The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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shakleford's picture
shakleford

This was something of an unusual weekend in bread-baking for me in that I made two recipes that were fairly experimental.  I just posted my experience with this week's sandwich bread, a 100% sprouted wheat bread.  My dinner bread this week was the German Sourdough Rye recipe from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.  I had not originally planned to make this, but got both whole wheat and rye sourdough starters going this past week and just couldn't resist trying one out.  I was leaning toward this recipe for my first attempt, and decided to give it a try after reading some positive reactions from other Fresh Loafers.

My preparation started Thursday night when I began striving to get my rye starter as active as possible (thanks to advice I got here earlier in the week).  I followed Laurel's directions for this starter, which means that it's around 200% hydration, but even so it was doubling between feedings.  I may stiffen it up in the future, but want to keep it like this for now to experiment (by way of comparison, my new whole wheat starter follows the 75% hydration instructions in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads).

On Friday evening, I added a bit of rye flour and water to create a much stiffer mixture, what Laurel calls the "basic sour".  This sat overnight, then more rye flour and water were added on Saturday to turn it into the so-called "full sour".  No pictures of these, since they were pretty nondescript.  The basic sour did have a terrific aroma after fermenting overnight, however.

Around four hours after forming the full sour, it was time to add the final ingredients.  These included a good amount of yeast, so I haven't really proven whether my starter can leaven anything, but I decided not to deviate from the recipe on my first try.  Other than the yeast, flour, and water, the only ingredient was caraway seeds, making this a much leaner bread than most of Laurel's.

One piece of advice in the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book that I've found quite useful is her technique on steaming bread.  The dough is placed into a casserole (a two-quart, round-bottom Pyrex dish in my case) to proof, then just before baking, several tablespoons of water are added to the casserole and the lid is placed on top.  It's a very convenient method of steaming, plus it gives your bread a neat shape.  I'm not yet experienced enough to tell whether it's as effective as other methods.  Below is a picture of the setup at the beginning of proofing.  I added a bit of cornmeal, partly to help prevent the loaf from sticking to the pan and partly because I think it complements the rye very nicely.

After adding the final ingredients, the only recommended rise was a 45-minute proof.  Because the bread was made of 2/3 rye flour and 1/3 whole wheat, I was not expecting much of a rise and did not check on the dough during this time.  Oops!  When I came back, I was greeted with the below site and popped it into the oven as quickly as possible.

I was a bit worried about overflowing my casserole after that proof, but fortunately the bread did not rise much further in the oven.  I rarely get spectacular oven spring from breads with a high percentage of rye, so I'm unsure how much of this was due to my overpoofing and how much was due to the nature of the recipe.  In any case, here are photos of the resulting crust and crumb.

The cornmeal gave a nice color to the sides of the crust, but was invisible on the bottom, so I may try using a bit more there next time.  The crust was thin and crispy, just as I was hoping.  My camera doesn't do so well at closeups, but I was also extremely happy with the crumb (except for a few larger air pockets, which I'll tentatively blame on poor shaping).  Before this, the breads I've made with a high percentage of rye ended up extremely dense, coarse, and crumbly.  This loaf had a much more open and incredibly smooth crumb.  Even better, thanks to reading Whole Grain Breads recently, I think that I sort of understand why.

As far as taste, there was a slight sourdough tang, but probably not as much as I would have liked (it smelled sourer than it tasted).  In addition, while I'm not usually a big fan of caraway seed, I think that this bread could use more.  The recipe recommended 1/4 teaspoon per loaf, I doubled it, and I probably could have quadrupled it.  That being said, the flavor was definitely more appealing and complex than any other high-percentage rye I've made.  I will definitely be making this one again...but probably not until I've tried some of the high-percentage ryes from Whole Grain Breads.

reschaff's picture

German Schwarzbrot

July 1, 2007 - 8:01pm -- reschaff

Hi, all.  I'm new around here, but thought maybe someone here could help me out.

