The Fresh Loaf

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vollkornbrot

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hearthbakedtunes's picture
hearthbakedtunes

 Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! This is by far the most exciting and interesting Vollkornbrot that I have ever baked, and I have baked quiet a few of them! I got this idea from the Baeko recipe database. As you might expect, I made several changes to the original formula. This bread is loaded with whole grain goodness, a high amount of fermented flour, a high amount of soaked grain and a truckload of dried fruit and toasted nuts and seeds. My approach to this bread was to simply use the fruit and nut soaker idea and throw that into Hamelman's recipe for Vollkornbrot. The result was fantastic. However, first I would like to shed some light on the process and give you an in depth discussion of the taste and texture of this bread.

This bread is made with 100% whole rye, coming in the form of whole rye flour and rye chops. The rye chops are soaked in warm water overnight, but most of the whole rye flour is located in the sourdough build. What I want to spend most of my time talking about is the dried fruit and nut soaker. This soaker was made with 100 grams of dried cranberries, 100 grams of golden raisin, 100 grams of sliced dried apricots, 100 grams of toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds and 100 grams of boiling water. I used boiling water because I knew that the heat in the water would help to extract the natural sugars and flavors found in the dried fruit. It would also help to extract some of the salty-nutty flavor from the seeds and help to spread it throughout the entire dough during the final mix and fermentation/proofing stages of this bread.

There is something about golden raisins that I love. I am not sure what it is, but they are special to me. I do recall spending an afternoon with my good fried Isaac in 2006 eating handful after handful of golden raisins in our room in Jerusalem. I will admit to regretting it later, because that was a lot of fiber, as with anything else, I had to pay the ultimate price. But lets not "go" there. I also remember eating loquats, which are my favorite fruit, in ample quantities. I like them because they are weird and hard to come by as they are grown in the Middle East and in Bermuda. This soaker makes this bread a lot of fun because it fills the crusty bread with a tenderness and a sweetness that exceeds the typical caramelization of a fully baked rye bread. And this one took close to 90 minutes to bake. This is not a bread for the faint of heart and the fruit and nuts do bring a lightness to a bread that is not typically light. All of the ingredients including the rye, seeds, and fruit brings an intense bread to a whole new level of intensity. This bread is so delicious that it scares me!

 Like any other Vollkornbrot this is a very crusty bread. It is also a very dense bread whose character changes as it is allowed to rest. Much like ourselves, it start off as child, and with the passage of time, it becomes an almost wiser version of itself. But, if you let it get too wise, you will find that it will break your jaw. If this bread is kept in a plastic bag in the fridge, it will last for close to three weeks, maybe even longer. I never have a problem with bread going bad, because it is a major staple of my diet. When a bread is as nutritious and as wholesome as this one is, you never have a guilty feeling about going back for another slice. Over the past few days I have eaten this several ways but the two ways that I have enjoyed it most are "naked" and oddly, with cold pepper jack cheese. (For those of you who are new to this blog, the "naked" refers to the bread and not me.) The spiciness of the pepper jack goes wonderfully with the sweetness of the fruit. The next time I bake this bread I am going to withhold the walnuts and simply add some toasted salted sunflower seeds in their place. I would normally leave them out of the soaker, but once again, I love the salty flavor that the seeds can bring to the crumb when they are added to a boiling water soaker.


I now realize that I did not speak much on the production of this bread. I am currently on an Amtrak train on my way to Atlantic City, and do not have access to my notes, so I will only add a few notes from memory to shed light on a little bit of the process. This dough is mixed on first speed only, and for ten minutes. Karen H Kerr, a baker whom I respect greatly, recommends using the paddle attachment. I gave it a whirl, but it did not work so well for me. Perhaps her formula for Vollkornbrot is much different than mine. After about four or five minutes, I put the hook on and I found it to be more effective. I am a traditional in that sense and cleaning thick dough such as this off the paddle was really a pain in the batinsky! But hey, ‘live and learn and die learning’, that is what I always say. After the dough has come together completely, the fruit soaker is added and allowed to mix until combined and spread evenly throughout. My attitude is: "get the fruit in the dough and don't worry". To me, when you have a dough with this much whole rye flour, the full bake is much more important than a perfect mix. This bread dough is really somewhere between a dough and very thick batter! I always start this bread in a hot oven (470 F) then after twenty minutes bring it down to 375 and bake for one more hour. I then remove the bread from the Pullman pan and let it finish directly on the stone for 15 minutes. This helps firm up the sides a bit and ensures the bread is baked fully! It will be dark, even the flour coating on the pan will have adhered to the bread and look very toasted

