Gersterbrot (Scorched Bread) – Unscorched
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.