The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Aroma Piece

albacore's picture
albacore

The Aroma Piece

The aroma piece or Aromastück (also known as Aromamalzstück) is a natural dough enhancer of German origin, somewhat similar to a tangzhong.

Typically, rye (other grains can be used) flour is mixed with 3-5% diastatic malt flour and then hot water is added to give a hydration of 200%. The temperature of the water should give a "mash" temperature of 65.5C/150F.

As an example, I used 55g rye flour, 2.75g malt flour and 110g water at about 75C. Allowing for losses, this will give a final weight of 150g, which I used in a total flour weight of 1kg.

I sealed the aroma piece in a vacuum bag and cooked it for 3 hours in a sous-vide bath. After this time the piece was heated to 85C for 30 mins to inactivate the enzymes and then cooled before adding to the dough.

Another option to maintain the 65C temperature is a wide mouth vacuum flask.

Purpose

Rounding off the taste and giving a distinct taste profile through the formation of maltose
Improvement of the freshness
Pleasant browning of baked goods
Improving the baked goods aroma
Increasing freshness and thus the juiciness of the crumb

Here is the aroma piece after processing. It started off a very pale colour but is now mid brown and tastes malty sweet.

Lance

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Nice, sous vide must be perfect for this. It's the same as scalding, rye bread really benefits from this, when done well.

Is it the German version that includes inactivation of the enzyme in the end? I've never seen that in Russian recipes.

albacore's picture
albacore

Thanks Ilya; The temperature rise is mentioned by Kappl and Brotdoc, so it must be pretty standard German practice.

It does make sense to me.

Lance

Benito's picture
Benito

Very interesting Lance, I’ve never heard of this before.  What bread do you plan to use this in?

Benny

albacore's picture
albacore

Thanks Benny, I have already used it in a bread I made recently. The formulation was roughly:

  • 100g heritage wheat (red lammas) Schrot (very coarsely ground whole grains)
  • 50g spelt schrot
  • 150g aroma piece, as above, made with 50g rye 997
  • 200g red lammas flour
  • 200g roller milled wholewheat flour
  • 250g BF
  • 330g lievito madre

For anyone interested in making Schrot, I made it in the Mockmill - you have to wind it back about 3 turns and adjust by eye. You end up with a lot of flour as well, so I sifted this out and used as part of the recipe flour.

The recipe was loosely based on https://www.homebaking.at/schrotbrot/ but with a lot more whole grain flour. As I expected, the loaves didn't have a great rise, but they were very tasty.

Lance

Benito's picture
Benito

Gorgeous crumb on that loaf Lance.  Thanks for sharing the formula for your bread with the aroma piece.

Benny 

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Thanks.  Can you please provide a reference?  German language is OK, better actually.  

albacore's picture
albacore

I got my info from Dietmar Kappl at https://www.homebaking.at/aromastueck/ and Brotdoc at https://brotdoc.com/2013/12/15/das-aroma-stuck-the-aroma-stueck/

I can't claim credit for the sous vide idea - it came from https://www.stirthepots.com/2019/02/aromastuck.html

Lance

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Thanks albacore. 

I don't see the Aromastück as similar to tangzhong. 

Aromastück is a malt additive and appears to add color and sweetness.  Therefore in my eyes it is a sweetener.  

Caution in this thread: sweeteners and "enhancers" take the baker down the slippery slope of the broken American bread scene.  Think Wonder bread and "Hawaiian" dinner rolls. 

Not appealing to me as someone who looks toward root French, German and Italian bread traditions for learning and wisdom. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Do you consider malt an additive that is not acceptable? I feel like you are misunderstanding something.

The process of gelatinizing flour is very similar to tangzhong - with additional long incubation at high temperature to release the sugars from the starch. Either using the diastatic malt, or the flour's own enzymes (and often with addition of non-diastatic malt for extra aroma). This will indeed add sweetness, and the aroma, from the malt and from the flour. This is one of the core, old techniques for rye bread across North/Eastern Europe, including German baking tradition.

albacore's picture
albacore

I'm afraid I don't follow your logic. The aroma piece IS part of German bread tradition!

The malt sweetness is created by the action of the amylases in the malted barley flour. You get the same effect, but obviously to a lesser extent, by adding malt flour to a bake. In fact  most white bread and all purpose flours have malt added to achieve the flour specification, even if not declared on the label.

If you have an aversion to the use of malt, it's probably best that you don't use AP or bread flours.

