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bread, coffee and tidbits

Gersterbrot (Scorched Bread) – Unscorched

with 3 comments

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.


Written by theinversecook

8 November 2007 at 18:54

3 Responses

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  1. Vielen Dank, auch für den Link! Ich hatte schon von diesem Brot gehört bzw. gelesen, es aber noch nie gesehen.

    Petra aka Cascabel

    8 November 2007 at 22:08

  2. This bread is fantastic toasted!!!
    It is the best bread that I can remember from my stay in Hannover during the late seventies (77 – 80) with my wife.

    Graham Walsh

    9 November 2008 at 05:01

  3. Hi, Graham,
    thanks for sharing this! Late 70s- better times for bread, it seems. Hard to get a decent one now. If made well, it’s quite versatile, though. It retains a pleasant lightness despite the rye.


    11 November 2008 at 01:27

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