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About a year ago when my in-laws from Switzerland visited, they brought a crown and plastic doll with them, accessories necessary for a "Drei Koenigs Kuchen" (3 Kings Cake).



Of course it was their expectations that I would miraculously produce one of these cakes. Even though never done before, I survived this challenge, but of course was not totally satisfied with the result. As my last consulting gig just ended and nothing new is ahead, this was now the time to tinker with this recipe and finalize it.


From my childhood memory I knew what I wanted to achieve, a "Wybeeribroetli" (raisin roll/bun) style roll, nicely brown and soft on the outside, with a nice yellowish spongy, regular, open and moist crumb. 7 of these buns with a large one in the middle would give then a 3 kings cake.



After only two trials I was happy with the result and my younger son approved the buns to be ready for prime time. 


Happy baking!


Thomas 



 



 



Have a look at the formula here: Rosinenbroetchen

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tssaweber

I just finshed my blog entry about our trip to the US Virgin Islands. Nothing bread worthy happend during this week, but I still would like to share one picture:


 


The story behind this sugar plantations is not that great, here the Danish played the exploiters, but to have something like this in my backyard... well on a island like this dreaming is permitted!! BTW they still use this WFO.


Thomas


(Click here to see more

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Yesterday my bread baking world got a strong hit! My wife dragged me in a nutritional health presentation. With most of the advice and recommendations presented I have no issue and I'm ok to eat raw vegetables, fruit, add parsley and cilantro to everything and drink green smoothies.


What really bothers me was that the presenter said that wheat is an extremely harsh food and the gluten in wheat is very bad for your health. Even my beloved sourdough multigrain rolls and bread she considers as bad.


I would be interested in what we as artisan bread bakers should answer to such an opinion.


 


Thomas

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tssaweber

To give my old KitchenAid a break I normally prepare two smaller batches of dough in a row, instead of one large batch. Unfortunately I forgot to account for the flour of the sourdough starter and adjust the flour of the first batch accordingly. No problem lets adjust the water with the second batch. What a stupid idea!! But with the slap and fold method of Bertinet (http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough) I was able to get myself out of trouble and the result was pretty good. But let the pictures talk:  


Everything is looking good the starter is doing its work




What a mess



Ok a little more work than planed but the dough is coming together



And I begin to like it again



Perfect.....



And the result, it smells and tastes so good.....


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tssaweber

This is the best song ever, The Bread Song:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFuhWnHtWWQ


 


Thomas

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tssaweber

Just a little sign of life to say hello and to show that I'm still happily baking, not as much as I would like too but still enjoying it very much.


The pictures show a freshly egg-washed Zopf and my spelt multigrain boule.


Thomas




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It has been quite some time since I posted on my favorite website. But (un)fortunately the business and consulting world is holding me up from blogging and bread baking. But before I disappear again in the offices of the corporate world in upstate NY, I wanted to share this picture I found by accident in one of my old bread books today.


 


My in-laws from Switzerland have celebrated New Year with us here in the super cold Midwest and brought a crown for the 3 Kings Day (1/6/2010) with them. Of course it was their expectation that I bake the traditional "Drei Koenigs Kuchen". I had to find a recipe for this to happen, but I guess I was successful.


 




I still have to work on the formula to fine tune it, but it is more or less an enhanced Zopf dough. If done I will post the formula. If some of the Swiss TFLer have their own it would be great if they could share. During the search for this recipe I found the page shared above. Of course now my quest begins to find all this cantonal formulas, bake and adapt them to the US environment.


 


Happy New Year to all.


Thomas

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Lady (most of the time) Oreo and I



are back home from our hunting trip. Looking in the freezer my return was needed (and hopefully appreciated) because that thing was empty, not a single piece of bread to be seen. Luckily I brought a frozen loaf of my simple cabin bread with me, so the next morning sandwiches for my older son and my wife for their lunches were possible. As I will be busy the next couple of days I decided to simulate a small bakery day and try to process 9kg or 20lb dough at once. On the plan I put Cabin Bread, Zopf or Swiss Sunday Bread, Farmers Bread (Ruchbrot) and Multi Grain Rolls (Vollkorn Brötli). I started in that order as my calculation indicated that this would work with available space, bulk fermentation, proof and oven times. This morning I finished the Multi Grain Rolls as I retarded fermentation of the dough in the fridge, this retardation ads to the tremendous flavor of this rolls.





These rolls are the favorite of my wife and developing the formula took some time. I'm very happy with the result and I have to make sure there is always a batch in the freezer for Sylvia's lunch sandwich. I also believe that the rye sourdough starter (St.Clair) I got from Mark Sinclair at the Back Home Bakery in Montana gave the rolls the additional flavor and that "something special".