This is a bread for the ages! One that I hope one day I will be remembered for!!

Bake on!

-DW, The Rye King


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hamelman's "Vollkornbrot" is a 100% rye bread with sunflower seeds. The flour Hamelman calls for is "rye meal," which I just happend to have in quantity due to my error in ordering "medium rye meal" when I had intended to order "medium rye flour" from nybakers.com. Well, as Kubler-Ross wrote, "There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from."

As it happens, I have intended to work on baking 100% rye breads for some time, my  past attempts having been less than wonderful. Clearly, my unconscious mind highjacked my nybakers.com order. So, after blessing my unconscious ... or something like that ... I proceded to takle this project.

Hamelman's formula for Vollkornbrot calls for 68.4% rye meal and 31.6% rye chops. I had abundant rye meal (see above), and I had a pound of cracked rye from Central Milling, which I used in lieu of rye chops.  60% of the rye meal is pre-fermented. The cracked rye is included in the form of a 100% hydration soaker. The overall hydration of the dough is 82.1%.

Other than substituting cracked rye for rye chops, I followed Hamelman's formula and procedures to the letter. The dough was drier than I expected, but still very sticky. It had no difficulty holding together. I shaped it on a wet board with wet hands and, after shaping a log, placed it in a pullman pan and smoothed it out with a spatula. The top was dusted with more rye meal, as instructed by Hamelman. I baked it with steam for 15 minutes at 470 dF then for another 60 minutes at 380 dF. I then dumped the loaf out of the pan and baked another 15 minutes with the loaf sitting on a baking stone. This was to firm up the crust, although it was very firm already when taken out of the pan.

After baking and cooling on a rack for several hours, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen and let it rest for about 30 hours before slicing. The crust was very firm and chewy. The crumb was very dense, as you can see, moist but not gummy. The aroma and flavor were earthy and slightly sweet. I had some for breakfast with cream cheese and smoked salmon and enjoyed it. I think this bread would make great Danish-style open face sandwiches.

I have never had this type of bread before, except once long ago from an imported package. So, I really don't have a good model with which to compare my bread. From what I've read and pictures I've seen, I think I hit the target. I wish I knew how close to the bullseye I got. This bake was certainly superior to my few previous attempts at a 100% rye bread.

I'm hoping TFL members with more experience than I have of this type of bread will offer constructive criticism and suggestions.

David

breaducation's picture
breaducation

As much as I love making and eating light, open crumbed french breads I have always had a soft spot for a nice dense rye. There is something about holding a brick of pure whole grain goodness in your hands that is, in many ways, more satisfying than a delicately scored baguette. For one thing a baguette starts to stale in a matter of hours while vollkornbrot can stay good for weeks. Then there is the level of nourishment. There is really no comparison between the two. Vollkornbrot is packed with all sorts of nutritious grains and seeds while a baguette contains nothing but highly refined white flour. This week I decided to push vollkornbrot's nutrition and flavor even further by adding sprouted rye to the mix. The results were more than I could have hoped for.

