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Kontinentbrot: Continent Bread

My German friend, Alex, and I were discussing whether this bread should be translated as continent bread or continental bread. Alex thought it was best to translate it as Continent Bread because continental has another meaning in the American Culture. I explained to Alex that, by dictionary definition, continental means coming from main land Europe. However, for some reasons in the United States we think continental means, "free breakfast", which I find very funny! I am not sure how that came to be, but, none-the-less, we will refer to this bread as Kontinentbrot from now on. I hope that this will reduce any confusion and will keep my quest of making German breads as authentic as possible. 


 
Alex and I both believe that this bread is referred to as kontinentbrot because it contains four different kinds of seeds, which come from different parts of the world. This bread recipe called for pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds. It called for a Brühstück soaker, which is a soaker made with hot water and is only given 1-3 hours to mingle. The word brühen means to pour hot water over something. 

There is another kind of traditional German bread soaker, a Quellstück, which is allowed to sit overnight. Quellen means to allow something to soak until it becomes plump. To be honest, even though this bread called for a Brühstück, I was going to make a Quellstückand allow it to rest overnight. However, I forgot, so two hours before I baked the bread I prepared a Brühstück. 
 
One thing that I do not like about quick soakers is that they are not loose and light, but tend to be very dense and heavy and have to be broken up considerably during the mixing process. Another thing which contributes to the heaviness of this bread is the use of oats, which become lost when a hot soaker is used.
 
I did make a few adjustments to this bread, mainly in the soaker. I removed the sesame seeds and replaced them with additional pumpkin seeds. I am not a huge fan of sesame in or on bread. I actually would prefer poppy seeds, but I decided to use pumpkin seeds in this bread. Normally I would bump up the sunflower seeds, but I was in the mood for that heavy, almost bitter, pumpkin seed flavor. 
 
Rather than simply placing the raw seeds into the soaker, I toasted the sunflower seeds and the pumpkin seeds before incorporating them. I did not toast the flax seeds because when you toast them they tend to jump and fly all over the place and you end up with a huge mess. I simply used raw flax seeds. 
 
 
I recently re-fed my sourdough rye starter, but for some reason it seemed to be much heavier than usual  I think that I may have used rye meal by mistake, and as a result it seemed a little slow. It is also possible that my starter was affected by my house being rather cool. Luckily, this formula has a small inclusion of yeast, which helped the dough to rise in a relatively short time. I don't think that this bread got as sour as it could have gotten, but I cannot complain because I was very pleased with resulting bread. 
 
I also use my brand new couches or basket covers for the first time, I would like to thank Kelly's wonderful mom Carla, for them! I will use them well! You can see in this photo that the basket covers do leave a cool texture on the bread. 
 
 
Another aspect of this bread that is different, is that it is not scored or slashed. In lieu of scoring, it is allowed to rise with full exposure to the air. This allows the bread to dry and slightly crack. Perhaps I could have given this bread more time to dry out at room temperature, but I was eager to bake this bread. With the Sabbath coming and my Mom needing to use the oven to roast two chickens and some butternut and buttercup squash, I went ahead and baked this loaf a bit quicker than I wanted. Since this bread was not scored, and it did not have time to fully develop, it cracked along the lower side of the boule. Actually, I think that it added a lot of character to the finished product. 
This is not a bread for the faint-hearted. It is a heavy bread with close to 75% whole grain once the sourdough and soaker are included. Also, it is not an open loaf. It is dense and absolutely full of seeds. After all was said and done, the heaviness and toasted seeds contributed an immense amount of flavor and texture to this wonderful German bread. 
 