More than 20 years ago I was an exchange student in Wurzburg, Germany (in lower Franconia).  The staple bread in the home I lived in was known as Schwarzbrot (black bread).  I'm not sure if it is native to that area or to Rhineland-Pfalz (my host-father was from there).  Anyway, it was round, strongly flavored, and very dark brown and some loaves were enormous.  I once saw a 2 kg loaf!

pjkobulnicky's picture

Dumpflmeier Rye

June 11, 2007 - 11:11am -- pjkobulnicky

This is a refreshed continuation of the long discussion we've had over the past 10 days or so about German Rye breads.

 

I was in Hamilton, Ont. last week and not only brought home some Dumpflmeier Klosterbrot (still the best tasting rye I know) but read as many labels as I could. Here is what I learned:

 

1. The amount of rye in the recipe is very small ... it is the third ingredient listed after white flour, and natural rye starter.

 

2. the loaves are enormous ... 10 lb. Significance???

 

Cooky's picture

ISO one great rye bread recipe

May 29, 2007 - 7:21pm -- Cooky

Hey, y'all. I have finally decided to branch out and give honest-to-gosh rye bread a whirl. I have a nice rye starter working, and I'd love to use it to recreate the fabulous rye I had in southern Germany lo these many years ago. It was medium brown inside -- not as dark as pumpernickel -- with a dark, glossy, chewy crust and a fantastic spongy texture. And oh yeah, the taste. Magnifico. (My memory may be slightly colored by the fact that when I was eating this bread I was a hungry youn'un schlepping a 50-pound pack across the byways of Europe. But it really was delish.)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

We had a German exchange student stay with us for a couple of weeks recently. Marcel is about 17 years old, and we hit it off great. He shares an interest with me and my oldest son and daughter, who are about the same age as Marcel, in physics, math, computers, and music. He is one of the nicest, most polite young men I've met. One day I was making some sourdough bread in my kitchen, and I noticed Marcel paying very close attention to the process. He then mentioned that his grandmother, who lives with his family in Germany, frequently bakes breads, and he is a big fan of her breads. We quickly discovered that bread was another of our shared interests. He described going to a mill near his village and buying spelt flour and rye flour of a coarseness specified by his grandmother for her breads. What a difference from buying over the internet, as I tend to do here in NJ. So, I asked if he could recite some favorite recipes for me. He then got on the phone with his grandmother, and she emailed us two recipes, one of which is described here, and one will be described in a separate blog entry (spelt bread). We had quite a time translating German baking terminology into English for my use, including struggling with the word edelhefe and with correct translations of some or the names of spices. Also, there was some confusion over methods of handling the dough, but eventually, I felt I had enough information to try these recipes. When Marcel returned to Germany, he also forwarded to me some photos he took of his grandmother's process, although only for the spelt bread, and not for this potato bread recipe.

I have photos of my process for this bread and the spelt bread recipe. Since I did both at the same time, there is an intermingling of the two breads, but I hope it will be clear what is going on with each bread.

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot) Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams whole spelt flour (I used Heartland Mills Spelt Flour)
  • 150 grams whole rye (I used KA Pumpernickel)
  • 300 grams water
  • 400 grams peeled, boiled, mashed potatoes
  • 12 grams salt
  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 egg yokes, stirred up
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 1.5 tsp yeast or 30 grams fresh yeast)

Autolyse, Yeast Proof, Prepare Potatoes

Mix the flours and water aside and allow to sit for about 30 minutes (autolyse). Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water warm water, and yeast in a bowl and allow to sit until very frothy (yeast proofing), about 30 minutes. Peel and boil potatoes until soft, then drain and mash them up.

I actually had no potatoes in the pantry, so I used some potato flakes mixed with water to about the consistency of mashed potatoes. I realized later in the mixing stage this was probably too much water, though I suspect that potato bread like this should seem very wet, based on reading floydm's recipe.

