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.
As soon as the temperature drops I start longing for hearty whole grain breads. Blackbread would satisfy all my cravings but I have troubles with the amount of rye. It can cause me stomach ache and so I thought about another alternative. For the monthly bread baking day in the wood fired oven I came up with two nutty spelt breads. One was made with white flour (Recipe will follow), the other is made with cracked spelt and mixture of walnuts, hazelnuts and cranberries. As the cracked spelt is soaked overnight, it helps to keep the bread perfectly moist. For the right flavour I used molasses and some spelt sourdough which balanced each other perfectly. Kneading is done in intervals to protect the fragile gluten of spelt and einkorn. This works like a charm and at the end I had a soft but good to handle dough. Continue reading
I baked this bread in the last weeks already several times. One time with raisins, one time with dried apricots and walnuts, once just plain. And always when I start to bake a bread repeatedly it is a clear sign that I have a new favourite.
I like the good balance of the hint of buttermilk sourness and the subtle sweetness of this bread. And if you add raisins or other dried fruits the bread moves a bit more onto the sweet side but is still well balanced. Freshly baked it is one of the breads I eat with just a dab of butter. Is there anything in the world that tastes better then a freshly baked sweet bread with fluffy crumb?
I baked the bread in my new tiny 500g loaf pans. These pans are brand new in my baking pan collection and I already realized that they are perfect for baking such sweet breads or whole grain breads. And it is perfect if you need some small loaves to share with family and friends!
For Christmas everyone likes to serve something special. Here at “Hefe und mehr” we are no exception and this includes bread, of course. This year I decided to go for an elegant variation of my favourite combination: nuts and potatoes. For the festive touch I combined walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios. These nutty flavours are supported by hints of roasted malt and cacao – just enough to add a deepness to its aroma. The bread is risen by my favourite preferment: Sweet starter. And so the bread contains everything you need for a little flavour fire works – again a bread that needs nothing but a bit of butter as spread.
The December some haste away so quickly that I want to enjoy my Christmas with the family without distractions. And so I will be not be online during the holidays and answer comments and emails after Christmas.
I whish you all a peaceful and merry Christmas!
Some weeks ago a reader asked me if I had an idea for a spelt variant of the Buttermilk loaf from the beginners course. Of course I had an idea and so I send her a recipe draft. The flour used for this bread had a higher ash content – just as she asked for. A soaker made from flour and buttermilk prevents the bread from getting to dry.
It took a while until I bake the bread by myself. A inflammation of my wrist kept me from hand kneading dough for a while. But since my wrist is fine again, I finally managed to knead it by hand without pain. As I like the combination of spelt and walnuts, I decided to some, too. And I slightly increased the water amount in comparison to the recipe draft. The bread has a moist and fluffy crumb with a slight darker colour due to the higher ash content of the flour and due to the walnuts.
It is a mild tasting bread which pairs well with goat cheese or honey and as it made with a straight dough it is a good alternative for moments when you need a fresh loaf in a considerable short time.
Whenever we spent our vacation in nothern Germany, I have to buy something I have troubles to find in the Rhineland: Steel cut oats! I like them very much, not for the kale stew like it is typical in North Germany, but for making porridge or baking bread. A porridge is such a good addition to a bread, adding some bite and a good deal of moisture and helping to keep the bread fresh for a long time. Especially for spelt bread it is a good addition as spelt has the tendency to bake dry without added soaker.
The bread I baked last week contains the trio of spelt, oat and walnuts. All three are somehow nutty flavoured and it feels natural to me to combine all of them in a bread. The preferment is a whole spelt sourdough which I grow over to stages to contain the mild lactic acid flavour I love so much. And the combination of joghurt-like notes of the sourdough and the nutty flavours of the grain and the nut makes this bread to one these I enjoy most plain or just with some butter and sprinkles of salt flakes. A clear favourite of mine!
Beside apples walnuts are another autumn favourite of mine. And beautiful autumn days with blue sky, colourful trees and rustling leaves on the ground make me wish for a bread with nuts. The bread I baked is another sibling of the Wheat Bread 80/20 and the Göppinger Bread. This time I baked it with only sourdough and with walnuts, of course. The bread is as flavourful and delicious as his older brothers with its crisp crust and tender crumb and the nutty walnuts bits. For a good oven spring it is important to have a active sourdough thus I made the sourdough in two stages, the first stage short and warm to increase the number of wild yeast in it while the second stage is for flavour development.
If you prefer a milder bread, you could make a wheat sourdough as well and use the rye flour in the dough. It is a lot of fun to tweak this recipe by just changing little details like the sourdough handling in order to archive a completely new bread. So maybe this will not the last bread basing on this recipe …
Cornucopia, the horn of plenty, is a symbol of abundance and nourishment in the classical myths and is often associated with autumn. And when I prepared my little pastries I look on the nuts and apples and that little cornucopia would be the right way to celebrate autumn plenty.
It is apple and no other fruit that means autumn to me. And I can’t stop praising the heirloom apples which are often much more aromatic then the new breeds. And for baking cake there is no better apple then my favourite Jakob Lebel. It is a tree which gives a plenty of fruits and which is often found in old gardens and orchards. In the beginning of last century the meeting of german pomiculture society named it as one of tree apple variety they advised to grow because it is so fruitful, aromatic and robust. Continue reading
As soon as the weather change from summer heat to autumn cold I long for hearty breads with whole grains. A great combination is whole grain, potato and walnuts. For our bread baking course I promised a moist whole grain bread and as I have the feeling that another bread without preferment will find some friends here I designed the recipe accordingly.
But the bread gains a lot if you allow the dough to rise over night in the fridge. It will not only will enhance the flavour, but also gives the bran a longer time to soak and gets softer. For a good soaking of the whole grain flour, using warm water and still warm potatoes helps to speed up this process during the first stage of dough preparation.
And if the dough gets the time it needs you will be rewarded with a whole grain bread with an soft and moist crumb. It pairs perfectly with cheese or honey!
I love the fact that my sweet Starter enables me to bake more or less spontaneously with a delicious preferment. And when my parents asked us this morning if we want to meet in the afternoon for a cup of coffee I decided to bake a family classic: Goldknödel (Golden Dumplings).
The recipe stems from the transsylvanian branch of the family and we all love it. My variant here contains less yeast, a preferment and cream instead of butter. This makes the crumb fluffy and enables me to proof the cake overnight if I want to. But today I choose the fast variant and proofed the cake at room temperature.
The cake is served uncut, and everyone can break a piece from it.