The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

German Bread

hanseata's picture

Facebook friend and co-baker David Wolfe asked me to help him understand some terms in a German recipe. Google translate (always good for a laugh!) is not too fluent in professional German baking lingo.

The formula, published by a German bakers' association, Bäko Gruppe Nord, seemed quite intriguing, combining rye meal and cracked wheat with mustard and cheese. The amounts, of course, were calculated for a commercial bakery (19 kg/43 lb), as were the instructions.

My curiosity was wakened, especially after I saw David's appetizing photos in his blog "Hearth Baked Tunes" so I downsized the formula for two small loaves.

The original recipe requires 16% of the white flour as preferment, all the remaining flour, including the coarse grinds, is worked into the final dough. The breads are baked "bei Brötchentemperatur" ("at roll temperature") - leaving hapless hobby bakers clueless as to what that might be.

But I don't donate for nothing to Wikipedia, a quick research at the German site showed me the light: the breads were to be baked at 465ºF/240ºC.

Since I'm a friend of long fermentation (also from a physician's point of view,) I re-wrote the procedure from using just a small amount of preferment,  to preferment plus soaker for the coarse ground rye and wheat, as well as an overnight bulk fermentation.

I can honestly say I never noticed a difference between adding the salt with all the other ingredients, or adding it later to the almost finished dough, as the recipe stated. Peter Reinhart (my guru) mixes everything together at the same time, and I do, too.

For the cheese you can choose between Gouda or Tilsiter. I don't care for stinky cheeses, so I went for the Dutch. Though the recipe didn't specify what kind, I was sure that middle aged cheese (18-month) would work better, as I use it for gratins. Young Gouda is too mild, and really old Gouda unnecessary expensive.

I was very pleased with the result, a beautiful red golden bread, covered with seeds, with a pleasant spiciness, but not too much. It tasted great with cold cuts, and was a wonderful surprise when toasted: a bread with in-built grilled cheese!

The crumb has a nice yellow color from the mustard

SENFBROT - MUSTARD BREAD  (2 small loaves)


140 g/5 oz bread flour

  84 g/3 oz water

    1 g/ 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

    2 g/0.12 oz salt



104 g/3.7 oz wheat meal, coarse

  70 g/2.5 oz rye meal

130 g/4.4 oz water

    3 g/0.12 oz salt


Final Dough

all preferment

all soaker

556 g/19.6 oz bread flour

  15 g/0.5 oz instant yeast

  16 g/0.6 oz salt

408 g/14.3 oz water

  66 g/2.3 oz mustard

122 g/4.3 oz middle aged Gouda (18 month old), coarsely grated or cut in chunks

 mustard for brushing

sunflower or pumpkin seed for topping (I used pumpkin seed)


After shaping the loaves are brushed with mustard - I used a medium-hot one from Düsseldorf

DAY 1:

In the morning, mix preferment and soaker. Leave at room temperature until using.

In the evening, mix all final dough ingredients at low speed (or by hand) for 1 - 2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 6 minutes, adjusting with a little more water or flour, if necessary (but beware: dough should be somewhat sticky, clearing only sides of bowl, but stick to bottom!)

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface. With oiled hands, stretch and pat it into a square, first fold top and bottom in thirds, like a business letter, then do the same from both sides.

Gather dough into a ball, place seam side down into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Repeat S & F 3 times, at 10 minute intervals. After last fold, place dough in lightly oiled container with lid and refrigerate overnight. (I divide the dough at this point already in halves, and refrigerate them in two containers.)

DAY 2:

Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before using.

Preheat oven to 465ºF/240ºC, including baking stone and steam pan. Place seeds for topping on a plate.

Shape dough into 2 boules, brush them with mustard, and then roll them in sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Place breads, seam side down, on parchment lined baking sheet, and proof, until they have grown 1 1/2 times their original size.

Bake for 15 minutes, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water. Remove steam pan, and rotate breads 180 degrees.

Reduce temperature to 210ºC/410ºF,  and continue baking for another 25 minutes, or until breads are a deep reddish brown, sound hollow when thumped at the bottom, and register at least 200ºF/93ºC.

Let breads cool on a wire rack.


