The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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

nellapower's picture
nellapower

I have been lurking in the forum for over two years now, soaking up all that I could about sourdough bread-baking. All this time, I wished there was something that I could give back, that I could share with the community. Seeing that I am still a bread amateur compared to you guys, I thought I will have to wait a few more years for this blessed moment. But today, as I was getting my kitchen ready for baking, it hit me. There actually is something I can share with you: my recipe and my experience with baking Dresden Christmas Stollen. I know, there is already one recipe around by harrygerman. My recipe is similar, but with even more butter and fruit. This stollen is an amazing thing: rich, heavy, and fruity. The dough is different from anything else I know and a little tricky to work with. Before I give you the recipe and the technique, I will start by telling you a little about the history of Dresden Stollen. Seeing that there are very different stollen recipes around, I think you need this little introduction to understand how the Dresden stollen is different and why it is worth making, despite all the effort.

In Saxony (the region in the East of Germany, where Dresden is), stollen has been a tradition Christmas bread for centuries (the first written documents about stollen are from the 1329). At that time, however, stollen was a light, yeasted bread, containing nothing but flour, water, yeast and sometimes oil. It was sold and eaten during he pre-Christmas period of Advent fast. Saxony was then catholic, so the use of any richer ingredients such as butter or milk was strictly forbidden. The Saxon rulers, however, were apparently dissatisfied with their Advent bread, so they applied to the pope for a permission to use butter in their stollen. The pope allowed this in 1491, on the condition that they atone for their sin by donating liberally to the church. Although meant only for the rulers and gentry, the pope's permission was quickly applied with much more liberation. Maybe to compensate for centuries of butter-free fasting, the Saxons transformed the stollen into a rich, buttery bread stuffed with fruits. No longer a fast meal, the stollen became a Christmas celebration bread. After a while Saxony turned protestant, but the stollen remained. Of course, with its centuries of tradition, the title "Dresden Stollen" was soon used for trading purposes, unfortunately not always with high-quality products. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the traditional Dresden stollen bakeries fought against the on-slough of so-called Dresden stollen. Today, "Dresdner Stollen" is a registered trademark and only selected backers from Dresden area can use it, provided that their stollen meet criteria with regard to the minimum amount of butter and dried fruits.

Enough of history, let's look at the bread. A real Dresden stollen contains at least 500g Butter and 650g sultanas per 1000g flour. This makes it extremely heavy and rich. Furthermore, the stollen is traditionally heavily coated in icing sugar. The bread needs to ripe for at least 3 weeks in order to develop its flavours and texture and keeps in proper conditions easily for several months. I have started baking stollen some ten years ago, when I moved to Dresden. I now bake 2-3 batches each year before Christmas. For my husband, stollen is something to look forward to throughout the whole year. Even when we spent six month in Finland last year, there was no questions that I will bake his beloved stollen. The recipe that I have here is based on a century old recipe for Dresden Christmas stollen, that Dresden bakeries use as a foundation. Of course, I have adapted it to suit our tastes. You are free to do the same. Just what ever you do, do not cut down the fat! Without the fat, the stollen will never keep as long and it will not develop the proper texture and taste. The same goes for the amount of fruits. You can play with the sugar though, for example leave out the sugar coat (I prefer our stollen uncoated).

Right, enough said, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1000 g flour (fine, weak flour; all purpose flour should do nicely)
250 g cream
42 g fresh yeast (or 14 g dried yeast)
500 g butter (or 450g butter and 50g lard or tallow)
1 g ground mace
0,5 g ground cinnamon
0,5 g ground cardamom
zest of 1 lemon
150 g sugar (I use Muscovado whole-cane sugar)
50 g candied lemon peel (instead I make my own by soaking peel from two lemons in honey
for several days)
150 g candied orange peel (instead, I soak peel from 4-5 oranges in honey)
500 g sultanas
250 g currants
100 g rum (optional, I use Amaretto instead)
200 g ground almonds
+ extra butter (approx. 250 g)
+ extra fine castor sugar (approx. 100 g)
+ extra icing sugar (at least 250 g)

0. Save the date
It's important not to start baking stollen too late. My personal experience with this recipe is that they need at least 4 weeks, ideally 6 weeks before you cut into them. Really! We always cut our first stollen on the first Advent Sunday, so I bake my first batch 10 weeks before Christmas. I bake my second and sometimes third batch about 5-6 weeks before Christmas, partly for us and partly as presents for friends.