 
 
I will certainly bake this bread again. Perhaps the next time I will include the sesame seeds in the mix and I will use medium rye flour in the final mix and use whole rye in the sourdough build and soaker. I think these changes might give the loaf a slightly lighter texture and flavor.  My readers and followers should know by now that I am not one to hide my rye. I want that rye flavor to be upright and in your face! I want those who eat this bread to be able to taste every ingredient that I used!
For the original formula go here.
But here is the hearthbakedtunes version:
Build
Grams
Rye Meal
106
German Rye Starter
11
Water
85
Quellstuck
Grams
Rye Meal, coarse
77
Oats
22
Pumpkin seeds
35
Sunflower seeds
30
Flax seeds
13
water
127
Final Dough
Grams
Rye flour
73
Bread flour
106
Salt
10
Sourdough build
191
Quellstuck
302
Yeast
3.9
Water
138
 Bake On!
-DW, The Bread Barron

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This is a bread that I was really excited about, but in the end was a bit disappointed with the finished result. I am going to keep this post brief, so that I can dedicate my energy to the breads that are truly worth writing home about; this is not one of them.

This bread contained two different build which I found to be interesting. One was a rye sourdough build which was prepared with whole rye flour the other was a wheat build. What in German is called a Wheat pre-dough, which in international terms would be considered a biga. It was suggested to rise the dough for up to two days in the cooler, but I went with preparing it overnight, at room temperature, which in my abode mean barely 60 degrees, so not too warm. 
I woke up very early the next morning to get this bread under way. I noticed very little growth in the rye sourdough, so I was glad that a wheat pre-dough was included. I am in the process of making my rye starter much stronger. I am feeding it several times a week, but what it really needs is a warmer environment to grow in, which is hard to come by in the Wolfe Residence. It is coming along, but it is a slow and steady process. The mixing process is actually quite simple for this bread. The two builds are combined with the water, all of the other ingredients are added and the dough is mixed first of speed one for 5 minutes, and then on second speed for two minutes. There are no folds in this dough. The dough ferments for 30-45 minutes, and then it is proofed for 45 minutes. I decided to bake this bread in my brotforms. They came out very nicely, except for the way the bread opened. I did use a scoring pattern that I never use, three parallel lines. Typically, if I use a parallel pattern I use two lines, and it turned out that the extra score did not work out in my favor. It split. Actually both breads split a bit funny, but the finished product is pleasing to the eye. 
One of my major problems with this bread is that it is a bit dry. I may have left it in the oven two long. Another issue is that my home oven vents steam very early. The newer gas ovens tend to do this. I prefer the older style electric ovens for my bread baking. But you got to do, what you got to do!
The finihed product is a dough with a relatively tight crumb, a light rye flavor and a significant crust. I would have preferred a more open bread. Typically the rye breads that I bake have all of their rye flour in the build and none in the final build, I should have known better. Had I placed all of the rye in the starter, with a little extra water, I most likely would have gotten closer to what I was hoping for, but it was German, and thus It's on my last. Keep your eyes peeled for the Completely whole grain volkornbrot with tons of sunflower seeds!! 
-DW, The Bread Barron

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Kürbiskernbrot
WOW! I am so excited to be blogging again, I have missed it!It seems like it has been forever. Although it looks as though I have not baked for two weeks, that is simply not the case. In fact, I am excited to announce that I have made my very first Hearthbakedtunes.com sale of two very authentic German rye breads. I was lucky enough to produce a rye bread for a local silent auction which brought me my first customer. My first customer ordered one Kummelbrot and one Kürbiskernbrot. I will be posting on Kürbiskernbrot today!


I have been working on revamping my sourdough rye starer, which I have recently named "Liza-May". She is a daring and is doing very well. I figured since I devote more time to bread than any other activity, I might as well personalize the process as much as possible! I am also excited to say that I am coming off a wonderful weekend with a revitalized energy source and bright optimism and it feels good! To add to my exuberance, I will be baking bagels tomorrow!!
Although I have made breads several breads with pumpkin seeds, I have never made a 'pumpkinseed bread'. This is a typical German bread, one that is a favorite of my good friend Alexander. (Who has finally booked his tickets to meet and stay with me for two weeks in JULY!!!!) We will do some baking together, and I am sure that he will have some very thoughtful things to add. Alex is one of the most thoughtful people that I know. Anyways, I did make a few changes to the original formula, which came from the Baeko website once again.