I started with a formula I have used in the past that I have gotten great results from. This formula really has it all, soured coarsely ground rye, a coarse rye soaker, soaked stale bread crumbs and toasted and soaked sunflower seeds. I decided to modify the formula in a few ways: 1) I replaced the coarse rye soaker with ground up sprouted rye berries. I was a little nervous about making this switch but it ended up working beautifully. 2) Instead of using only sunflower seeds I used a combination of sunflower, flax and sesame seeds. 3) I darkly toasted the bread crumbs before soaking them. 4) I used agave nectar instead of honey. On top of all this I ground all the flour and grain for this bread myself using the methods I describe here. I have never ground my own flour at home as I could never justify the expense of a flour mill but using a coffee grinder worked great! I'll probably be grinding much more flour at home from now on.

The process for this bread requires a lot of prep as there are so many components but the reward is very much worth it. I highly recommend you dedicate a weekend to making this bread if you have any interest in rye at all. This is the best vollkornbrot I have tasted and even though it was a lot of work it I will definitely be making it again.

For the formula, process and more photos visit aBreaducation.

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

A couple of days ago I decided to try my hand at Jeffrey Hamelman’s Vollkornbrot with flaxseeds.  I did this with some trepidation because

a)     I’m a western expat living in New Delhi, India and THE key ingredient (rye flour) is not available here, meaning that I have to bring it in from Europe on each trip.  This one recipe  would blow about 1/7 th of my precious supply.

b)    The recipe as per Hamelman requires the  use of a sourdough starter, used to create a long fermenting sourdough and two soakers (flaxseeds and rye chops) .  To these are added the last fraction of the rye meal and the salt + some water and yeast so it’s not exactly a straight dough setup with minimal rise time.

The original recipe can be found in ‘Bread’ by Jeffrey Hamelman, I’m not going to reproduce it here for the obvious copyright reasons.

Modifications vs the recipe:

a)     I didn’t have rye chops and there’s no way for me to acquire those here.  So I used pinhead oats (also called steel cut oats) instead.  This worked without a hitch.

b)    One of the big challenges of baking breads here is dough temperature control.  We’re past the peak of summer but still, the temperature in my kitchen is about 35 centgrade.  This is an obvious problem when using ‘long’ rise times/preferments etc.  What it boils down to is that I shortened the sourdough rise time from the recommended 14-16 hours at around 21 centigrade to 9 hours at 33-35.

 

The dough (detailed instructions see the recipe in the book):

For the sourdough I used a sourdough starter that had been initiated 3 months ago, it started out as a rye sourdough starter but has been refreshed countless times with normal bread flour so it’s totally white now.  This is added to 100% rye flour and water.  Hydratation is 100% at this point.

While this is covered and put away to start its long rise, a flaxseed and –in my case- a pinhead oats soaker were prepared.  I added all the recipe’s salt to the oats soaker in order to inhibit enzyme activity (long rise at high ambient temperature).

After 5 hours I could definitely see activity in the sourdough, based on the look/consistency and the taste I decided it was ripe after 9 hours of fermentation.  Tasting/feeling/looking are imho the only sure ways to determine ripeness.  Let it ferment too long and the taste becomes harsh/vinegary.

Everything was brought together with some extra rye flour and mixed at slow speed for 10 minutes.  Bulk fermentation took 15 minutes.

After bulk fermentation I had a very slack, sticky dough that proved almost unmanageable and had a very dense texture.  This was dumped in a large cake tin (no pullman form available) that had been oiled and covered in rye flour.  I used a spoon to flatten the top somewhat.

Baking:

First 15 minutes in a hot oven (245 centigrade)  with steam, followed by 1 hour 15 minutes at 195, dry.   Hamelman remarks that a full bake is imperative and I concur, given the high hydratation and the density.

Unpanning and cooling:

15 minutes before the end of the bake time, the loaf is taken out of the baking tin (very easily, no stick at all) and baked off the remaining 15 minutes to remove some extra moisture and firm things up.

After baking I was stuck with what literally seemed to be a very dense brick.  This then has to cool/rest between 24 and 48 hours so the internal moisture has time to redistribute.  It took an almost superhuman effort but I managed to wait 30 hours.  Don’t give in to temptation, I think the bread really requires this long rest before slicing.