 


Thomas


To print or download the formula go here and you can also listening to their "singing" when they come out of the oven: http://tssaweber.com/WP/thomas-bread-secrets/multi-grain-rolls-or-vollkornbrotli/

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I was ready to leave for our hideout in Wisconsin when I realized that I forgot to prepare bread to take with me. Now a week without my bread was not an option. I decided to (mis)use my rye sourdough starter St.Clair, just refreshed two days ago, and mix some dough together for my simple sourdough bread, take this dough with me and bake it in the cabin. To make the story short, I overestimated the strength of this Montana baby and the bread came out as a brick. Not too happy, I was still without bread, I looked at my options. What I found was a plastic bowl, 2 lb or 907 grams of Gold Medal AP flour, of course bleached etc., a package of active dry yeast and salt.



Well that should be enough to create a cabin bread. I mixed all the ingredients together in the bowl, measured the water with the empty root beer bottle (591ml) and stirred it together for a 65% hydrated dough. I took it out of the bowl and slapped and stretched it (Méthode Bertinet: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough) till it was a nice and firm dough. After an hour I stretched and folded (s&f) it once like Mark Sinclair (Méthode St.Clair) and then left it alone for 3 hours (had to go hunting). The cabin temperature was only 60°F so it worked out well and after this time the dough was ready for another s&f. In the meantime I heated the cabin to its normal 70ºF and after another hour, a s&f I shaped it into two loafs, let it proof for 30 min and put them in the 30 year old oven at 450ºF (more or less?). I added a little bit of water, I was afraid to much would kill this oldie, for steam, and 35 min later, tadaaa I had my simple cabin bread.




A little bit under proofed but ............ and was it good.


 


Und die Moral der Geschichte: sometimes simple things taste as good as the complicated stuff and of course I will not take bread with me from home anymore when I go up north.


 


Thomas


More pictures you find here: http://tssaweber.com/WP/2009/10/the-simple-things/

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Chouette22 posted a couple of weeks ago pictures of her Zopf (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13045/hello-switzerland-celebration-bread-and-zopf). In a reply to my post she mentioned that eggs in this bead would make it dryer or stale faster. This motivated me to experiment with my recipe, with the goal to have at the end a fully understood, easy to use and "Americanized" recipe.


To have a solid and accepted expert on my side I used Dan DiMuzio's book, "Bread Baking" to support my testing. On page 138 he defines rich dough and the effect of fat, eggs and sugar in dough. This was a good start as Zopf has all this ingredients in it. Sugar seems to be the least influential with just a little bit more than 2%, but butter (11%) eggs (14%) and to some degree milk(fat) certainly do have an impact. I also wanted to see what the difference between AP and Bread flour would be.


Zopf is the favorite bread of my younger son, so he was very supportive of this idea. He promised his friends in school to bring an entire loaf for lunch and that this bread would beat every other dad's bread. I don't know how many other dads of his friends are baking but I like that it is embedded in him that not only moms are baking and cooking.   


Using my usual recipe I had to adjust the hydration significantly using AP flour otherwise the dough would have been too wet to braid. The final result was ok from an appearance perspective but did taste too much like "normal" white bread and with the additional flour was also much dryer.


Not adding the eggs was a little bit trickier. Eggs are contributing to the hydration but also add fat and strength to the dough. I decided to substitute 75 % of the egg weight with ¾ milk and ¼ water. The dough turned out wetter than usual and I had a difficult time to roll the two strands for braiding. The final bread had less oven spring and turned out a little bit less roundish than usual. The crumb was denser and whither in color. The taste of the bread was even more like white bread.


It seems to me that adding eggs makes Zopf heavier and gives it the crumb structure I like. It also allows for more liquid without impacting the final result.


I will stick with my ingredients but have changed the process to make it easier to assemble the dough. First I add butter, salt (to make sure I don't' forget it again) and brown sugar, zero out the scale, add hot water to soften the butter, then the two eggs and with the cold milk I get to the correct total amount of liquid to balance the varying weight of the eggs. After that I add the flour and the yeast and knead 3 to 4 min on speed one and another couple of minutes, depending on how the dough develops, on speed two of my KitchenAid. 3 stretch and folds with 45 min rest, after the 3rd st&f I divide the dough, braid it and proof for 20 min. Bake for 25 min at 375˚F (convection). The bread should reach 200˚F interior temperature.


Thomas


And here the final result:





For those interested in the recipe you can print or download it here:


http://tssaweber.com/WP/thomas-bread-secrets/zopf/


The spreadsheet lets you adjust the final dough weight.

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