The 100% hydrated rye sourdough starter.
I changed the sourdough rye starter build to amp up the hydration from 80% to 100%. During the past month or so, Liza May has been having trouble growing overnight, so I figured the addition of 20% water would help. I also replaced some of the sesame seeds in this bread with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. As I have previsouly noted, sesame is not one of my favorite bread ingredients. However, I must admit, it is wonderful in this bread! It adds a nuttiness which could not have been achieved by the sunflower and pumpkin seeds alone. The other change that I made was toasting all of the seeds in this bread as well as toasting the rye chops that I used in this bread's soaker. The soaker actually called for rolled rye, which are made by taking rye berries and sending them through a heavy press, similar to the way oats are rolled.  I ended up using rye chops because that is what I had on hand.  I really do love these German ryes that have both a seed soaker and a starter as well. I also decided to toast the rye chops with the other seeds, I think it slightly amplified the rye flavor.
The Triple seed and rye cho soaker, my mom toasted these seeds for me, thanks Mom!
Whenever I bake breads with tons of toasted seeds, large amounts of soaker, and ample percentages of bread flour, I get excited! I feel that you really get the best of three worlds: 
First you get the wonderful taste of toasted seeds, while also softening the seeds which helps to retain gluten strength. Second, you have the wonderful texture of a crisp crust, that is not too thick, but still has a nice light taste. Lastly, you get a wonderful balance of nutrition, texture and flavor. As is my custom, I did not use the medium rye flour or the 1150 roggenmehl that was called for.  Instead, I replaced it with whole rye flour. I love whole rye. It tends to make the loaf a bit heavier, but the flavor that it incorporates, makes for a very unique bread that keeps well and tastes wonderful. I understand the place of bread flour, since wheat contains such a high amount of bran and fiber. Rye on the other hand has much less, and since it also has much less gluten, you can really get away with using more whole rye flour without changing the hydration very much. This formula did call for something called weizen Kraft, which is a trademarked Baeko product.  Personally, I had no idea what it was and could not find out, so I used whole rye in its place! It is an approach that I am becoming quite famous for. When in doubt, add more rye!Due to the high amount of soaker and the amount of seed in this bread, a relatively long mix is implemented. I mixed on first speed for seven minutes and second speed for three minutes. Had this dough contained much less bread flour, I would have used the KitchenAid Paddle attachment. I then gave this bread 45 minutes of bulk fermentation followed by an hour to proof. I used brotforms to give this bread a more symmetrical appearance. I am going to start proofing my heavier ryes, seam side down, so that they will split in the oven. This creates a very rustic and authentic appearance, that I have not been able to replicate any other way.


The next time that I bake this bread, I will toast the sesame seeds separately because they tend to cook at a different rate than the other seeds. In the future, I want to be sure that they get a stronger toast. I will also try to find roasted and salted pumpkin seeds.
This bread is a keeper, and is now one of my new favorites! I think I will add it to my frequent flyers list. Its a great bread and it is wonderful with peanut butter!
Lastly, the crumb!
Bake On-DW
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Roggenmischbrot mit Korner und Hafer



I have to be honest with you. This bread was originally called Weizenmischbrot mit Saatan und Haferkleie but I made some significant changes to the formula so I renamed the bread. Its another David Wolfe original. I changed the word "weizen" to "roggen" because I replaced the cracked wheat with rye chops. I changed "Saatan" to "Korner" because Alex explained that Saatan refers to seeds that are used to grow crops rather than those that you eat. I also changed "Haferkleie", oat bran, to "Hafer", whole oats, because I didn't have oat bran and substituted whole oats. The new name is now Roggenmischbrot mit Korner und Hafer.
Similar to all of the other German breads that I have baked this year, this loaf starts off with a rye sourdough build. This one was already 100 percent hydrated, so I did not need to make any hydration adjustments, as I explained in my last postThis bread did call for a hot water soaker because cracked grain is a much coarser grind than grain chops. And although I replaced the cracked wheat with rye chops, I still used the hot water soaker. The soaker for this bread contained sunflower seeds, flax seeds, rye chops, oats, boiling water and all of the salt in the final dough. Note that salt is often added to soakers particularly in the warmer months. This helps to reduce the enzymatic breakdown of the grains incorporated into the soaker. I recall learning about this in Hamelman's bookBread. Actually, I had a brief moment of panic when I realized that I had not added any salt to the final dough. Then I remembered that the salt was already incorporated into the grain and seed soaker.