Mix and Knead

Mix together the results from the autolyse, the yeast proofing, and the mashed potatoes along with the salt, spices, and butter. In this recipe, because I used mashed potatoes made from a box of potato flakes, the dough came out very, very wet. I was finding myself having more difficulty handling this dough than I normally have with my very wet miche doughs. So, I added some flour, trying to compensate for what was probably way too much water, and I ended up adding something like 1.5 cups more flour to the dough. Unfortunately, this means, it's tough for me to tell you what the consistency of the dough as specified in the actual recipe given to me by Marcel's grandmother really is, nor do I have pictures of it from her. Anyway, I worked the dough a little bit using a folding technique that one might use for a very wet dough. After about 3 or 4 minutes, it seemed to come together into a very supple but workable dough.

Bulk Fermentation (about 2 hours)

Place the dough in a rising bucket or covered bowl and allow to rise. I did the bulk fermentation above my coffee machine where the temperature is about 80F. It took a little longer than 1.5 hours to rise by double, as specified by Marcel's grandmother.

Kneading, Shaping, Final Proof (15 minutes), Preheat oven to 400F

Take the dough out of the container onto a bed of flour. Stretch and fold it a few times. Let it rest a few minutes. Stretch and fold again, and let it rest. I did this because Marcel's grandmother says to knead it with some flour a little bit. This was Marcel's translation. It seemed like the opportune moment to fold the dough, given that it had risen and still seemed fairly wet. The folding did help the dough to come back together, so I then formed two long batards. The recipe says "form two long breads", according to Marcel. I did this very similarly, once again, to JMonkey's video on shaping a whole wheat dough. However, I just made them a bit longer and skinnier, based on the instructions. Put them in a couche, similar to what one would do for baguettes and allow to rise for 15 minutes covered with towels.

Preheat oven to 400F while final proof continues. In my case the oven was already hot from the Dinkelbrot bake.

Marcel's grandmother says to let it rise 15 minutes under a towel. I realize this was just the right thing to do. However, being nervous this was not enough time, based on other breads I've made, I let them sit a few more minutes - maybe 25 minutes or so. This was a mistake, as they puffed up so quickly, that the skin on the surface was ripping slightly here and there. So, sticking to the instructions might have been perfect. Darn, but will do better next time.

Place Loaves on Peel

Place the loaves on a peel or upside down jelly roll pan on some parchment. The loaves were big and floppy, and I had let them go too long in final proof, so this was harder than it sounds. Paint the loaves with egg yoke. Slash the loaves.

I suspect the loaves were too wet and allowed to rise too long in final proof. The result is they were spreading out very quickly on the peel, and I took a little too long painting them and slashing them because I ran out of yoke and had a hard time moving the floppy loaves to the peel and whatnot. Again, will hope to do better with a little less water or real potatoes and less final proof next time.

Bake

Place loaves in oven preheated to 400F, and bake for about 30 minutes. Internal temperature was 210.

The loaves did spring a little, but mostly they spread. I guess the same notes as above apply - reduce the water to make a little bit stiffer dough and don't let it rise for long in final proof.

Cool

Place loaves on rack to cool completely before cutting into them.

Results

Like the Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread, this bread tasted just great. The crust had a nice shine and color as a result of the egg yoke. Marcel says there is a particular look to these loaves, due to the egg yoke coating, that he says is typical of breads from his village in Germany. The spices add a nice touch to the already good flavor of the spelt and rye. I've decided German breads, at least the ones Marcel's grandmother makes, are wonderful after trying her dinkelbrot and kartoffelbrot recipes. Thanks to Marcel and his grandmother for sharing these recipes with me.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (1)Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (1)Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (2)Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (2)

Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (Dinkelbrot)

