The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hearthbakedtunes's picture
hearthbakedtunes

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

hearthbakedtunes's picture
hearthbakedtunes

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

whosinthekitchen's picture
whosinthekitchen

 


GERMAN BROTCHEN


The German brotchen is a hot milk bread that kneads together yielding a smoothly elastic dough. This makes great rolls and buns. The best is to eat it warm with your favorite cheese or jam. I have searched online for other brotchen recipes. An internet search did not turn up a brotchen recipe for awhile but now several are available. However, none are identical to the one I got on that wonderful trip to Germany in the 80’s from a nice German lady.  The US Army officer husband helped convert metric measures to English.  This has to be the best travel souvenir I have ever returned home with!
Here I share my recipe for you to enjoy: 
GERMAN BROTCHEN


Mix first three ingredients. 
1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1 Tbsp yeast
Add: 3/4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
When well blended
Add 1 cup flour 
Beat this with a wooden spoon until bubbles appear in the pancake like batter.
Add more flour a cup at a time to make a dough you can no longer stir.
(This recipe uses about 4 cups of flour total; today I used 34 ounces weighed on a scale because I live in South Florida where the air is HEAVY and measuring by volume doesn't work.)
Knead for 10 minutes adding as little flour as possible until the dough is satiny and not sticky. The dough should be firm, and give to the touch. Place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise for 45 minutes (depending on the temp and humidity.  I lived in Wichita and found it a dryer climate yielding shorter proofing times for my breads.) The dough should more than double in size. Degas and remove the dough from bowl onto a floured surface. Knead 4 or 5 times and divide into 10 pieces for large burger size buns or 16 for buns. Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal generously and evenly space rolls. Allow to rise again (about 30 minutes) covered with plastic wrap you have brushed lightly with oil. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. When the oven is to temperature place rolls into bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until lightly golden. (I do not score the buns because the ones I had in Germany had a smooth top)  I do splash 1/8 cup water into my gas convection oven three times in 20 second intervals to create my crust at the beginning of the bake time.  Remove to cooling rack.


brotchen


I was unsuccessful in getting rid of the blank box. 


Enjoy! 


Lisa



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