Lance

 

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

albacore, I'm not seeing it.   Yet.  I use the Zentralverband des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks e. V. as an (the?) authoritative source for German Brotkultur.  I searched their site and didn't see anything on Malzstück and only one help-wanted advertisement with the word "Aromastück". 

 

Therefore I question whether or not Aromastück has distant roots in the German Brotkultur.   It may indeed be enthusiastically supported by some bakers in the German language circle.  

Do you have suggestions on how to connect the dots between foundational German bread tradition (pre-20th century) and Aromastück?  

albacore's picture
albacore

Semolina_man, I'm not an expert on the history of German breadbaking traditions and neither do I have the time or inclination to investigate that history. However, I do have great respect for and interest in their bread making.

All I can say is that the Kochstueck or Aromastueck appears to be well established in the German baking fraternities - not just by a few young "upstart" bakers, but also by master bakers like Dietmar Kappl. And as Ilya has mentioned, it is  not just Germany that has this process as part of its baking procedures - several other Northern European countries also use this or similar processes. Possibly the addition of exogenous enzymes from the malt is a variation, but nevertheless all the processes use amylases at that all important 65-70C temperature range to create some small chain sugars from the starches.

If you want more information I suggest you contact the bakers in the links I gave previously; they might be able to point you in the right direction.

I find your purist views on breadbaking to be very noble, but retrogressive - they appear to allow for no advances, scientific or otherwise, since the Victorian era. But please correct me if I have got the wrong end of the stick (or would that be stück?)

Lance

Abe's picture
Abe

And something I should wish to try some day. Haven't followed the discussion thoroughly however imho using malt should not be shunned and wouldn't make the resulting loaf wonder bread. One is using the grain itself to bring out qualities one desires in a bread which as a baker is what one is supposed to do. It's very different to all the additives and techniques involved in wonder bread. Malting releases the sugars inherent in the grain itself. This happens too when flour and water are mixed and the sugars in the flour begin to break down into simple carbohydrates. The yeast and bacteria go to town on the sugars in the flour and so on. Malting and similar processes (tangzhong too) are all tools the baker can use to get a nice loaf. That's hardly the same as adding in goodness knows what with things that have nothing to do with flour, water and salt. 

 

Wonder Bread Ingredients:

Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Calcium Carbonate, Soybean Oil, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Dough Conditioners (Contains One or More of the Following: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides, Mono- and Diglycerides, Distilled Monoglycerides, Calcium Peroxide, Calcium Iodate, DATEM, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid), Vinegar, Monocalcium Phosphate, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch, Sucrose, Sugar, Soy Lecithin, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Soy Flour, Ammonium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Propionate (to Retard Spoilage).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

To me it sounds more traditional and maybe forgotten written under another name, most likely without the vacuum trick and slow low cooker to speed it along making results consistent but in many ways I think it similar to porridge, bread soup, hot soakers, scalding and altus type ingredients.  

Honey combined with rye flour or berries with water in a slow cooker comes to mind instead of malt.  Try using the "warm" setting on a rice cooker. Rice cooker instead of a pot somewhere near a wood stove, close enough to keep warm but not hot enough to boil it.  Aren't thermometers and science great?  

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Is that the stuff that made Beast, into his true self? #Bigfeet

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

I used to make a "mash" detailed in Reinhart Whole Grain breads book. It used whole wheat flour instead of rye and kept the temp at or below 165°F as opposed to 150°F, but otherwise it sounds very similar. Sous vide is a perfect solution. I think it made the best 100% whole wheat bread I've ever eaten. Here's what Reinhart said about mashes in the book:

"A mash is similar to what has historically also been called a scald; that is, grain or flour scalded by hot or boiling water. It can be fully or partially cooked, but for our purposes, we do not heat the grain above 165°F (74°C). What distinguishes our mash from a conventional scald is this attention to temperature, which keeps the natural alpha-amylase enzymes intact, allowing them to break smaller sugar chains out of the more complex starch. The hot water partially gelatinizes the starches and also denatures the beta-amylase enzymes, which have a lower threshold for heat. The beta-amylase enzymes are the ones that can reduce a dough to mush as they break off double glucose units, or maltose. The most noticeable aspect of a mash is that it tastes much sweeter after 3 hours than it did when the ingredients were first combined. This is the enzymatic conversion in action."

My husband once saw the mash in a bowl in the fridge and mistook it for gravy. He did not enjoy the roast beef slices he heated up in it :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sort of... in German

https://www.brotausstellung.de/vom-korn-zum-brot/brotgeschichte/

Hey, note a honey and salt rising bread technique.  Honig und Salz

https://www.diebackstube.de/thema/brot-geschichte.html