We had a German exchange student stay with us for a couple of weeks recently. Marcel is about 17 years old, and we hit it off great. He shares an interest with me and my oldest son and daughter, who are about the same age as Marcel, in physics, math, computers, and music. He is one of the nicest, most polite young men I've met. One day I was making some sourdough bread in my kitchen, and I noticed Marcel paying very close attention to the process. He then mentioned that his grandmother, who lives with his family in Germany, frequently bakes breads, and he is a big fan of her breads. We quickly discovered that bread was another of our shared interests. He described going to a mill near his village and buying spelt flour and rye flour of a coarseness specified by his grandmother for her breads. What a difference from buying over the internet, as I tend to do here in NJ. So, I asked if he could recite some favorite recipes for me. He then got on the phone with his grandmother, and she emailed us two recipes, one of which is described here, and one will be described in a separate blog entry (potato bread). We had quite a time translating German baking terminology into English for my use, including struggling with the word edelhefe and with correct translations of some or the names of spices. Also, there was some confusion over methods of handling the dough, but eventually, I felt I had enough information to try these recipes. When Marcel returned to Germany, he also forwarded to me some photos he took of his grandmother's process.

I have photos of my process for this bread and the potato bread recipe. Since I did both at the same time, there is an intermingling of the two breads, but I hope it will be clear what is going on with each bread.

Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (Dinkelbrot) Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 800 grams whole spelt flour (I used Heartland Mills Spelt Flour)
  • 500 grams warm water
  • 16 grams salt
  • 2 tsp anise seed
  • 2 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes (edelhefe in German, I used KAL brand)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (1.5 tsp instant yeast)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • shelled, roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (I used pumpkin seeds)
  • butter for greasing the loaf pan

Autolyse and Yeast Proofing

Mix water and flour in bowl until flour is hydrated, and set aside for 30 minutes. Mix a small amount of flour with 1/2 cup of warm water, yeast, and the honey. Let sit for about 1/2 hour until it foams up. When I did this, the foam about doubled or tripled in volume and was very foamy.

Mix and Knead

Mix in salt, spices, nutritional yeast flakes, the contents of the cup with the yeast, flour, water, and honey and mix in mixer or by hand. I found the dough a little dry at this point, so I added just a touch of water to facilitate mixing the ingredients. The dough was fairly stiff but somewhat sticky, even after the addition of a small amount of water. I kneaded it for just a couple of minutes to fully mix all the ingredients and to bring the consistency to more like a dough. The recipe Marcel's grandmother gave me doesn't specify any kneading at all. I suspect that is correct, and that I should actually have just stopped after minimal mixing, based on a photo she sent me of what the dough looks like after mixing. Mine rose more than hers appeared to, and I think the bread may be meant to be a bit more dense than what I came up with doing what I did here.

Put Bread in Loaf Pan

I greased the sides of a 9 inch glass loaf dish with butter and sprinkled pumpkin seeds onto the butter. The seeds barely stick to the sides, but they do stay in place. I then formed a stumpy batard, which I shaped in much the same way that JMonkey did in his whole wheat bread shaping video. Again, I may have done more shaping and kneading than was intended based on the pictures, as I look at them in retrospect. Marcel's grandmother has a picture that I now see may have been more significant than I thought where she simply dumps the dough straight out of the mixer and into the loaf dish. I believe there is less kneading and mixing intended by Marcel's grandmother than I did in my version here.

Bake - No Preheat

Slash the loaf down the center, and place the dish in a cold oven and turn the temperature to 400F for 90 minutes. The bread rises nicely as the oven preheats. I forgot to slash the loaf, so I tried to do it after about 15 minutes. The crust was already forming. You can see the result from the pictures, which is not all that pretty. Sorry, it would have worked beautifully to slash before putting it in the oven, even though the oven started out cold. Oh well, I'll do better next time. The internal temperature of the loaf was about 205F after 90 minutes, and the crust was quite thick, hard, and dark.

Cool

Allow the loaf to fully cool. I dropped it out of the dish and let it cool on a rack.

Results

The crust that results is delicious. This bread tastes just great to me, and I generally have a big bias toward the flavor of sourdough breads. However, this yeast raised whole grain bread was just delicious. I realize I must be missing out on some wonderful breads in my baking life by not paying enough attention to German breads. Thank you Marcel, and Marcel's grandmother for sharing this wonderful recipe, for sending me photos, and for spending a lot of time and effort translating and explaining the ingredients and procedures that I was not familiar with.

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