As usual, I toasted the sunflower seeds in this soaker even though they are already roasted and salted. Heating up the oils inside the seeds allows their flavor to permeate the soaker and thusly the final dough. I never toast flax seeds. First of all, I know they are hard to absorb, and heating the oil degrades the nutritional value further.  Additionally if you try to toast them, they pop in the pan and go flying all over the place and make a big mess. Feel free to toast the oats if you wish. I feel that this is a Mickey Mouse sort of thing, because it really will not make much of a difference. In the future I will use full oat groats, which will tend to give the soaker a bit more crunch and grit.
The last change that I made to this bread was less significant.   I replaced malt extract with malt syrup. I happen to own and love malt syrup. I love the color and its robust flavor, so I always use malt syrup in place of malt extract. I also always use instant yeast in place of fresh yeast at a rate of 40%. (1 g of fresh yeast = 0.4 g of instant yeast).
Although this bread does contain a fair amount of bread flour in the final mix, is is still fairly heavy in nature and very robust in flavor. The final dough contained less than 100 grams of whole rye flour, but when you take into consideration the whole rye flour in the sourdough build and the rye chops in the grain and seed soaker, it makes a significant contribution. Had I used cracked wheat, this bread would have had much different characteristics. All in all, I am glad I made the changes. I guess that I will never know how the original would have been, so I will have to bake it in the future.

The mixing of this bread was very simple: five minutes on first speed and five minutes on second speed. The dough really did come together. About half way through the mix it looked too wet so I let it just mix for a while and it really came together perfectly. Roggenmischbrot mit Korner und Hafer is another medium heavy, full flavored rye bread that makes this baker smile!

A photo without flash to show to full bake on this bread! Chef Miscovich would be pleased!
Bake On
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Before I get into this bread I would like to to thank Karin Anderson, a colleague and blogger who has been helping with my brot's over the past few months. I recommend that you take a look at her blog Brot & BreadShe is dedicated to her craft and her love of German bread comes through in her posts. This is the first formula of hers that I have used, and although I have not yet tasted the bread, it is a beauty. Although my friend Alex has been helping me with translating, Karin has the insight of actually being a German baker. Although she never baked bread while she lived in Germany, she certainly is a German who bakes German bread. Karin knows a thing or two about a thing or two (That is at least four things)!
There are several ways that this bread is different than the normal rye breads that I bake. First of all, this bread is made with a whole wheat mother starter. I did not quite have a 100% whole wheat starter, so I fed a stiff levain at 60% hydration and gave it one feeding with whole wheat flour and provided it with a 75% hydration by flour weight. The result was a stiff levain with a good amount of whole wheat flour and a wonderful amount of gluten development. In the future, I will continue to feed this stiff levain with whole wheat flour and it will eventually come very close to becoming 100% whole wheat! Starters that are made with whole grain flours such as whole wheat, whole spelt or whole rye are stronger than their white flour counterparts. Whereas I am a Registered Dietitian, I am all about the "whole-grain" approach to bread baking and all cooking for that matter.
During this post, I will pay particular attention to the attributes in this bread which differentiate it from the typical German breads that I have been baking.
As I mentioned above, this bread is leavened with a whole wheat starter, but the build is actually fed with bread flour. This helps to develop gluten in the build and thus the final dough. Even though this build was only given eleven hours to grow, you will notice excellent growth and an almost smooth finish. Looking at it, you can see the flecks from the whole wheat starter that was used. Another difference with this bread is that it used a large amount of starer. Typically, when I bake sourdough bread, I use between 7-11 grams of sourdough starter (depending on the size of the bread) This recipe called for 114g for two 650 gram loaves. That is a nearly 16 and a half times the amount that I normally use. To give you a better idea of how much starter was used in the build, check out the picture. Karin's methods for building and feeding a sourdough starter are different. By all accounts, it is just a different technique for baking bread, one that I have simply not practiced before. It required me to build my starter up more often. If the loaf tastes as good as it looks, it will be well worth it!