After brushing the loaves with mustard, they are rolled in pumpkin seeds.

Submitted to YeastSpotting

frenchcreek baker's picture


February 22, 2012 - 4:47pm -- frenchcreek baker





MARCH 10-15, 2012

Günter Franz 

Guest Instructor European Master Baker

                              Small Class Size         Hands-On         Wood Fired Oven 


Learn the inside secrets to making European baked goods and specialty German breads. 

GermanFoodie's picture

German Sourdough Rye

November 6, 2011 - 9:50am -- GermanFoodie

Sourdough is as old as humankind, or at least that is what I would like to think. This is how bread baking must have started: let a bowl with hydrated flour stand somewhere, and magically it rises at some point. It took mankind until the 17th century to figured out what organism actually worked that magic.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

During the last two weeks I revisited the formula posted earlie in my blog:

with some modifications in flour composition.

Each time I return to this formula I am amazed about the eae of the mix and bake and the richness and quality of the outcome.

I won't repeat the whole process here, just as a reminder:

1. Preferment with wholegrain or medium rye, 80% hydration, 10% of mature starter, ripe after ca. 12 hours.

2. Fairly short mix, if using yeast the bulk proof is about 30 to 60 minutes, the final is 60 to 90 minutes.

I used the Shipton Mill Irish Soda Bread flour for the first time - it's a high extraction flour which has still bits of bran in it - that is why I call it "almost wholegrain wheat" in my formulas. A miche using this flour only is on my TODO list.


Added a comment with another take on this formula (30% rye), now with crumb shot:

Here some pictures:

This bread is based on the "Mischbrot" with 50% rye.

Here the straight formula:

Wholegrain Rye 23% ( used in preferment)

Medium Rye 27%

Wholegrain Spelt 20%

(Almost) Wholegrain Wheat 21% (Shipton Irish Soda Bread flour)

Bread flour 8%

Salt 2%

Instant Yeast 0.3%

The process is as in the above post.

Below a crumb shot:

Very deep, rich flavor, and a surprising lightness.

The following pictures shows the results of another bake, from left:

40% rye with wg rye in the starter, medium rye and bread flour for the remaining flours (scaled at 750g)

70% rye with wg rye in the starter, medium rye and Shipton's Irish Soda Bread flour for the rest (scaled at 750g)

An experiment with desem type starter, 100% wg wheat (scaled at 1500g)

Here the crumb shots, from left:

70% rye, 40% rye, WW

The details:

70% Rye - straight formula

Wholegrain Rye 28% (from preferment at 80% hydration)

Medium Rye 42%

(Almost) Wholegrain Wheat 30%


Salt 2%

Instant Yeast 0.3%

40% Rye straight formula:

Wholegrain Rye 20% (from preferment at 80% hydration)

Medium Rye 20%

Water 72%

Bread Flour 60%

Salt 2%

Instant Yeast 0.3%

100% Wholegrain Wheat with desem starter

I built the preferment with wholegrain wheat at 50% hydretion, inoculated with a small amount of rye starter, over two elaborations (24 hours each at ca. 18C ambient temperature).

The straight formula I used:

Wholegrain Wheat 100%

Water 75%

Salt 2%

Flour from preferment: 30%

Bulk proof ca. 2 hours, final 3 hours, at ca. 24C

This was a first try, and I am pleased with it. It developed a great wheaty taste after three (!) days.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

For some time I have been looking for German bread formulas, although not systematically. Some time ago I came across Meister Süpke's Blog about sourdough, and setting up a German group at my Son's school gave me finally the incentive to try out Mr Süpke's formulas for bread using the "Detmolder Einstufen-Führung" as I agreed to provide the bread.

Bread according to these formulas (see German Baking Day) can be made with various amounts of wheat and rye using a stiff rye starter at 80% hydration that has been refreshed with 5%-10% mature starter and kept at 24C to 28C for 12 to 18 hours. The Detmolder single step process uses a small amount of commercial yeast in the final dough.

The yeast content raised some questions: Is it necessary? Is the bread loosing sourdough characteristics? Are the bakers in Germany giving up quality in favor of quantity?

