The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Import from Hamburg

hanseata's picture

Import from Hamburg

Hi, I'm from Hamburg/Germany (imported with a container load of Danish furniture for my husband's store). Loving a Main-ah - but not squishy, underbaked Maine bread - I started baking my own, out of sheer desperation!

My first trials resulted in bricks more suitable for fending off home invaders than for human consumption. After I learned Peter Reinhart's technique with pre-doughs and slow fermentation I went through my old German baking books, adapting the recipes to this method.

In the end, when we couldn't keep up with eating all the breads, and our freezer was equally stuffed, I started baking for our local natural food store. Now I'm their European baker - and enjoy myself thoroughly.

I found this site via Facebook, and I'm very much looking forward to participate!

Sedlmaierin's picture

Also wirklich, ich habe mich mal kurz bei Ihrem Blog umgeschaut und alle Achtung-es ist ja alles zweisprachig! I am amazed!

Welcome, welcome and I hope you enjoy yourself here. I have found this site to be very educational, the people are super nice and it has led me to appreciate artisan bread a lot more.


wdlolies's picture

It's a great site you discovered and I'm sure you'll enjoy it immensely.

Greetings from Ireland.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I hope the trip in the container didn't cramp your style!  Lots of info here so don't hesitate to type anything into the site search box that comes to mind.  Bis bald.

Mini  ÖÖ

Zenith's picture

I live in Maine, too, near Augusta.  I'd love to try some of your bread if you would tell me which natural food store is selling yours.  Any recipes to share???

hanseata's picture

I'm amazed to find so many replies one day after joining - you are very welcoming! No, the container didn't cramp my style, it arrived just before 9/11, so I wasn't plombed and endlessly detained... (just kidding, only my furniture was on it).

I sell my breads at "A & B Naturals" in Bar Harbor, a really nice store in Cottage St., right now once a week (Saturdays) and twice during the summer season. The friendly people there take whatever breads I offer, in addition to main stay rustic baguettes and whole wheat pitas. That's what makes it so much fun for me, I can try out all kinds of different recipes, and people seem to like it.

Yes, I'd like to share recipes with you, and I'm looking forward to try out all these wonderful looking breads here!






hanseata's picture

It wasn't Danish, but a real German and very delicious. It's a bit tricky to make, but definitely worth it. The original recipe was in one of my old German Baking Books, but I modified it quite a bit, and adapted it to the "Whole Grain Breads" technique. Tastes wonderful with ham, salami, cheese and honey.

You'll now find the recipe for "Rheinisches Schwarzbrot" in the Recipe Exchange Forum - Whole Grains.


bread basket's picture
bread basket

Willkommen. Bin aus der Schweiz, seit 18 Jahren in der USA, baked my own bread for the same reason like you....... I am retired now and have more time. I started selling my bread because we cannot eat all the bread I am baking.... May I ask do you bake there at the store or do you bake at home and just sell it there? do you have a commercial sized oven? a certified kitchen? I want to keep it small since I don't want to be tied down with it. For right now I just sell it to the people in town I know.


hanseata's picture

Like you I wanted to keep my costs down, not churning out tons of breads in assembly line, but baking twice a week during the summer and in winter once a week for our local natural food store and sometimes for tourists. 

So far I use my regular electric Jennair convection oven (fan assisted, not "real" convection) for baking. It shows an accurate temperature and can go up to 550 F - important if you want to make baguettes and pitas as I do - and I lined one rack with unglazed quarry tiles from Home Depot, very inexpensive, they come in different sizes, so you can fit them on any rack. You don't need a steam injection button, because you can easily do it by hand.

For regular breads I place those stones on the lowest level, for pitas on the second highest (because I alternate the baking and broiling mode for them). All other breads I bake with convection setting, on two racks, rotating them after half the baking time.

In a regular sized oven you can bake - depending on their size - 6 to 8 loaves on two shelves. For my "Pain a l'Ancienne" type rustic baguettes I use perforated pans, but you can only put 2 of those at one time in the oven, otherwise the tips get too dark.

The 20-quart Hobart mixer, my most expensive item I bought for half the price used - look in the classifieds or local ad magazines. You will find a lot of restaurant equipment advertized, since so many go out of business. That size mixer should be sufficient for a small operation, it can handle a lot of dough.