Secondly, this grain soaker contained both whole wheat flour and whole rye flour. Typically, my soakers are made only of rye flour. Other than one of Hamelman's breads, they do not contain rye flour but rather chopped rye or cracked rye. Another change is that all of the rye flour in this bread is contained in the soaker. Karin notes that one can replace the rye flour with spelt flour, but I chose to use the rye. How could I refuse? Another difference was that all of the rye flour was contained in the soaker. The only other bread that I do this for is my 40% rye with caraway or Kummelbrot. I probably do not practice this because the rye breads that I make are typically at least 50% rye by flour weight. To include all of the rye in the soaker would be overkill.The next major difference was the water. There is no water used in the final dough. All of the water is contained in the soaker and in the sourdough build. My normal practice is to combine the water in the final dough with the sourdough build to help to break up the sourdough so that it is more easily distributed during the mix. This was not possible, so I tore the build into eight or nine pieces so that it would distribute during the mix. During the mix I had to take the dough off of the hook several times. I know that I should be using a paddle, but that is another practice I do not do. (That is mainly because my dough hook is in the attic and it is roughly 35 degrees Fahrenheit up there).

  The fourth big change is that the sourdough build and the soaker are prepared in the morning and the final dough is mixed at night. I always prepare the soaker and build the night before and bake the following morning. The final dough contained all of the soaker and and all of the sourdough build, plus about 90 grams of whole wheat flour, 8-10 grams of honey, a little salt and a pinch of fennel and caraway. This bread is then divided in half and allowed to ferment in the fridge over night. The next morning it is shaped into boules and then proofed in bannetons, or brotforms. The bread is then baked at 475 degrees for 10 minutes and then baked at 425 for an additional ten minutes. The loaves are then rotated 180 degrees and baked for an additional 10-20 minutes. Typically, I do not rotate my breads in the oven, but I am glad that I did for these. This rotation provided a very even color to the finished bread.


All in all, this technique was new to me in several ways, and I am glad that I was able to bake this bread. Using my intuition as a baker, I made sure to guide the process along in each its stages. Although I have not yet tasted this loaf, I am certain that it will get the "hearthbakedtunes seal of approval" and I am anxious to take my first bite! Karin has given me two more formulas to try and I am looking forward to my next brot!
I just tasted this bread and it has a nice spice to it, but I think I would prefer the taste without the fennel and caraway. I think it detracts from the rye and honey in this formula! The crumb is tight, which makes sense, there is quite a bit of whole grain but the crust is simply beautiful but a bit too thick from over baking.
-Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

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 Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! This is by far the most exciting and interesting Vollkornbrot that I have ever baked, and I have baked quiet a few of them! I got this idea from the Baeko recipe database. As you might expect, I made several changes to the original formula. This bread is loaded with whole grain goodness, a high amount of fermented flour, a high amount of soaked grain and a truckload of dried fruit and toasted nuts and seeds. My approach to this bread was to simply use the fruit and nut soaker idea and throw that into Hamelman's recipe for Vollkornbrot. The result was fantastic. However, first I would like to shed some light on the process and give you an in depth discussion of the taste and texture of this bread.

This bread is made with 100% whole rye, coming in the form of whole rye flour and rye chops. The rye chops are soaked in warm water overnight, but most of the whole rye flour is located in the sourdough build. What I want to spend most of my time talking about is the dried fruit and nut soaker. This soaker was made with 100 grams of dried cranberries, 100 grams of golden raisin, 100 grams of sliced dried apricots, 100 grams of toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds and 100 grams of boiling water. I used boiling water because I knew that the heat in the water would help to extract the natural sugars and flavors found in the dried fruit. It would also help to extract some of the salty-nutty flavor from the seeds and help to spread it throughout the entire dough during the final mix and fermentation/proofing stages of this bread.

