The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ISO suggestions: Baking for a friend on the AT

Windischgirl's picture

ISO suggestions: Baking for a friend on the AT

A family friend is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail--brave woman!--and I would love to send her some homemade bread.  I need a formula that is both nutrient-dense, to give her good energy to hike, but also has good keeping qualities.  I'm thinking a recipe with a high percentage of sourdough, and perhaps some rye, would meet these qualifications, but I'm interested in what other TFL-ers think. 

Right now the contenders for possible recipes include Leader's Whole Wheat Genzano, or Hamelman's Five Grain Levain...however, I'm open to suggestions.

I have a good bit of spelt flour in my freezer, as well as atta, AP and WW are always available...but am currently out of rye.  Full compliment of grains, seeds, nuts available as well!

Ideas?  Suggestions?


adri's picture

When I go hiking, I like to take "Vinschgerl" with me. These are small flatbreads, often baked in pairs. They consist of 90% to 100% rye; often a high percentage of whole rye.

With a 100%-hydration rye sourdough I use as much sourdough as additional flour in the final dough. Caraway is the main flavour giving ingredient. I usually also add coriander, fennel and "Schabzigerklee" (blue fenugreek). As they are just (whole) rye, they are no-knead and very easy to make. As they are flatbreads the hydration can get quite high and they won't get stale. They keep a long time!

Google gives you a lot of pictures:

If this is what you're looking for, I can post my recipe.


andychrist's picture

Funny but I add the same seasonings as you to my ryes all the time, Adrian, only my coriander comes along with whole pickling spice.

Sourdoughs do keep really well, Windischgirl, even though they are generally baked pretty lean. Have found adding a little [unroasted] sesame oil to my SD ryes extends their shelf life further and adds both to their flavor and texture. A dolop of apple sauce in the levain also resulted in a well browning loaf that stayed quite moist while retaining a chewy crumb. Another little trick involves applying a salted potato starch glaze. This inhibits mold on the crust when the loaf is stored in a plastic bag, also helps to adhere those nutritious and delicious seeds such as sesame, poppy, and flax.

Hope your friend has great experiences hiking the AP!

Windischgirl's picture

Adrian, I'd love the recipe; thank you for sharing!  I think the single-serving size would be ideal.

As my friend just started her hike three weeks ago, I can certainly try a variety of breads and see which she prefers.  She'll be on the trail until the autumn.  She's keeping a blog so she can let me know what works best for her.

My parents grew up in a rye-bread region of Hungary, so the Vinschgerl might bring back some fond memories for them.  And the name is close to my online name...hmmm, wonder if there is a connection?

Thanks for your suggestion.  Yum!

adri's picture
  • 250g whole rye sourdough at 100% hydration; well fermented.
  • 200g rye flour (I prefer half of it whole, but for giveaways I use extraction flour)
  • 50g wheat flour (or also rye flour)
  • 195g beer (for a stronger taste, stale one works perfectly) or water.
  • 7g to 8g Salt
  • lots of spices (ut to 2 tablespoons, maybe less for giveaways) - caraway, coriander, fennel, blue fenugreek
  1. Sourdough: Prepare levain (I use 120g whole rye, 120g water, 12g refreshed starter and let it ferment at falling temperatures (30°C to room temperature) for 16 hours)
  2. Mix dry ingredients, mix in sourdough, mix in water/beer - just mix until homogeneous dough. Don't knead (rye).
  3. Wait for 25'
  4. With very floury hands form balls (4 to 6) and roll them in rye flour. Wrinkles are good, there the crust will open later. Sometimes I even sprinkle flour on the balls.
  5. Place balls on baking sheet. Traditionally this is done pairwise (just about 1-2cm apart). Cover and put them in a warm place. (I'll put them in the oven with a teapot full of boiling water for one hour, then take them out before preheating the oven.  They won't dry out this way and "rise" well). After about 1 to 1.5 hours the balls will have become flat and the wrinkles will have opened. Check if they have "risen" more by volume than by height.
  6. Put in the preheated oven at 225°C to 250°C. Bake for 20' to 25'. While baking, reduce heat to 175°C.
  7. Let them dry out a bit (at least one night) before eating them. They go well with strong cheese and Speck/bacon.

(I should have baked those a bit longer. I didn't take pictures of other bakes.)