The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Replicating German Bauernbrot mix

Tinabean's picture

Replicating German Bauernbrot mix

Just got back from Germany where I picked up a mix for Bauernbrot. Made a lovely loaf with the typical, yearned-for,  spongy, moist, non-crumbly crumb and dark chewy crust. Cuts perfectly for sandwiches. The mix had so few ingredients I thought I would try doing it by scratch. How much ascorbic acid and barley malt would I need for 500 grams of flour (about 75% wheat and 25% rye)?

Like many others, I too am chasing the elusive perfect Bauernbrot. This mix I picked up came awfully close for me. It is interesting how one baker's perfect recipe may not be another's. We have to remember that every region, even every city or bakery tastes just a bit different. Just like potato salad-everyone swears that their grandmother's is the best and only true way to make potato salad.:)


cranbo's picture

Can you share the ingredients for the recipe? 

I'd skip the ascorbic acid altogether, probably not needed. It's a dough conditioner that helps strengthen weak doughs so they can proof longer without collapsing. You can compensate for this by building more strength through autolyse, preferment, more intensive kneading, good shaping, etc.

If you're dead set on using ascorbic acid, the ascorbic acid amount would be tiny, 1 pinch (anywhere between 1/16 and 1/8 tsp) for 500g flour. Considering 1 tsp of ascorbic acid crystals is about 6g, you want you use less than 1g for 500g flour (0.2% of flour weight). 

EDIT: I think this is too much ascorbic acid. Lallemand, a reliable industrial baking resource,  recommends 10 - 100 parts per million use of ascorbic acid as a dough conditioner. This translates to 0.001% to 0.01% of the weight of the flour, thus for 500g this would be 0.05g at maximum! That's waaaaay less than a pinch. 

King Arthur recommends diastatic malt powder (has enzymes) at 1/2 to 1 tsp (1-2g) per 3 cups flour (375g), this works out to be 0.27% - 0.5% of flour weight. 

EDIT: you may not want to use more diastatic malt powder than that, see

Non-diastatic malt powder (no enzymes, just color and flavor) could be used anywhere between 1-5% of flour weight, depending on how much color and flavor you want. 

Tinabean's picture

Yes, translated from the German:

76% wheat flour, 20% rye flour, iodized salt, yeast, barley malt, ascorbic acid

Directions call for 350 ml lukewarm water for 500 gm of the mix. Then beat at the highest speed for 4 minutes. Let rest 30 min, knead through and form into one loaf. Bake at 230 C for 60 min.

We are wheat farmers from western Nebraska and have plenty of our own ground wheat, both white and red. Rye is hard to come by, although I did find some at a Mennonite general store about 40 miles from here a few days ago.

I've baked bread for years, but have never used malt or ascorbic acid. Hence, the question about amounts to use. My favorite bread of all time is Bauernbrot, although I like some better than others, depending on the region. When I am in Germany I eat it to my heart's content and then come home determined to make it at home. This mix comes the closest, especially the spongy non-crumbly texture.


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I've happily spent time researching the style of bread and it always came back to the fact that whatever the baker had around could go in. Traditionally, it is wheat flour, rye, and some whole wheat but other recipes allow spelt as well. At times, the formula looks like that of the French country loaf. I use a sourdough starter but you could use IDY as well if that's what you use.

My loaves are often 267 g bread flour, 100 g stone ground whole wheat, 33 g rye flour at about 70% hydration. If I wanted, I could flip the WW and rye quantities around and still call it a bauernbrot. i could call it a baurnbrot as well. My formula may not be a classical interpretation of the style but I usually have those flours around the house and they work well together.

Don't obsess over the little things, generations of German, Austrian, and Swiss bakers have fed lots of people with the flour on hand. Bake your own bread and be happy.

Tinabean's picture

Of course you are correct. Every region of Germany has it's own version. I've tried many in Germany and like some better than others, but they are all Bauernbrot. I think my issue is probably the spongy, non-crumbly, small-holed texture I am trying to replicate.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

as the other posters say ...

Have a look at this - a bit more involved, but very nice

Tinabean's picture

 Das sieht lecker aus! I'll have to try it.

holds99's picture

I posted this blog a while back.

If you want this recipe I have Gini Youngkranz permission to give it out.  I must have gotten her permission after I posted this blog.  Anyway, just send me a TFL note with your email address and I would be glad to forward the recipe to you in pdf format..


Tinabean's picture

I have this in the oven right now-we'll see how it turns out. I made it into two loaves instead of one large one.

hanseata's picture

Bauernbrot is a general term for any rustic bread that is neither all white nor all rye. It is an everyday German loaf, every bakery offers it, and usually a wheat/rye mix (the rye often a medium rye), and the ratios differ. It can contain some other flours as well, like spelt. The formula doesn't only differ from region to region, but every bakery can have their own. As I said, its just a generic term.

Ascorbic acid is nothing but a commercial dough enhancer, also to prolong the flour package's shelf life. No artisan bakery (sadly, they are threatened by extinction and substituted by chain bake stores, that bake frozen stuff) would add that to their breads.

You might check out my Feinbrot - this is a typical rustic German every day loaf:

Happy baking,