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German Brotchen Experiment

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ANFlynn's picture
ANFlynn

German Brotchen Experiment

I have the pleasure of having a wife originally from Germany, and with that comes a German mother in law.  On our yearly travels to Germany, I have learned that the Germans are as serious about their Brotchen as the French are about their Baguettes.  My wife's uncle will drive past several bakeries to get to the one with the best Brotchen.


As a dedicated home baker, I have been comishioned by my mother in law to recreate the German Brotchen, since you can't really find them in Wichita, KS.


So my first experiments used the sort of thing that I would use for a nice baguette, since I think the dough really is the same.  I used various pre-ferments, flour combinations, cold autolyse, all of this.  The answer from the mother in law was always "nice bread, not brotchen.  Too fancy french."  So, I determined it really is just a straight dough, no preferment, in a very heavily steamed oven to get a nice crisp crust.


Easy, I figured.  I just made a silly straight 65% hydration dough, rise an hour and fold, another hour and shape, proof for an hour and bake.  OK results, but although the crust was really crisp when it came out, it softened up quite a bit as the bread cooled.  Too much residual water vapor.  The crust color was also not quite right, so I was again given the "nice bread, not brotchen" verdict.


So thus the following experiment.


I have created 7 brotchen, and prepared the crusts as follows:


The back 3 were all covered with plasti-crap for their entire proof.  The front four were uncovered half way through the proof so they developed a slight skin.


The left 2 were given a mild egg wash (1 part white to 2 part water), the middle 2 a milk wash, and the right 2 sprayed with water.  The loner got nothing.


Oven at 470 initially, down to 440 after bread in and steam created, then after 7 minutes turned oven down to 400 to finish a 25 minute bake.


Here are the results:



The poor guy with removed plasti-crap and no wash looked pathetically pale, probably due to the cooling oven.  The best 2 were the back left (full plasti-crap and egg wash) and the front middle (removed plasti-crap and milk wash.)  Awaiting mother in law verdict.


Note:  As a bread snob, I don't really like putting a wash on the breads, nor do I like making a straight dough without any pre-ferment or starter.  The goal here isn't really to make the best POSSIBLE bread, its more to replicate a fast, commercial product.  Hmm.......


Thoughts?


 


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

did you try cooking the last 10-15 minutes with the oven door slightly open to permit the steam to go completely out?
It's common practice among my friends that bake white bread.

ANFlynn's picture
ANFlynn

I did crack the oven door for 5 minutes after the 25 minutes with the oven off.  I think most of the steam was gone well before then, but I will try this longer period next time.


Thanks

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Spray lightly with just water, score and get them a little earlier into the steamy oven.


I might also add.  Use a poolish with just the slightest pinch of yeast to sit overnight.  When putting the dough together, put an egg white (about 22g to 30g) into the water as part of the water and whip it up well to blend.  Use just a little yeast say 1/2 teaspoon to lengthen the bulk rise to about 4 hours.  Fold 3 or 4 times. 


Then cut off 100g pieces and tightly shape.  Let rise about 45 min to an hour in a closed container or inside plastic bag, don't let them quite double, mist to keep the skins from drying. 


Before going into the oven lightly mist with water and score.  Score closer together.  You will get twice the volume in the first 10 min.  230°C  convection.  Open oven to release steam and rotate pans after 10 min.  Continue to bake another 10 minutes.   Total bake is 20 minutes.


Mini

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

why the egg white? isn't it alkaline?

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

I'm an American, spent a lot of time in southern Germany, and I take my Broetchen real serious, too [g]


all that said, Germany / German speaking/influenced, regions are quite wide spread and what is a really good Broetchen in Kiel just doesn't cut the Senf in Muenchen or Austria or Switzerland or . . .  [you get the idea...]


there be many recipes - with milk, without milk, egg washed, nuttin' but flour&water, etc. - so you'll need to pick your favorite.  but for me, being half-Bayern and half-Schwab, I found the missing aroma and flavor component is diastatic malt powder.  a generous tablespoon per 4 cup/600 g of flour.


the texture / crust seems open to local variants, but there seems to be one consistent element - which methinks, right or wrong - I'm frequent both - is the diastatic malt flavor.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

malt powder. Thank you Dillbert !