From Meister Süpke I got the answer that he could make the bread without yeast added, but in order to get through his schedule he has one hour for the final proof, which is being archieved by adding 1% yeast or less.

Another answer comes from Daniel DiMuzio's book Breadmaking: For some formulas he says one can add up to 0.7% of instant yeast without changing the character of the bread significantly, e.g. p.232, San Francisco Style Sourdough

Well, I wanted to know if the yeast does more than cutting the prooving times short, so I did some comparative baking.

First some pictures.

The 60% Rye loaves:


The 30% and 100% rye loaves:



Quite surprisingly, there is hardly any noticeable difference in the appearance the bakes with and without yeast. The slightly higher volume of the loaves with altus are due to the additional amount of altus in the dough, I didn't scale those down to 500g.

The loaves with altus were also a bit chewier and tasted more earthy. There was a slight difference between the 60% rye with and without yeast, the sourdough only version being milder. And the 100% rye with yeast maintained a bit of the starter's fruity notes.

The only striking difference loies in the times for the final proof, as shown in the table with the formulas below.

This experiment would suggest that the yeast is not necessary, but it is a great tool to fit this type of bread into a production schedule without the loss of quality. I would be very interested to hear if anyone has different experiences.

Now to some details about the process:


All the breads in this comparison call for a rye starter with 80% hydration. For the 60% rye batch I used wholegrain rye flour, for the others I used light rye flour (Type 997). I am maintaining a liquid wholegrain rye "mother" at 200% hydration, which is very reliable and worked well as a seed culture.

The starters were made in two elaborations (same process for wholegrain and light rye starters):

 1. 100% flour, 80% water, 10% mother fermented at 24C for 16 hours

2. 100% flour, 80% water, 10% starter from (1) fermented at 24C for 16 hours

This way the original liquid "mother" makes up just 1% of the starter - no worries about the wrong hydration or grain. The starters rose well to about four times their original volume, and had a nice tangy smell. The light rye starter developed a very nice fruity-flowery smell.

The altus (fresh "old bread", 80% rye) has been added to the water for the 2nd elaboration to soak. No aditional water added. There was very little difference in the starter consistency with and without altus.

Ingredient100% Rye100% Rye + Yeast60% Rye60% Rye + Yeast60% Rye + Altus60% Rye + Yeast + Altus30% Rye30% Rye + Yeast
Straight Formula, in baker's percent
Wholegrain Rye  60606060  
Light Rye100100    3030
Wholegrain Wheat  8888  
White Wheat  323232327070
Instant Yeast 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Altus    1010  
Wholegrain Rye from starter  25252525  
Light Rye from starter3535    1818
Final Dough, in grams
Wholegrain Rye  186186186186  
Light Rye187187    3636
Wholegrain Wheat  25252525  
White Wheat  99999999209209
Instant Yeast 1 1 1 1
Altus    1010  
Timing in minutes,
Ambient Temperature28C28C27C27C27C27C24C28C
Bulk Rise4040404040404030
Final Proof65501037484569060
Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

At my son's school we are starting a German expat's learning group to give our children some idea of German culture, like watching Biene Maja, playing Mau Mau and .. of course... German supper, usually some bread with different toppings such as sausage and cheeses and cold meats.

This gave me the push to start investigating how to make tge breads I miss over here. It's not the multigrain ones - I have a craving for different kinds of "Mischbrot" - bread that is made up of (light) rye flour, and wheat flour. Usually it is leavened with a rye sourdough, and some yeast is added in the final mix.

The overall percentage of rye can  vary from 30 to 99% (100% would be a rye bread, "Roggenbrot") If there is more than 50% rye it's called Roggen-Mischbrot, if it's less than it's a Weizen-Mischbrot.

Meister Suepke gives in his Sourdough blog a general formula for the process called "Detmolder Einstufen-Fuehrung", bread made with sourdough which has been made in a single stage (as opposed to the intricate Detmolder 3 stage process), and he also gives hints how to scale this to different wheat contents.

I found that his formula corresponds very well with many of the rye formulas in Hamelman's "Bread", so I played a bit with the ratios and was very pleased with the outcome.