Some pictures: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rye sourdough with flaxseeds and pinhead oats after unpanning and cooling for 30 hours at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the crumb is very, very dense and looks underbaked.  However, it looked and tasted exactly like the German whole grain Vollkornbread that’s for sale in (North) Germany.  It can be sliced very thin (4 mm is not a problem at all) with a serrated bread knife and the taste is slightly sweet, nutty with a delicate sourdough tang.  If you really want an extremely pronounced sourdough taste I guess you’d have to let the sourdough ferment a couple of hours more.  The bread goes very well with cured meats, jam, (dark) chocolate spread and cheeses that have a pronounced taste.

 





Big warning: Only try this and the other Vollkornbrot mentioned by Hamelman if you really like very dense German breads like Pumpernickel (the German version, has nothing in common with what's sold as such in the US).  Do not try to make rolls or smaller loaves as the crust is very hard indeed and -in the case of rolls- these would be inedible because this bread can only be enjoyed if you slice it really thin.

Deepak's picture

First 100% Rye The Vollkornbrot attacks!

December 8, 2011 - 2:32pm -- Deepak
Forums: 

I'm doing it, my first Fresh loaf post! I've been a regular on this site for almost two years and now it's time.I'm very grateful for everyone's wonderful post and I hope I get some congratulations for this first post because my bread certainly won't be getting any.

I felt it was time to rise to the next level of baking so I chose a Vollkornbrot bread from Peter Reinharts 100% whole grains. The finished product came out as scary as the word "Vollkornbrot" sounds.

Any ideas, suggestions or advice of any kind would be gratefully appreciated.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

-Update 14/09/11: added some photos of 100% WW and 70% WG Rye

-Update 15/09/11: added crumb shots of 100% WW and 70% WG Rye

Initially I only planned to bake two kinds of bread that fitted well into a family holiday schedule:

7.00 being woken by our 5 year old

7.15 to 7.30 preparing pre-ferment (rye sour or biga)

8.30 breakfast

9.30 to 19.00 being busy with having fun

19.30 to 22.30 baking time

As it turned out this schedule worked very well, but peer pressure from TFL and the family made me bake a much greater variety of bread, specifically: Bara Brith, Pain de Campagne with variations, 70% Rye sourdough with variations, Potato Bread, 100% Wholewheat Sourdough, Pizza, White French Bread

Unfortunately I can't post many pictures as the camera charger gave up during the holiday, but I will bake some of the breads again in the near future and post photos then.

Notes about the formulae (explicit formulae follow below):

  1. Bara Brith: I used Elizabeth David's recipe – it is a very dry dough, so I added a bit more milk. The original uses 150 ml milk per 450g flour, I used 170g milk. I also used a different flour mix: 400g strong white flour (Hovis) plus 50g wholewheat flour (Tesco's strong stoneground organic). Very nice result. Below my first try, with a bit of Welsh countryside:

  2. Pain de Campagne after DiMuzio (I have his “Appendix Of Formulas” on my phone). Once by the book and once with biga and 50% wholewheat. Both turned out nice, but the latter one could be tweaked.

  3. Potato Bread (after Elizabeth David). I used the original formula – this uses 4.4% salt. As I had no idea how potatoes would affect salinity I went for it. Nice bread (smell, consistency), but too salty. Couldn't eat it. I'll retry with 2% salt.

  4. French bread: 300g flour, 200g water, 6g salt, 2g instant yeast. Mixed and proofed in the evening, retarded in fridge and baked before breakfast.

  5. 100% Wholewheat Sourdough, inspired by DiMuzio and Andy, great result, formula given below.

  6. 70% Rye sourdough with variations. Details given below.

 It was quite amazing to see how all of this baking fit in with our busy holiday schedule, without putting too much strain on family life.