For making smaller batches of dough or my pre-doughs I use a 7-quart cuisinart mixer, which has a very practical timer and doesn't whirl flour out of the bowl.

I use an regular "inherited" refrigerator in the basement for storing smaller amounts of specialty flours and retarding bigas and doughs.

For my flour bags I unfortunately have not found a good storage place, since our basement still gets occasionally quite damp. I put them on our kitchen back stairs against an outer wall. But so far I never had any flour turn bad, even whole grain flours, even after a year!

I have set up my baking station in our home kitchen, a kitchen island, shelves and large plastic bins with lids for my flours (intended for childrens' toys) from IKEA work quite well, and I have an (inexpensive) wire shelf from Home Depot for more flour storage.

I love our cozy kitchen and enjoy working there, but I consider buying a used Blodgett convection oven and putting it in the basement. Especially if I have to bake more baguettes, the Jennair has its limits, because I have to do several batches.

In poor and tourist dependant Maine the government wants to encourage people to operate a small business from their homes. I found it amazingly easy to obtain a so called "home processors' license" for baking breads and cakes.

For the inspection I cleaned my kitchen like never before, and when the inspector came, he just stuck his head in the door and said: "Well, you have a sink with two bowls!" and signed the form. Dumbfounded I made a comment and he answered that he had never so far any hygienic problem with private homes - but would completely lose his appetite if he heard colleagues talk at lunch about the experiences with industrial kitchens!












bread basket's picture
bread basket

wow, you have quite an operation going. Gratulation! Im not quite sure if I am in over my head. Bake out of my normal oven and with a mixer which takes 8 cups of flour which gives me 4 to 5 loafes. Sell all of them as soon as people see them. Have to think the whole thing over. Wuensche Dir viel Erfolg und wer weiss was daraus wird. Tschues! Barbara

 PS Vielen Dank fuer all Deine Informationen.

hanseata's picture

Barbara, perhaps this sounded more involved as it actually is.

I find it convenient to sell my breads via a store (around the corner) and not be tied down with business hours at home. With my limited means I bake three different kinds of breads for every delivery, timed it in a way that I start with my pre-doughs the day before the baking day, prepare the final dough in the evening,  divide bigger batches into portions for the individual breads and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight.

The store takes usually 4 bigger loaves of my choice, 6 - 12 baguettes and 8 - 16 pitas. They expect my breads around noon time (fortunately), so when I wake up the first time in the morning (4 am) I take them out of the refrigerator, go back to bed, and start with shaping when I get up at 6 am. After breakfast, the first loaves are ready to go into the oven. Usually I'm done with baking between 11 and 12 am.

Of course this is not an operation I make serious money with, and the larger mixer was a 2000 something dollar investment. But I am able to wholeheartedly engage in my hobby and I feel really good about people obviously loving my breads.

As you can imagine, there's quite a tax advantage using your own kitchen for your small business, talk to your tax accountant about it.

I had thought of volunteering for something after retirement, but rather than doing something that I might not enjoy, I think providing people with really good, healthy bread (the next good bakery is 2 hrs. away) is as good a charity as any.

Trau dich!

bread basket's picture
bread basket

Thanks you so much for your encouragment. Habe mir das eigentlich auch genau so ueberlegt und werde zusaetzlich noch einige Deiner Ideen adoptieren. Will be part of a little farmers market comming Saturday. Will bake 2 days which will give me about 12 loafes @ 1 lb per baking day.

I am baking a seeded bread, an Oatmeal bread (adaption from receipes from this site) plus a Flaxseed bread from a swiss receipe and of course Swiss Zopf. We will see how ist goes. this is my first really planned event and I am excited. thanks again and also thanks to this community which has helped my baking reaching a different level. It is so much fun!


hanseata's picture

I think that is a good idea - I, too, was thinking of selling at our local farmers' market, but they turned down my application, because they already had a baker and didn't want competition (as I was told afterwards). So I came up with the idea approaching the natural food store, where I am a customer.

You make my mouth watering about your Swiss breads - any chance to get a recipe?