christmas. The only good thing is that I had enough time to browse through the unpublished recipes. I rediscovered the chocolate panettone I bake last Christmas but never published the recipe.
And so I used the time to publish it now, nearly a year later. It is a delicious twist on the classic recipe which combines the flavours of chocolate and citrus fruits. And just like the “normal” panettone this chocolate version is baked with sweet starter only which adds a delicious deepness to its flavour.
And with this last year’s delicious treat in my mind I begin to dream about what to bake for Christmas this year….
Some time ago I showed this braids already while they cooled down on sunday morning. I promised to post the recipe, if they turned out nicely – and they did! So here it is. It is mainly a “use leftovers” recipe as it contains a bit of left over quark and some sweet starter after refreshing. The Quark adds a nice moistness to the dough and enhances shelf live. But the special turn in this recipe is the tiny bit of rye flour I added. As I learned last year from the Onjeschwedde is a small dose of rye good to enhance the crumb structure to extra soft and pillowy.
Another point I love at weekends too is the fact that the recipe is great for proofing overníght in the fridge. So the next morning the only thing I had to do is placing the baking tray in the oven. Perfect for relaxed sundays!
October means that its time again for World Bread Day. And as I baked bread in the wood fired community oven of our local history museum, I have a real “Backes Bread”. The Word “Backes” means community bread baking house in our dialect. And baking bread in such a “Backes” means sharing a great feeling of society. There are not so many other things that creates a sense of community then some loaves of bread made and shared with one another.
And so this bread is a bread meant for sharing. It is baked by placing two small loaves in one proofing basket. The ingredients of the bread is a bit inspired by leftovers: mashed potatoes, some quark and a bit of whole emmer flour. The Quark and Potatoes make the crumb moist while the emmer adds a deep nutty flavour.
The breads left the oven with a real dark crust – something that can happen by this more archaic way of baking. And it fits somehow very well with the bread, it adds a slight smoky flavour – and that goes extremely well with a bread from a wood fired oven.
Since some months I did not bake breads made with sweet starter alone. But just now my starter is so active as never before. It just need 90 minutes to double its volume. It is in the perfect condition to rise even a bit heavier dough with some butter. And so it is in the perfect condition to rise burger buns.
You need a real fit starter, so it makes sense to feed it two or three times before baking. Another important point is proofing the buns in a warm environment. The warm environment can be a slightly heated oven (30°C), then add a pot with boiling water on the bottom of the oven. This helps to keep the surface of the buns warm and moist and let them rise very well.
The aroma of the buns is delicious, the cold rise of the dough and the combination of hazelnut oil and butter makes them very flavourful. The hint of hazelnut flavour goes very well together with my favourite vegan patty. But my dearest liked it very much in combination with a beef patty, too.
After a mainly cold and rainy summer, the weather turned for some days just when school started. But this was just the last glimpse of summer we got. With the beginning of September it changed again and since then we have typical autumn weather – cold, sometimes rain, sometimes sun. When I drive to work I can see the valley filled with mist– it looks like little clouds snuggling into their beds before sun is waking them for the day. For me autumn is always the season to bake nut breads. And so I bake not only the dark spelt, nut & fruit in the wood fired oven last week, but as well a light spelt bread with hazelnuts and walnuts.
A deep flavour is archived by the combination of a spelt sourdough, a rye sourdough and a sweet starter. And due to the three lively sourdough adding yeast is theoretically not necessary. But as the community oven is not waiting for anyone I used a tiny bit of commercial yeast to keep fermentation well controlled and well fitted in the time schedule. And so et the end everything worked as planned: The oven spring was strong, the crust turned out crunchy and the crumb was fluffy. A perfect day for calm autumn days.
I posted our family favourite cake already some years ago here in the blog. When we have to choose between torte and goldknödel on a birthday celebration, all of us will take a piece of the goldknödel. It is THIS kind of favourite of extended family!
The cake stems from the Transylvanian and Hungarian part of family heritage and is all by it self a rather simple pastry. It is made from a sweet yeast dough which is formed into small balls and coated with warm butter and a mixture of grounded nuts and sugar. While baking in a kugelhopf pan the sugar caramelize and adds another delicious flavour to the aroma of nuts and butter.
A Kugelhopf pan is mandatory for this cake. Wen the Teflon coat of my – rather cheep – pan started to fall apart after ten years of using I decided that I need something longer lasting. And so I bought an ancient brass kugelhopf pan. It has very good baking qualities, is rather everlasting and looks beautiful on my kitchen wall when not in use.