0. Preferment
The stollen dough is very heavy and it will need a strong yeast activity to raise it. For this purpose, I like to preferment a portion of the flour. I take 300g of the flour, break in 21g yeast, and knead it with 250g cream. I leave it to ferment for 1 hour by room temperaure and than for 12-24 hours in the fridge. You can also use sourdough in the preferment. I have successfully baked sourdough-only stollen, you just need to let them rise longer.

0. Soaking
Place the sultanas and currents in a large bowl. If you are using alcohol, pour it over the fruit. Add enough boiling water to cover the fruit. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes, but best over night. It is important to soak the fruit even if you are not using alcohol, or else it will burn in the oven. Don't forget to drain the fruit well before you start making the dough to make it as dry as possible.

1. Dough
I sieve the flour onto a working surface (this definitely does not work in a bowl). Break in the remaining 21g of yeast (you can leave this out, just adjust the rising time). Rub the lemon zests into the sugar and mix the sugar into the flour, together with the mace, cinnamon, and cardamom. If you are wondering about the small amounts, the stollen is not supposed to taste very spicy. However, this is your stollen, so you can add any spices you like. Cut the preferment into small pieces and distribute it on the edges of your flour mound and do the same with the butter/lard. Now comes the kneading. Be warned, that you will need about 30 minutes to knead the dough. You can try it in your mixere, but make sure your mixer can take it. Better invest the time or coax a physically strong friend or relative into helping. Start by taking a few pieces of the preferment and the butter and kneading them together. As you do this, the dough-lump in your hands will turn sticky. Place it in the middle of your flour mound and knead it there, until so much flour has been incorporated that it's dry again. Now take some more preferment and butter and knead them in your lump. This will make it sticky again, so add flour. And so on and so on. At some point, the dough-lump may become difficult to handle. Feel free to cut and put aside about two thirds of it and continue kneading with the rest. You can put the pieces together in the end. Do not be tempted into adding more flour or any liquids. Trust me, just keep kneading, it will all be well in the end. As you work, the kitchen will be slowly filled with the smell of lemon zest and the spices - Christmas is on the way!



2. Fruits
You are tired, your fingers ache and you are a proud owner of a homogeneous dough lump that reminds you of short-bread dough. Congratulations, let's add the fruit. Take your drained sultanas and currants and mix them with the ground almonds. This will help soak up the remaining liquid. Mix them with the candied orange and lemon peel and pour the whole lot on your working surface. You might have the urge to check the recipe now, because you think you have too much fruit. But it really can be incorporated into you dough-lump. First, cut the dough-lump into 5 pieces. Start by working the first piece into the fruit. As the fruit is wet, this will make it all turn into a strange paste. Keep adding piece by piece, until the whole lot is incorporated. Don't worry if you feel more like making mudpies. Place the whole mass into a bowl and clean your working surface with a dough scraper. Now evaluate the dough. Is it like a soft short-bread or cookie dough? Than you are done with it. If it's too wet and soft (probably it will be), dust the working surface with flour, turn the dough onto it and carefully work in a little more flour. Not too much, though, the dough should be just about manageable. You won't need to make anything fancy with it, so as long as it does not stick to the work surface or your hands like crazy, it's fine.



3. Divide, form, and rise
Divide the dough into 2-5 pieces. For us, I prefer to make two large stollen. This size apparently has a positive influence on the texture of the stollen later on. But you can make several smaller stollen, too, for example as gifts. Just don't forget to adjust the baking time. Form each stollen into a rough, high log. Just pat it into shape - no rolling, no stretching. Just a note here: the traditional Dresden stollen has no almond paste inside. With all the dried fruit and its sugar coat, I also think that it does not need it. But it's your stollen, so if you like, add it now. Put the formed stollen on a baking sheet with baking paper (make sure the stollen are far enough apart) and let it rise for about 2 hours (more, if you are using only sourdough or less yeast). The stollen will become a little puffy, nothing more. It will definitely not double.