 100% wholewheat sourdough:

 Straight formula:

Wholewheat flour 423g (100%)

Water 317g (75%)

Salt 8.5g (2%)

Yield 748.5g (177%)

 Flour from Soaker: 33% at 75% hydration

Flour from preferment: 33% at 75% hydration

 Soaker (kept in fridge for 12 hours):

Flour: 141g

Water: 105g

 Preferment (kept on bench for 12 hours, at 22C):

WW flour: 141g

Water: 105g

Mature rye starter (80% hydration): 25g

 Adjusted Dough:

Flour: 141g

Water: 105g

Salt: 8.5g

Soaker: 246g

Preferment: 246g

 Bulk proof at 24C: 1.5 hours

Shaped into loose boule,

Final proof: ca. 2 hours

Reshaped boule into loose envelope shape (as in some of the Pane di Altamura videos)

baked immediately at ca. 230C for 30 minutes without steam.

Complex taste and quite open crumb for a 100% wholegrain bread.

Photos of the bake on 14/09/11 (a 750g loaf)

The dough after final proof (could have done a little longer, but started to get fragile)

After shaping (right into the oven from here):

And after the bake:

 Crumb

The crumb of the 100% wholewheat bread is not great, nowhere near the nice open structure of the bread I made in Wales, although I think this one tastes even better. I attribute the crumb appearence to a number of causes:

  1. I rushed this bread (a mix of family duties and misjudgement of the dough development)

  2. The starter was slightly over its maximum

  3. The flours I used here were quite different: I am running out of stock and had to use a mix of Canadian high gluten wholewheat with low gluten wholewheat (both from Waitrose), whereas for the holiday bread I used Tesco's strong organic stoneground wholewheat.

  4. I stretched the dough too much when shaping.

I'll work on this and report back in a separate post.

70% Rye with variations

Update 14/09/11: Got the percentages slightly wrong when I wrote my notes - this now reflects what I actually baked. Must have been tired ...

These breads are based on the German Mischbrot formula which I posted earlier

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23830/german-baking-day

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23956/detmolder-sourdough-and-without-yeast-comparison

 Straight Formula:

WG Rye flour: 70%

WG Wheat flour: 30%

Water: 75%

Salt: 2%

Instant Yeast: 0.3% (optional)

WG Rye flour from preferment: 28% at 80% hydration, (using 10% ripe WG rye starter, 12 hours on bench)

WG Wheat flour from soaker: 30% at 74% hydration (12 hours in fridge)

WG Rye flour from scald: 22% at 80% hydration, after cooling kept in fridge

I used different amounts of instant yeast to stagger the breads – I could only bake one loaf at a time.

Bulk fermentation ranged from 45 min to 2 hours, final proof for 1 hour at 22C.

The loaves were shaped with wet hands into rounds for freestanding bake.

I made 4 variations of this bread; all had a wonderfully complex taste:

  1. Without soaker and scald, with 20% sunflower seeds

  2. as given

  3. as given, plus 20% sunflower seeds

  4. as given, plus 3% caraway seeds

Despite the quite strong taste these breads go very well with all sorts of foods, even jams. Stilton cheese complements the bread flavours especially well.

Photos of the bake on 14/09/11 (two 750g loaves)

 

Crumb:

A very pleasing bread.

Juergen

kgpowell's picture

Leader's formula errors - Vollkornbrot

June 1, 2010 - 8:58pm -- kgpowell
Forums: 

Does anyone have an erratum for Leader's Vollkornbrot formula?  The one in the book makes no sense.  The sourdough is 312 grams when you make it, but 400 grams on the next page, when you add it to the final dough.  The rye berry soaker is 300 grams when you make it, but 125 grams when you add it to the dough.  Huh?

karladiane's picture

Volkornbrot or Volkorn-brick?

October 29, 2008 - 4:12pm -- karladiane
Forums: 

A question on Volkornbrot for anyone who can provide some insight.