There is something about golden raisins that I love. I am not sure what it is, but they are special to me. I do recall spending an afternoon with my good fried Isaac in 2006 eating handful after handful of golden raisins in our room in Jerusalem. I will admit to regretting it later, because that was a lot of fiber, as with anything else, I had to pay the ultimate price. But lets not "go" there. I also remember eating loquats, which are my favorite fruit, in ample quantities. I like them because they are weird and hard to come by as they are grown in the Middle East and in Bermuda. This soaker makes this bread a lot of fun because it fills the crusty bread with a tenderness and a sweetness that exceeds the typical caramelization of a fully baked rye bread. And this one took close to 90 minutes to bake. This is not a bread for the faint of heart and the fruit and nuts do bring a lightness to a bread that is not typically light. All of the ingredients including the rye, seeds, and fruit brings an intense bread to a whole new level of intensity. This bread is so delicious that it scares me!

 Like any other Vollkornbrot this is a very crusty bread. It is also a very dense bread whose character changes as it is allowed to rest. Much like ourselves, it start off as child, and with the passage of time, it becomes an almost wiser version of itself. But, if you let it get too wise, you will find that it will break your jaw. If this bread is kept in a plastic bag in the fridge, it will last for close to three weeks, maybe even longer. I never have a problem with bread going bad, because it is a major staple of my diet. When a bread is as nutritious and as wholesome as this one is, you never have a guilty feeling about going back for another slice. Over the past few days I have eaten this several ways but the two ways that I have enjoyed it most are "naked" and oddly, with cold pepper jack cheese. (For those of you who are new to this blog, the "naked" refers to the bread and not me.) The spiciness of the pepper jack goes wonderfully with the sweetness of the fruit. The next time I bake this bread I am going to withhold the walnuts and simply add some toasted salted sunflower seeds in their place. I would normally leave them out of the soaker, but once again, I love the salty flavor that the seeds can bring to the crumb when they are added to a boiling water soaker.


I now realize that I did not speak much on the production of this bread. I am currently on an Amtrak train on my way to Atlantic City, and do not have access to my notes, so I will only add a few notes from memory to shed light on a little bit of the process. This dough is mixed on first speed only, and for ten minutes. Karen H Kerr, a baker whom I respect greatly, recommends using the paddle attachment. I gave it a whirl, but it did not work so well for me. Perhaps her formula for Vollkornbrot is much different than mine. After about four or five minutes, I put the hook on and I found it to be more effective. I am a traditional in that sense and cleaning thick dough such as this off the paddle was really a pain in the batinsky! But hey, ‘live and learn and die learning’, that is what I always say. After the dough has come together completely, the fruit soaker is added and allowed to mix until combined and spread evenly throughout. My attitude is: "get the fruit in the dough and don't worry". To me, when you have a dough with this much whole rye flour, the full bake is much more important than a perfect mix. This bread dough is really somewhere between a dough and very thick batter! I always start this bread in a hot oven (470 F) then after twenty minutes bring it down to 375 and bake for one more hour. I then remove the bread from the Pullman pan and let it finish directly on the stone for 15 minutes. This helps firm up the sides a bit and ensures the bread is baked fully! It will be dark, even the flour coating on the pan will have adhered to the bread and look very toasted

This is a bread for the ages! One that I hope one day I will be remembered for!!

Bake on!

-DW, The Rye King


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hearthbakedtunes

 Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! This is by far the most exciting and interesting Vollkornbrot that I have ever baked, and I have baked quiet a few of them! I got this idea from the Baeko recipe database. As you might expect, I made several changes to the original formula. This bread is loaded with whole grain goodness, a high amount of fermented flour, a high amount of soaked grain and a truckload of dried fruit and toasted nuts and seeds. My approach to this bread was to simply use the fruit and nut soaker idea and throw that into Hamelman's recipe for Vollkornbrot. The result was fantastic. However, first I would like to shed some light on the process and give you an in depth discussion of the taste and texture of this bread.