4. Score and bake
There is a traditional way of forming a Dresden stollen. I use a different, simple way used for stollen from Thuringia (another region in Germany). It's easier and the stollen are less flat, so they are also moister. Basically, you just make a log and then you score it with a single cut all the away down the stollen's back. That's it. I score the stollen directly before putting it into the oven. I don't preheat the oven, just pop it in and bake it at 180°C for approx. 1-1,5 hours. Keep a watchful eye on the stollen. Cover it with aluminium foil if it has turned brown before its time and adjust the time according to the size of the stollen.


5. Coat
This is an optional step. Traditional stollen is heavily coated in sugar. If you want to  coat the stollen, brush it with liquid butter (as much as the stollen can soak up) immediately after taking it out of the oven. Than sprinkle it heavily with fine castor sugar. The castor sugar will soak up any access butter. Wait for the stollen to cool and sprinkle it with a very thick layer of icing sugar. As I wrote, I skip this step. Firstly, I find the coated stollen too sweet and secondly it makes a mess when storing. Alternatively, it is also possible to store uncoated stollen and brush it with butter and coat it in sugar right before cutting into it.

6. Store
The stollen has to be stored for at least 4 weeks (I recommend 6) before cutting into it. If you cut it earlier, you will be disappointed. Cutting it later is even better. Stollen store best in an old fashioned cool celler, with high humidity. If you don't have such a cellar, you can store stollen outside in wooden boxes provided that your climate is cool enough (that's what I do). Otherwise store the stollen in the coolest room of your house, but not in the fridge. Some people like to freeze the stollen, I don't think its necessary and it has a negative impact on the texture. If you are storing stollen in a cellar or outside, simply wrap it in cotton cloth and put it in a wooden box, so that it can breathe. Otherwise wrap it well in a plastic or aluminium foil. The idea is that if you cannot provide an environment with high humidity, such as cellar or outside, you should prevent the stollen from drying out. That's it, now wait.

7. Eating
If you cut into a stollen 2-3 weeks after baking, you will be disappointed. It will taste fine, but the crumb will be far too dry. Don't give up and put the stollen away again and wait a little longer. The texture will change over time and after six weeks it will have a short-bread-like crumb and the taste will be a mixture of spices and fruits, all rolled into a buttery, sweet bliss.

So to sum up, a Dresden stollen is not hard to bake. All it takes are good quality ingredients, some muscle and a lot of patience. The reward is a truly unusual bread. Although I am not German and grew up baking other Christmas goodies, stollen has become to me a personification of Christmas. You take the best, you do your best, you wait for the occasion, and then you enjoy it in full.

I hope someone might have a go at my Christmas stollen. I'll be happy to help you.

Best, Nella

UnConundrum's picture

Need help translating German recipe

August 11, 2010 - 5:29am -- UnConundrum
Forums: 

I need some help translating an ingredient in a German recipe for Rosetta rolls.  The word that has me is "proteinweizen."  I'm guessing it means "wheat gluten," but I'm not sure.


The whole recipe in German is:



970 g Mehl, T.550 


15 g Proteinweizen 


15 g Weizensauer


10-30 g Hefe 


20 g Salz


50 g Oliven-Öl 


ca 580 g Wasser

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



CottageCrafts's picture

New member from New Zealand

April 11, 2010 - 1:56pm -- CottageCrafts

Hello forum,


just wanted to say hello. We are two German immigrants living since over 10 years in New Zealand now. We live on our 100 acres farm and have milking goats, cows, sheep, chicken etc. We try to be as selfsufficient as possible. I run a small business selling cheese making equipment for the home cheese maker. But my main job is a software engineer and I work from home office. My wife is doing the farm work and I help on the weekend and in the evenings.

FloridaJeeper's picture

Greetings from southwest Florida!

February 24, 2010 - 1:39pm -- FloridaJeeper

I discovered this web site by accident yesterday, and I LOVE IT!  I'm trying to learn my way around (I've never written in a forum before!), and I look forward to meeting some of you and sharing information.  What a great learning opportunity.  I have been baking bread since 1994, and since my husband is German, I like to make the Old World-style breads...the artisan breads just absolutely win my heart!

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