Archive for November 2007
If you speak German, or just want to hear about bread, please enjoy this piece about bread: Lars Ruppels Liebesgedicht an das Brot, performed at the WDR Poetry Slam.
Note: This recipe is also available as separate pdf-file with picture: Oregano-Crusted Potato-Bread
Using dried oregano as a topping makes this bread a little heartier with a nod towards Mediterranean cooking. If you prefer a more pronunced spicy flavor and a cleaner loaf (the oregano will eventually fall off the crust), just add the dried spices to the dough. Or use other herbs, like thyme or – one of my favorites – black onion seeds aka ‘Nigella’. This bread is good to have with tomato soup.
- 160g strong white flour
- 40g whole-wheat flour
- 40g levain, hydration: 100%
- 40g grated raw potato
- 120g water
- 2g fresh yeast
- 4g sea salt
- Dried oregano
Bulk Fermentation: 1 hour. Press the shaped dough into damp towels, then roll in a little oregano.
Final Fermentation: 1-1.5 hours
Bake-off: Bake at 230°C for 20-25 minutes to a healthy brown color.
This blog will be a little quieter in the coming weeks. I am trying to put together a booklet of my bread notes and own recipes. The volumes of the my hand-scribbled notes, ideas and formulas are getting out of control and it is time to do something about it.
This bread is a speciality of Hannover in Lower Saxony. What might be a reference to “Gerste” (German for “barley”) is actually a baker’s term. It means to expose the proved bread dough to the fierce flames of a special type of oven, the “Gersterofen”. There is only one company left in Germany that manufactures this kind of oven and so the production of Gersterbrot is a decaying art.
A bunsen burner or blowtorch would do the trick at home, I suppose. Alas, I have yet to buy one those trendy gimmicks, that allow home-cooks to caramalize the surface of their desserts. The baker I saw on TV, who raved about his all-time favorite bread, gave a detailed report on it, so detailed, it was almost a recipe. The dough is made with about 75% fine rye flour (or a little less), one third of which constitutes the sourdough.
To see a picture series on Gersterbrot, go to the site of Bäckerei Wöhleke in Hildesheim and click “Bäckerei Infos”.
Gersterbrot (1 big pan loaf)
- 250g rye sourdough, hydration: 100%
- 250g rye flour, Type 1150
- 125g dark wheat flour, Type 1050
- 225g very warm water
- 10g salt
- 7g fresh yeast
Bulk Fermentation: 45-60 minutes.
Final Fermentation:1 hour.
Get your blowtorch out of the garage and scorch the surface of the proved loaf, yielding a few dark spots, not more. Apply potato-starch wash and bake at 260°C for 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat to 200°C and brush loaf with starch wash every 10 or 15 minutes. Bake for about 1 hour in total. Cool thoroughly.
In a perfect world I would go to the baker (or butcher, fishmonger etc.) without a doubt that he or she made sure that the products are entirely satisfactory in every aspect. But a glitch in the matrix apparently made the world semi-perfect. It needs heavy improvement upon. That is how I got to bake my own bread. But the goal of my bread-baking is not to be become self-sufficient. I like bakeries, and I like buying baked goods.
I remember loving my Lieken Urkorn bread with cheese or salami, as a child. The Stollen I bought today was not a good match for my warm memories of their bread.
Brand: Lieken Urkorn
Loaf weight: 275g
Price paid: 1,99 Euros
Sugar coating: Heavy
Butter flavor: Undetectable
Sweetness: Moderate – high
Quality of the raisins: Average
Crumb quality: Soft, dense, with a dry finish
Additional flavorings, spices: None detected
Rating: 5 out of 10
Comments: Gummy mouth feeling similar to that of baked goods made with high quantities of baking powder. Will not buy again.