Sunflower Seed Squares - Hearty Sourdough Rolls From One of Germany's Best Bakeries
Whenever I'm visiting my hometown Hamburg, I check out new bakeries. Two years ago I noticed people lining up in front of Bäcker Gaues, in lively Eppendorf quarter (where my Mom lives around the corner.)
Taking this as a good omen, I joined the waiting line. The shelves full of loaves and rolls looked promising, all with fairly dark crusts - boldly baked, as Ken Forkish ("Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast") would call it. A paradise for crust lovers!
I had no idea that eccentric baker Jochen Gaues was quite a celebrity, featured in the media as one of Germany's best bakers, but sampling his loaves I found this fame was well deserved.
Like Forkish, Jochen Gaues is a purist baker, his breads are made with flour, water, salt and yeast. No dough enhancers, no preservatives, no artificial flavoring. Only sourdough and passion for his craft. And he shared his recipes in a baking book, too ("Jochen Gaues Brot").
With its many beautiful photos this book would grace any coffee table. Unfortunately, it has some issues. You have to be an experienced baker to work with the brief, if not skimpy, recipe instructions. But there are also some serious mistakes. Like pumpkin seed rolls - without pumpkin seeds!
Since I use bread baking books mainly as source for interesting recipes and new techniques - I adapt them to my preferences, anyway - I like the book in spite of its flaws. (And, for the pumpkin seed rolls, it wasn't too difficult to calculate the missing amount of seeds.)
Gaues' Sunflower Seed Squares are hearty, crusty and delicious. The crumb is rather light and more airy than chewy. You can enjoy them with cold cuts, German meat salad, honey or jam.
I tweaked the recipe a bit, of course, as I always do: toasting seeds and old bread, and working the dough with stretch & fold and overnight cold bulk fermentation (while reducing the amount of additional yeast.)