Archive for January 2008
In a post from 28 July 2007 (link), I mentioned date paste being able to increase the volume of a finished loaf. 4% of date paste helped baking an airier loaf, more than 4% decreased loaf volume again. Trivially, when adding an ingredient to a bread dough (i.e. flour, water, yeast and salt in certain proportions), it can either have a positive, a negative or no effect at all. And if the first case is true, there must be a certain point, at which this effect is reversed, yielding inferior voume – for example when adding 200% of honey to the dough.
Austrian bread is flavorful. That is one of the lessons I have learned so far by reading my way through Gerhard Ströck’s book “Brot backen”. Many breads use a soaker including rye meal, flax seeds, soy bean meal, oats, sunflower or pumpkin seeds. And as if that wasn’t ample taste, sometimes “bread spice” (coriander, caraway and fennel seeds in equal quantities) is used as well.
How does Austrian bread differ from German bread? Tricky question. By a far stretch of the imagination, the biggest difference to German baking, apart from the stress on Styrian pumpkin seeds and oil, is probably, that the Austrian wheat breads are more robust and heartier and that the rye breads are a little lighter than their counterparts in Germany.
I haven’t made this bread for a while, but once I had tasted it, I declared it one of my favorites. It was the first recipe I made from Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread”, which, from a technical standpoint, is the most comprehensive volume on bread I own. Roasted potatoes with their skins give this rather white dough real character and a delightful crust. It uses “pâte fermentée”, sometimes called “old doiugh”, which I think is timing-sensitive. If you’re using a relatively weak flour (like me), slow down the fermentation by letting the starter rise in a cool place.
Sometimes a baguette satisfies like nothing else. Other times a moist slice of grainy Vollkornbrot with cheese or Leberwurst is the real thing. This dough has chopped soy beans, flax seeds and sunflower seeds in it. I was tempted to leave out the sunflower seeds because I can’t stand their taste, but it was all good.
Tiny amounts of yeast, extensive stretching and folding, long rising times – not for this loaf. The yeast in this case delivers the flavor, a short bulk fermentation and only minimal kneading result in a smooth and soft crumb. Excellent.