ANFlynn's picture
ANFlynn

I have to say that I agree with the idea of using a poolish.  Several of the Brotchen above actually looked ok, had a nice open crumb, etc. but I thought they tasted like wonder bread.  I will definitely make the next batch with a poolish, and add the egg white to the batter (interesting idea).  I did actually put in 5g of diastatic malt powder in the above batch, but not as much as Dillbert suggested.


Thanks again, and I will post the next Brotchen experiment soon!

mcs's picture
mcs

but Petra's site has plenty of authentic recipes and she really knows her stuff.


-Mark

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I book marked it for later, but WoW!   Lots of recipes from books mentioned here.

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Can I ask what part of Germany your in-laws are from? It might help determine what kind of recipe to use, since I have to agree with Dillbert-things are very regional and what might pass as a great Semmel for me would be an unacceptable Broetchen for your in-laws. ;p


Thoughts on the pictures- being from Munich, those look too dark to me and possibly like their crust is too thick.At least for a "standard" Semmel, made from white flour only and not from white and rye.


Christina

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

...but the broetchens I had in both Munich and Cologne were scored with a cross-cut in the middle, which opened up with a nice bloom during the bake. I have a German bread book which I now can't decipher due to to my deteriorating capacity to retain the little German I learnt, but I believe the steaming is crucial in broetchens. I guess it's possible to duplicate commercial oven steam conditions in a domestic oven, but not without lava rocks etc...my usual icecubes-in-tray-in-oven-bottom doesn't cut it.


Cheers!
Ross

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Agreed, I can't remember seeing buns scored this way.But then again you don't really call them Broetchen in Munich and it might be a regional way of scoring.


Christina

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

happy to help. You can send me a message on this website by clicking "Messages" in the left column.  The other suggestion would be to click on Translate in Google and enter all the text.


Best,


Anna


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Really nice of you - will keep your offer in mind!


Cheers
R

ANFlynn's picture
ANFlynn

My wife's family is from the Rheinland, right along the Alsace border.  I have see Brotchen there scored with a cross on the top, and also with the three parallel lines.  My next batch will be scored with the cross for comparison!  Stay tuned, the first rise is in progress!

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Ok, thanks!


I have been searching a bit online and will post the links I have found. I don't know if any of this will help, but at the very least it has been fun for me to research!


Most of them seem to be using Spelt flour and some Sourdough. I hope you speak German, or your wife can translate, I am sure.


This first link is to a pre-mixed product, but it does give you an ingredient list and it also uses Sourdough;


http://www.hobbybaecker.de/index.php/katalog/artikelinfo/317-1-elsaesser-broetchen_1_kg.html


Next one,this recipe came up when I searche for Elsaesser Broetchen:


http://www.der-sauerteig.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=96&highlight=elsaesser+broetchen


Last one-Wasserwecken-supposed to be a type of bread from the Rheinland-Pfalz:


 


http://www.chefkoch.de/forum/2,37,349126/Wasserwecken-Schoesje-Rheinland-Pfalz-Kennt-die-jemand.html


Hope it helps,


Christina

ANFlynn's picture
ANFlynn

Thanks for all the ideas!  I made Mini's recipe today with the poolish (200g KAF BF, 200g Water), then (300g KAF AP flour, 10g salt, 7g Diastatic Malt, 1/2 tsp instant yeast, 25g egg white, 100g water.)  4 hour bulk rise, 50 minute proof.  Here are the results:



 



 


Crust is maybe a little browner than I usually get them in Deutschland, but they were appropriately crispy and the flavor was much better.  Thanks all!


Adam

SydneyGirl's picture
SydneyGirl

I found a really nice recipe trawling for Austrian bread rolls. In my experience the Austrian white breakfast rolls we used to get in any bed & breakfast were even more delicious than the German ones.