== Update 23/06/2011: Added some new photos and formulas at the end

== Update 12/05/2012: Added link to Google Docs spreadsheet

Enough words for now - here is a photo of what I made for the supper tomorrow: 80% rye with soaker according to Hamelman (tin loafs, could have baked a bit longer), 60% rye after Suepke (ovals) and 30% rye after Suepke (fendu)

Here the procedure:

All breads use the same sourdough:

100% wholemeal rye

80% water

5% ripe starter

The sourdough has fermented at 23-25C for 14 hours

The doughs (The percentages are in a table below):

Ingredient80% Rye60% Rye30% Rye
Wholegrain rye136  
Wholegrain rye from soaker111g  
Light rye 196g69g
Wheat flour110g226g402g
Water from soaker111g  
Instant Yeast2.7g1.8g1.8g


The procedure is roughly the same for all breads:

Mix and work the dough, rest for 30 minutes, shape, proof for 40 to 60 minutes, bake at 220C for 25 to 35 minutes (500g loaves)

The soaker for the 80%rye is prepared at the same time as the sourdough: pour boiling water over the flour, mix and cover.

The doughs with more wheat should show some gluten development.

/* Update */

On the evening of the bake I couldn't wait - I cut the breads and posted the crumbshots above.

And I tasted them - the lighter breads are very satisfactory - beautiful elastic crumb and a rich taste with a good level of acidity - this is what I wanted.

The 80% turned out lighter color than I expected - I think I baked a bit too early and not long enough, but the taste is very promising (this bread should be cut and eaten at least 24 hours after the bake, it will get darker by then).

For reference here is the table with the percentages following Suepke's formula. I scaled the water down to 70% for 20% rye Mischbrot which works well. Sourdough as above.









































Fresh yeast










Fermented flour





















Here is the aabove table in Google Docs:

You can export the spreadsheet as Excel (with all the formulas) and scale the dough according to your needs.

You can adjust the expected dough weight, hydration of starter, surplus amount of starter and scaling weight.

Happy Baking,



Using the above percentages and procedures I made 3 different "Mischbrot" variations:

1. 30% Rye using wholegrain rye starter and flour and caraway (about 2%)

2. 50% Rye using light rye starter and flour, and  bread flour

3. 50% Rye using wholegrain rye and wholegrain wheat.  The flours for the final dough and the water have been mixed and left to soak overnight.

Here a photo:

The 30% rye is among the most delicious breads I've made so far. Light and hearty, and goes well even with jams, despite the caraway. (I get the feeling that I will have to bake lots of those in the coming weeks...)

The 50% mixes were inspired by my search for Kommissbrot (German army bread), which has been introduced during WW1, but found its way into the shops (and is still there). Originally it was - according to WiKi - a 50:50 wholegrain rye/wheat mix with sourdough and yeast.

The 50% rye with light flours is not bad, but a bit boring, but the wholegrain version certainly will stay in my repertoire: A very rich, complex taste with a strong wheat component and quite a bit of acid, like a mix between a 100% rye  and a levain with wholegrain. The crumb feels light and springy, despite its look. I'm very pleased.


Mason's picture

Sourdough miche from Soluna Brot und Oel, Berlin

March 19, 2011 - 10:14am -- Mason

At the recommendation of a TFLer (CarlSF) I just visited Soluna Brot und Oel as part of my visit to Berlin.

Oh my goodness!!  The piece of miche I just bought there was possibly the best bread I have ever eaten in my life.  Incredibly sour and rich, with a dense but moist crumb and a good chewy crust.

I may have to make another visit for a full miche the morning I fly out.

Photos below:


Mason's picture

Berlin Bakeries, breads, ingredients?

March 16, 2011 - 11:36am -- Mason

Hi Everyone,

I'm going to be in Berlin for a week (East near Alexanderplatz for a few days tourism, then in the South West near Dahelm for a few days at a conference) starting this weekend (March 19).  

I know that if I was going to Paris I'd have a longish list of bakeries to which I'd need to make pilgrimages.

Do any of you TFLers know of bakeries in Berlin that one really should visit?  If I'm seeking out a Werzelbrot (related to Pain a l'Ancienne, I'm told), are there sources?  

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