This bread is made with 100% whole rye, coming in the form of whole rye flour and rye chops. The rye chops are soaked in warm water overnight, but most of the whole rye flour is located in the sourdough build. What I want to spend most of my time talking about is the dried fruit and nut soaker. This soaker was made with 100 grams of dried cranberries, 100 grams of golden raisin, 100 grams of sliced dried apricots, 100 grams of toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds and 100 grams of boiling water. I used boiling water because I knew that the heat in the water would help to extract the natural sugars and flavors found in the dried fruit. It would also help to extract some of the salty-nutty flavor from the seeds and help to spread it throughout the entire dough during the final mix and fermentation/proofing stages of this bread.

There is something about golden raisins that I love. I am not sure what it is, but they are special to me. I do recall spending an afternoon with my good fried Isaac in 2006 eating handful after handful of golden raisins in our room in Jerusalem. I will admit to regretting it later, because that was a lot of fiber, as with anything else, I had to pay the ultimate price. But lets not "go" there. I also remember eating loquats, which are my favorite fruit, in ample quantities. I like them because they are weird and hard to come by as they are grown in the Middle East and in Bermuda. This soaker makes this bread a lot of fun because it fills the crusty bread with a tenderness and a sweetness that exceeds the typical caramelization of a fully baked rye bread. And this one took close to 90 minutes to bake. This is not a bread for the faint of heart and the fruit and nuts do bring a lightness to a bread that is not typically light. All of the ingredients including the rye, seeds, and fruit brings an intense bread to a whole new level of intensity. This bread is so delicious that it scares me!

 Like any other Vollkornbrot this is a very crusty bread. It is also a very dense bread whose character changes as it is allowed to rest. Much like ourselves, it start off as child, and with the passage of time, it becomes an almost wiser version of itself. But, if you let it get too wise, you will find that it will break your jaw. If this bread is kept in a plastic bag in the fridge, it will last for close to three weeks, maybe even longer. I never have a problem with bread going bad, because it is a major staple of my diet. When a bread is as nutritious and as wholesome as this one is, you never have a guilty feeling about going back for another slice. Over the past few days I have eaten this several ways but the two ways that I have enjoyed it most are "naked" and oddly, with cold pepper jack cheese. (For those of you who are new to this blog, the "naked" refers to the bread and not me.) The spiciness of the pepper jack goes wonderfully with the sweetness of the fruit. The next time I bake this bread I am going to withhold the walnuts and simply add some toasted salted sunflower seeds in their place. I would normally leave them out of the soaker, but once again, I love the salty flavor that the seeds can bring to the crumb when they are added to a boiling water soaker.


I now realize that I did not speak much on the production of this bread. I am currently on an Amtrak train on my way to Atlantic City, and do not have access to my notes, so I will only add a few notes from memory to shed light on a little bit of the process. This dough is mixed on first speed only, and for ten minutes. Karen H Kerr, a baker whom I respect greatly, recommends using the paddle attachment. I gave it a whirl, but it did not work so well for me. Perhaps her formula for Vollkornbrot is much different than mine. After about four or five minutes, I put the hook on and I found it to be more effective. I am a traditional in that sense and cleaning thick dough such as this off the paddle was really a pain in the batinsky! But hey, ‘live and learn and die learning’, that is what I always say. After the dough has come together completely, the fruit soaker is added and allowed to mix until combined and spread evenly throughout. My attitude is: "get the fruit in the dough and don't worry". To me, when you have a dough with this much whole rye flour, the full bake is much more important than a perfect mix. This bread dough is really somewhere between a dough and very thick batter! I always start this bread in a hot oven (470 F) then after twenty minutes bring it down to 375 and bake for one more hour. I then remove the bread from the Pullman pan and let it finish directly on the stone for 15 minutes. This helps firm up the sides a bit and ensures the bread is baked fully! It will be dark, even the flour coating on the pan will have adhered to the bread and look very toasted

This is a bread for the ages! One that I hope one day I will be remembered for!!

Bake on!

-DW, The Rye King


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