So I found this link on an Austrian forum: http://www.thea.at/forum/showthread.php?t=9275 . (Thea, it appears, isn't a woman, but an Austrian vegetable fat). I found it a little bit encouraging because a load of the posters appear to have tried the recipe. (and it's fast).


 


The recipe contains wheat & spelt flour, a little bit of oil and a mix of milk and water for the liquid (she suggests 50/50 but notes that varying the milk content changes the consistency, i.e. more milk, softer rolls).


The recipe, which I tried with just wheat flour, worked quite well for me the first time I tried it, and would have been even better if my oven worked properly. I wouldn't use bread flour, though. 

 


Interestingly, she uses a starch wash, i.e. boiling 1 tsp of cornstarch with 100 ml water, to brush the dough. I haven't seen anyone else recommend this. 


Translated and deciphered from the Austrian , here is the English version of the recipe: 


Pre-ferment:


Mix 30g fresh yeast (about 12 g or  3.5 tsp of instant yeast?), 1 tsp honey and


150 ml mix of water & milk (equal portions of each, or just a little more milk than water) and stand for 15 min. 


Dough:


Mix pre-ferment with 2 tbsp oil, 2 tsp salt, 250g wheat flour (Type 480), 250g spelt flour and 8 g (about 2 tsp) diastatic malt. 


Knead for 5 min. Stand in a warm place for 10 min and after that give it some folds. Stand again for 10 min and fold again. Repeat 3 x. 


Divide into about 13-15 rolls and roll till they have a nice surface tension. Place on baking sheet and brush with starch water (boil 1 tsp starch with 100 ml water and cool down). Let rise again then bake. (Preheat to 230 deg C (ca 445 F), then turn down to 190 deg C (375 F) when rolls start to show colour). 


 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Sydney girl i use the starch wash quite a bit it is great for getting seeds to stick to rolls and the tops of bread it also keeps the dough piece exposed to the the fierce heat of the oven moist whilst oven spring is taking place as well as giving a bit of a shine to the crust too especially if you are limited in the ability to get the benefit of steam in the first 5 minutes of going into the oven.


regards Yozza 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

So what would be the total amount of water + milk in this recipe.


I was preparing to give it a try(eventually), but this stumped me.


I guess it should be 150 ml water + 150 ml milk, for a total of 300 ml liquid? A total of 150 is not going to cut it(I don't think).

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

i looked at the original link and it says to add for the final dough 150 ml mixture of water-milk.....for a total fluid of 300ml


C

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Thank you.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I still don't understand. So, the mixture of 150ml of water and milk (ie: 75ml of water and 75 ml of milk) is added to another 150ml of water - for a total of 300ml liquid - to make the preferment? Could Sydneygirl or someone who knows the recipe advise, pls, whether I have that right?


Cheers
Ross

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

My understanding of the recipe is that you use 150 ml of liquid for the yeast/honey mixture and then add that mixture PLUS 150ml to the 500g of flour and the remaining dough ingredients.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks, Sedlmaierin.

SydneyGirl's picture
SydneyGirl

I made them again last weekend - clearly I get no oven spring, but the taste is really lovely. 


These are half wheat and half spelt flour. 


Austrian Bread Rolls

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

get it into the oven 1/2 hour sooner.  Spelt makes for a soft high rising bun .  

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Living in the country, we are lucky to get AP King Arthur, and Pillsbury :(


Anna


 

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

http://www.marions-kochbuch.de/index/0584.htm


getting the crackly crust in a home oven is really dicey.  steam and control of steam seems to be key - but altho I can get the crumb/texture/crust/gloss - the crackles elude me.


I've seen many different slash techniques & designs.  in southern Germany the single slash is quite typical but walking from bakery to bakery in almost any city will show a variety of differences.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

These are the Broetchen (Semmeln) I grew up with in Thueringen. Thank you for that link !


Anna