The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

It worked! Sourdough starter took beautifully and I baked my first loafs of good, crusty german style sourdough rye bread!

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sabinemcgrady's picture
sabinemcgrady

It worked! Sourdough starter took beautifully and I baked my first loafs of good, crusty german style sourdough rye bread!

So, I've been browsing this site for some time now, I live in Ohio USA and miss a good loaf of bread from the traditional bakers common in the German villages I grew up in. Last week after looking at a good loaf of bread at our local grocery store bakery and not wanting to shell out $4.00 for it I decided to finally try setting up a sourdough starter.  I started with a Tbsp of white bread flour and 1 Tbsp of warm water. Then I fed this twice a day, alternating with some whole wheat and rye flour. It looked like I got some action after the first three days, but by day 6 (Friday morning) I looked at it and thought it was flat, kind of slimy looking and had failed.  When I got up Saturday morning I was going to toss it, so what a surprise when I took a spoon to this mass on Sat morning and it was perfect! Light, fluffy, kind of like a mousse consistency.

I started a dough on Sat morning using 3/4 lb of white bread flour, 1/4 lb rye flour and warm water.  Left all this sit until Sat evening in the oven (off).  I was so amazed in the yeast action the sourdough gave to this dough by now.  In the evening I mixed 1 1/4 lb of white bread flour, 3/4 lb rye flour and 2 tsp of salt.  I added my sourdough mixture in the center and started adding enough warm water to mix this with more of the flour mix.  Once the center part was quite soft I started using my hands and kneading the remainder of the flour into the soft dough until I had a workable, but still soft consistency.  After some good kneading action I covered and left this to rise (which it did wonderfully) overnight.

This morning I streched the dough just a bit and shaped two loaves, then let them sit for another 1 1/2 hours.  Baked in a very hot oven, 450 deg F with a pan of boiling water on the bottom for 1 hr. and the texture and flavor are wonderful, just like going to a good bakery at home!

Oh, and before making the final dough last night (and before adding salt) I reserved some of the sourdough for the next baking. Plan on making this a regular project now!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

And your loaves look so much better than my first sourdough loaves (aka bricks). What about adding the typical German bread spices? I keep equal amounts of fennel, caraway and anise in a mill, and give a few turns into the dough. Another typical bread spice is coriander.

You might also check out my German Feinbrot recipe: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20242/karin039s-german-feinbrot

Happy baking,

Karin

 

sabinemcgrady's picture
sabinemcgrady

Hi Karin.

Thank you.  Not sure if you are from Germany (your name may suggest so?) but "Bread spices" are actually what I have an issue with here in the US. It seems that you can't buy rye bread that dosn't have Careway either whole or ground in it.  That is not typical for regular German style bread (e.g. Mischbrot, Bauernbrot), that I have ever experienced.  I will take a look at your link though, I have bread fever now!  By the way, it's only been out of the oven for about 4 hrs and the first loave is already nearing it's end.  My husband, daughter and I have been having slice after slice with butter and home-made raspberry jam - yum.

Sabine

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Not sure why, but rye breads get better after a day or so of resting.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

cheddar sandwiches with German mustard, ofc :)

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Yes, I am from Hamburg. And I do hate the overdoses of caraway in some rye breads you can find here in the US!

That was basically one the reasons I started baking breads for sale (in our local natural food store). I bought half a loaf of so called Bavarian rye - it looked good, but it was really horrible, no crust, rubbery, and so much caraway, that we couldn't eat it. And outrageously expensive to boot! I was furious and swore I could do it better...

If you look into German bread baking books, you will find that many rye or rye/wheat breads have anise, caraway and fennel, and/or coriander listed as ingredient. This mix is even called "bread spice". Adding a little bit to the dough is not really discernible, but just a hint of spice, that gives the bread very nice taste. Try it out for yourself.

And we eat also bread when it's still warm. Nothing better than fresh, crusty bread with good butter. If you look at my blog - this weekend I made "Friesisches Schwarzbrot - Friesian Rye", a multigrain with a wonderful taste (no bread spices here, just rye meal, whole wheat, sunflower, sesame and flax seeds. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18037/friesisches-schwarzbrot-friesian-rye

Karin

sabinemcgrady's picture
sabinemcgrady

Karin.  That's what I figured considering the "hanseaten" reference (Hesse hier).  Anyway, thanks for the tips, I was thinking I should increase the salt just slightly, but maybe a touch of your spices would do the trick instead.

The bread is still good today, but I agree, nothing beats fresh out of the oven, thick (slices) of unsalted butter - oh my!  My daughters grew up in Germany until they were 5 and 7, so they know to appreciate a good slice like that. 

My next challenge will be to improve my crumb. My goal here was making a good Mischbrot (so, probably Feinbrot up north).  I may increase the rye content just a bit.  It is a little denser than I would like to have it, even though surprisingly moist.  Any tips on how to get more "spring" and air pockets into the texture?

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Before I got married and moved to the US I lived in Bad Nauheim for about 7 years. 

Anna

 

 

sabinemcgrady's picture
sabinemcgrady

very small village, part of Dillenburg - 30k to Giessen, 100k to Frankfurt

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

the gymnasium, my class took a field trip up there :)

Welcome to TFL, Sabine !

Anna

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

your bread turned out quite remarkable, Sabine.

The longer you maintain your sourdough, the better it works (when I baked just one bread a week, I also retained 3/4 cup of the bulk risen dough for the next bake, salt and all).

Whether you have an opener crumb or not, depends on the strength of the leaven (your sourdough will get better over time), the hydration (I would recommend keeping notes how much you added per flour, then you can make changes when you bake it again), the technique, and the type of flour. The more whole rye you use, the denser the dough will become (unless you pump it with a lot of additional yeast = very undesirable).

Happy baking,

Karin

sabinemcgrady's picture
sabinemcgrady

Thanks, I am very encouraged by this sourdough rising so well, so additional yeast dosn't seem the way to bo.  I was so impressed with this rise and it has a really nice sour flavor already.

Was talking to my mom while it was in the oven and she suggested doing a "salt" wash. She never baked bread herself, but remembers when she was little and grew up during WW2 my Grandmother baked all their bread. Their was a "backinghouse" in the village that people took turns in, with big stone-wood ovens.  So, I was skyping with her and dad when taking the bread out of the oven and they said there used to be a bucket of salted water with a big paint brush in it. When bread got pulled out it would get a quick brushing and go back in the oven for a few minutes for a shiny crust.

I didn't try it, I wanted a good crust and had got my oven as hot as possible with a pot of boiling water for steam in the beginning.  By the way, the crust is now soft after two days, as I ended up putting the rest in a freezer bag to stay fresh.  It was the very best the first day, nice and crusty.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

The crust will always soften in a plastic bag - and, also, the bread will mold faster. Keep it in a brown paper bag, then the moisture is not trapped inside, it will be fine for three days or so.

I usually freeze half of a loaf (after it's totally cooled), because we can't eat it fast enough. If you let it thaw at room temperature, without the freezer bag, it will taste like new (whole grain breads) . White, crusty, French or Italian type of breads should be sprayed with water and re-crisped in the oven.

I put the last bit of bread only into a plastic bag, if it starts getting too hard - and then I toast it. Or if it is an enriched sandwich loaf, meant for toasting, anyway. Nothing spoils a nice, crusty bread faster than plastic bags!

Karin