Some time ago my mum handed two recipes to me. A very dear neighbour of my parents asked if I could give the recipes a work-over. And as its due to my mum and me that she got the bread baking virus, I could not deny. But the first look on the recipe made me sigh. It was a variant of the infamous “three minute bread”. There are many variants of this bread available, but all suffers at a stable crumb and a all overpowering yeast flavour.
The yeast flavour is due to an overdosed amount of yeast. This can be easily fixed by reducing the yeast amount. Fixing the crumb needs a bit more work and time. Most important is to knead the bread thoroughly. Beside of kneading giving the flour enough time to soak is important, too. And so I added a Soaker and a Sourdough and added proper time for fermentation.
The bread is not a three minute bread anymore. It needs time like every good bread, but this time is well invested. The bread has well balanced flavour and moist, but stable crumb. A delicious bread for my lunch at school!
There is one big christmas tradition in our Family: Cheese fondue with Grandparents, Grandaunt and –uncle, Parents, Aunts and Uncles, Siblings and Cousins and little nieces, nephews and great cousins. The recipe for the cheese fondue I published already some years back. Last year we had a little bread desaster. The bread was not only undelicous but crumbly and break rather than holding the cheese. A lot of bread got lost in the pots… And so my Mum and me volunteered (of course without any thinking) to bake baguette for all in the next year.
Over the year I did some researching and stumbled over the swiss fondue bread, something even my Swiss Grandaunt did not knew.
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!
Sometimes it can happen even in a bread loving household: no bread! This happened to me some weeks ago when we had to defrost our freezer and so started to eat our way through all frozen goods. And then – in the middle of my working week – all bread was eaten and only to lonely rolls where left in the freezer. Enough to ensure our breakfast the next morning – but for the rest of the week we needed bread. And so I checked the flour stocks, took out some sweet starter and sourdough from the fridge and kneaded a dough before I went to sleep. The dough rested in the fridge meanwhile.
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 →
Just a few days after I read about Björn’s wood fired oven adventures I stumbled about an older newspaper telling about the oven in the local history museum just 20 km from my home. Each second Saturday of the month the oven is heated and everyone is invited to come and bake their bread – just like it was done traditionally in the old communal ovens. Reading that I got very excited and wrote an email instantly, asking if they still do this as the newspaper was already a bit older.
I got a fast answer and the invitation to join the bakers group the following Saturday as the oven is still used regulary! And so, I must warn you at this point: this post is longer and with more photos than normal because I had a wonderful time in the museum!
The moment I took the Luftikusse from the oven my never resting mind started to muse about a whole grain variant. And it needed just Michas comment to sent me straight to the kitchen to try it.
Whole grain flour needs more water then white flour, that is a well known fact. And the psyllium hulls can bind a lot of water, too. Nevertheless I was surprised by the amount of water I needed to reach the right consistency when I prepared the dough. At the end there was more water then flour in the dough. It yielded good rolls but I found the amount of water a bit to much, anyway. And so I changed the recipe, using less water and bit of sugar beet syrup to break the slight bitterness of the bran.
And with this second try I was happy. They have a nice, moist crumb and stay fresh for a long time. They are not as airy as their siblings but a delicious, more healthy variant. The right roll for a healthy lunch break!
The “Oberländer” Bread is a bread with tradition and stormy history: In 1829 the city council of cologne fixed the price for bread. The Bakers did not agree and so the bakers strike started. To get bread for the city, the council ordered bread in the region upriver, the so called “Oberland”. As this region has poor soil, the bread is baked with lots of rye there. This yields a bread with long shelf life and so it could be easily transported down the rhine to cologne. The cologne inhabitants liked the bread very much and even after the strike was ended they insisted on getting their beloved “Oberländer”. And so this bread is baked in cologne until today.
The characteristic shine of the crust is due to a glaze made of starch and water. Another characteristic trait of this bread are the tree slashes across the loaf. It is a mild rye bread with a fine crumb and a long shelf life. It pairs well with both hearty and sweet. And so it is both a beautiful bread for the regionalen Bread series and a good gift for someone who just moved to cologne.
The second bread for my regional bread collection is one I know well: a crusty bread from the rhineland, called “Rheinisches Krustenbrot”.
These crusty breads you can find in different parts of Germany and they vary in the amount of rye which is added to the dough. I know it as a mild bread with only 10% rye flour added. It is baked with seamside up which creates the typical rustic look of this bread. It has a light, fluffy crumb and – as the name suggested – a thick, crunchy crust.
I baked my version of this bread using two different sourdoughs: A rye sourdough which adds a hearty note to the flavour and which contains all of the rye in the formula, and a mild wheat sourdough which adds a joghurt like note to the taste of the bread.
Finally I can post the first recipe in the upcoming post series of “regional breads” and can tell you how I came to this idea.
It all started with an email from the Magazine “Ö”, asking if I could develop some recipes form different German regions for their September issue. Of course I could and shortly after I was whirlwinding in the kitchen, baking Eastfrisian Blackbread, Schrippen from Berlin, Cologne Röggelchen, Göppinger Briegel, Swabian Spelt bread and Bavarian Farmers Bread. At the end of the week the bread was stacking in my kitchen and some colleagues and family members would find anonymous gifts of bread or rolls 🙂 I sent the recipe together with some Gerstl to the photographer who bake the bread, too and took the pictures.