I've taken the "rye-bread" challenge, and have started attempting some rye loaves. I made "Vokornbrot" from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads", and although it is absolutely delicious, I'm not quite sure if I did it "right". I don't have any good frame of reference (it's been an awfully long time since I've visited Germany - too many years to admit).

shakleford's picture
shakleford

This weekend I finally made a loaf of vollkornbrot, which I'd been planning to do for some time.  It was a lot of fun, and let me try several things that I had not done before:

  • I used the formula from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, which includes preparing a mash on the first day.  A mash is a thin paste of flour or whole grains and water, kept at 150 for several hours.  The goal of this is to produce what I think can best be described as enzyme craziness.
  • I've been on a rye kick lately (rye sourdoughs are currently my favorite type of bread), but had not tried anything more than around 2/3 rye.  While a 2/3 rye dough is a lot different than a wheat dough, the vollkornbrot dough was much different than either of them.
  • I bought a grain mill around a month ago, and while I've been very happy with it, I've been using it almost exclusively to produce finely-ground wheat flour.  I'd been holding off using it for rye, as I still have a fair amount of store-bought rye flour to use up.  However, the vollkornbrot recipe calls for coarsely-ground rye, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to break out the rye berries I bought.  For the mash, I actually produced what I would classify as cracked rye (the recipe calls for rye chops), sifting out the smaller pieces to use as part of the flour for the starter.
Day 1 consisted of preparing the mash mentioned above, along with a starter.  Having never made a mash before, I can't really say if mine turned out correctly, but it was gelatinous and quite pleasant-tasting.  I've been maintaining both a rye and a whole wheat starter for a couple of months now, and have had good success with both, but I used the rye starter in this recipe just to make the end result 100% rye.  Since the expanded starter was made of coarsely-ground rye it did not rise much, but smelled terrific.  The mash and starter are pictured below: 

On Day 2, I combined the above ingredients along with a good deal more rye flour and a few other items (including, somewhat surprisingly to me, sunflower seeds).  On a whim, I used a medium-coarse grind on this additional flour as well.  Reinhart lists molasses and cocoa powder as additional optional ingredients, but I decided to leave them out in this batch.  After mixing the final dough, I let it proof - the rise was pretty limited, as one might expect, but it was noticeable.  Reinhart's instructions have this bread being cooked in an open pan, but based on my reading, I wanted to try it with a lid.  However, I do not have a Pullman pan and have sworn off buying any additional kitchen accessories for at least two months.  Instead, I used the oft-recommended trick of covering the pan with a baking sheet (weighed down with a cast iron skillet) to roughly approximately a lidded pan.

After around two hours of baking (including rotating the loaf after the first hour so that it cooked more evenly), I pulled the below item out of the oven.  I was a little bit disappointed with its appearance, as the flour that I can carefully sprinkled inside the pan and on the top of the loaf had mostly disappeared and there were not as many cracks as I was expecting.

The hardest part of the process was still to come:  waiting until Day 3 to sample the loaf.  Fortunately, that was today.  I'd wrapped the loaf in a towel after it cooled yesterday, and when I took it out this evening, it smelled terrific.  Cutting through that crust was a bit of a challenge (as expected), but once I made it through, the crumb was quite soft with a very unique texture.  Reinhart says that using a mash gives the crumb a creamy texture, and while I didn't really know what that meant before trying this bread, I have to say that "creamy" is probably the word for it.  The taste was very complex - it didn't have much of a rye flavor, but I could detect the sourness from the starter, the sweetness from the mash, a hint of the taste of the sunflower seeds, and many other factors that I can't quite place.  For the first time I can remember, I wish that a loaf I made had more crumb and less crust.  I will also be interested to see how the flavors continue to develop over the next several days.  I've included a photo of the crumb below.

Overall, this was a very satisfying bake for me.  I love trying new ingredients and techniques, and when they actually produce something this tasty, it's even better!  I will definitely be baking more vollkornbrot in the future, although I think I may first try a few of the lighter recipes I've been neglecting.  I also plan to save some of this loaf to provide altus, perhaps for Reinhart's Bavarian Pumpernickel recipe.  In addition, I'm now more interested than ever in trying my mill out on different grains and coarser grinds.  So many breads, so little time...

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