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Archive for December 2008

Early New Year’s Eve’s Croissants

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Mon dieu, j’ai oublié du pain pour le petit déjeuner! Croissants within two and a half hours? Almost. I found the recipe in Gontran Cherrier’s book very easy to do and the results are almost as good as the ones using an overnight-retardation of the dough or shaped croissants. The dough is stretched into one direction only, not rolled out. Since I wasn’t too sure about it, I rolled it out just a little (shouldn’t have taken my mouth so full in a former post where I said I followed recipes to the letter). Odd, but it worked. I’m surprised. Voilà des croissants. Bonne année!

Gontran Cherrier’s Croissants (makes 10 smallish ones)


  • 250g flour, Type 550
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 130g water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g sugar
  • 25 melted butter, cooled

Mix everything together and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Let rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.


  • 125g butter

Flatten the piece of butter into a rectangle. Put in the fridge with the dough for 20-30 minutes.

Synposis: Roll out the dough into a rectangle, enclose the piece of butter ++STOP++ Stretch out the dough into one length ++ STOP++ Fold in by thirds ++ STOP++ Rest in fridge for 20 minutes ++STOP++ Repeat folding twice with a 20-minute rest in fridge in between and after the last time ++STOP ++ Roll out, cut out triangles, let rise for 75 minutes ++ STOP++ Brush with eggwash ++STOP++ Heat oven to 210°C, put in croissants and reduce heat to 180°C ++ STOP ++ Bake for 15 minutes.


Written by theinversecook

31 December 2008 at 23:30


with 4 comments

It was late in the day, but the temptation of two new baking books was too big. I had to bake, try a recipe. My choice: Baguettes made with pâte fermentêe from the book Brot und Gebäck für Genießer by Richard Bertinet of Bath. This is the German edition of Crust: Bread to get your teeth into.

The winner in the Top baking tips competition of the Guardian came to my mind when I browsed the handsome looking book by Richard Bertinet:

Choose a recipe from a reputable source and stick to it to guarantee both successful baking and to try the cake as the originator of the recipe intended it to taste

This is not only true for cakes, I think. When I make a recipe from a written source for the first time, I follow it, period. This enables me to rate a recipe. If I start changing it right away because, in ignorance, I think the author has made a mistake, I inject my own ideas and handlings, which should be thought of as erroneous or at least not fully thought through. My sterile humble opinion: It as always best to assume a not knowing attitude when following recipes. The author is supposed to know how it’s done. In the spirit of a nightly adventure I ventured into making baguettes.

I would have chosen a different recipe (for example the everyday baguettes from Gontran Cherrier’s book) had I had a closer look at the Bertinet recipe. This is clearly one of the more involved recipes in the book making use of a starter, wet dough, autolyse and delayed salt addition. Fair enough, I just prepared the pâte fermentée and went to bed. The next day I could not bake all day and it was again late when I got started. The baguettes, of course, almost took forever and by the time they were ready I had halfway starved. I took them out into the cold night, placed them on a frosted table, quickly took a picture, waited until they had cooled (at -1°C) and devoured one. Consquently, after all that waiting, the finished breads tasted great. But even after some distance, I think they are rather good. Richard Bertinet bakes most of the breads in this book at full 250°C for the entire baking time. Result: Dark brittle crust, big randomized lift in the oven, at least if the last proof is not 100% accurate or on the verge of overproved. Nice.

Baguettes (makes 4 small ones)

Pâte fermentée (weißer Grundansatz)

  • 90g flour, type 1050
  • 63g water
  • 2g salt
  • 2g fresh yeast

Mix together and let rise overnight in the fridge. The pâte fermentêe should show clear signs of fermentation, i.e. should have doubled in volume. Tear a chunk off, there must be an open network of holes inside. If it still looks like a sluggish piece of gray sleepy dough, let it rise at room temperature until it is well aerated.


  • 238g flour, type 1050
  • 12g rye flour, typr 1150
  • 180g water
  • 5g sea salt
  • All of the pâte fermentée

Autolyse. Mix the flours with the water, mix until smooth and let stand for 30 minutes.
Pâte fermentêe. Add the pâte fermentêe and knead until cooperated.
Salt. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead 2-3 minutes until smooth. This can be done on an unfloured counter if you keep the dough in motion and slap it down. It will spring back and feel firm on the outside due to the increasing tension in the dough.
First rise. Let rise at room temperature for 3 hours. The German book is unclear here (first error found): In the summary it says to let it rise for 3 hours, but the recipe text speaks of only 1.5 hours. Because the dough hadn’t risen much after 1.5 hours, I gave it another 1.5 hours, which was sufficient.
Shaping. Divide into 3 or 4 pieces and shape into baguette shapes.
Final Fermentation. Let rise for 1 hour. (1.5 hours would have been perfect.)
Slash and bake at 250°C for 12-15 minutes.

Written by theinversecook

28 December 2008 at 23:11

Santa has a heart for bread bakers

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On Christmas eve I was happy to find the following three items under the Nordmanntanne:

The first item will make things easier for me. No more running to the Bio Shop 5 minutes before closing time asking them to grind ‘very coarse’ or ‘medium fine’ rye meal for me. The Fidibus grinds anything from rice, corn and barley to wheat, rye and oats, either to a perfect flower or extremely coarse meal. Cool.

Written by theinversecook

26 December 2008 at 16:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Katrin’s 70/30 rye bread (Updated 23 December 2008)

with 18 comments

Katrin was so kind to translate the recipe for her excellent rye bread to English and she also made a single pdf-file, which I’m glad to be able to ‘host’ on my blog: Katrins Körnerbrot (pdf-file)

I haven’t made the bread, but it certainly looks better than most rye breads I have pulled out of the oven recently, so I am going to venture into making it soon. Thanks, Katrin!

Update: Made this bread. I used roasted soya beans as the seed mixture. Looked strikingly like the one on Katrin’s photo. You have to believe me, it’s gone already. Great recipe.

Written by theinversecook

17 December 2008 at 14:52

Dan Lepard’s extra moist stollen (Update 23 December 2008)

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This is Dan Lepard’s stollen from last week-end’s “How to bake” on the site of the Guardian (recipe here and here).

It is cleverly made with a cooked flour-water porridge which increases moistness of the crumb. Mine looks a bit like brown bread although the amount of whole-wheat flour used is minimal. Maybe the spices? The flavor bears a deep impression of the fragrant mace, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. It has a warm appeal and is perfect for a quick breakfast with a big cup’o tea in the morning just before leaving the house. Excellent!

I will make this again as soon as this one’s finished and will reduce spices a little to see how the flavor changes. I am a big fan of a clean buttery finish. The scale in the bath room confirmed it.

Update: The second one was even better. Strangely, this time it did not rise at all at any time, but had a great consistency after the bake. Very firm and moist, like a proper Stollen should be. Going to make another Stollen before the year ends – Mick Hartley’s Quarkstollen – a sourdough version of this popular fruit bread.

Written by theinversecook

15 December 2008 at 23:24