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Archive for December 2009


with 24 comments

Baker’s percentages make recipes relatively easy to scale – if you have the mind of a calculator. Thus a simple formula is even better, should one decide to only bake one loaf. This is such a recipe, which I have created out of laziness, I am rather crap at doing calculations in my head. Take 3 parts cracked rye or very coarse rye meal, 2 parts medium rye meal and 1 part rye flour and a very hearty whole-rye loaf is born.


1-2-3-bread (1 big tin loaf)

  • 300g cracked rye or very coarse rye meal
  • 200g medium rye meal
  • 100g rye flour
  • 500g water
  • 12g salt
  • 6g fresh yeast
  • 6g sunflower seed oil
  • 1 tsp or mature rye sourdough culture, hydration: 100%
  • A handful of rolled oats (optional)

1. Soak the 300g of cracked rye or very coarse rye meal with 300g of hot water and all of the salt. Cover and let stand at least 6 hours at room temperature.

2. Mix the 200g medium rye meal with the rye sourdough and 200g warm water. Cover and let stand at 18-24 hours at room temperature.

3. Mix all ingredients on slow speed for 5 minute, let stand for 10 minutes, mix for another 5 minutes. The dough should be sticky but not too loose.

4. Let dough rest for 30-45 minutes. Mix again on slow speed for 5 minutes.

5. Shape on a wet surface with wet hands. Roll in rolled oats and put into a deep bread tin lined with baking paper.

6. Proof bread for 45-90 minutes. It should increase its volume by a little less than 1.5 times its original size.

7. Bake at 240°C for 10 minutes with steam, then reduce heat to 200°C and bake for further 75-90 minutes. Let rest at least 12 hours before cutting and eating.


Written by theinversecook

30 December 2009 at 15:15

La Cucina Italiana – Lievito madre: prepararlo in casa

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On the site of food magazine ‘La Cucina Italiana’ two lengthy videos about making a wheat-based sourdough, the lievito naturale, might be of interest:

Video 1 (parte prima)
Video 2 (parte seconda)

(Recipes on the corresponding pages, parte prima, and parte seconda)

The second video shows that the baker apparently ‘washes’ the starter by putting pieces of it into a bowl of water, like mozzarella balls. I am puzzled as to what might be the purpose of that handling.

Written by theinversecook

26 December 2009 at 14:44

Dresdner Stolle

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…and the Stollen baking spree continues. This recipe is from a German cookbook from the 50s – “Das elektrische Kochen” (The electric cooking). It is the Stollen that is closest to what we ate as kids around Christmas time. Interesting to see that there are differences to the “Extra moist stollen” by Dan Lepard, namely:

  • About 10% more butter
  • No powdered spices
  • No eggs
  • Plain white flour instead of strong white flour
  • Typically without marzipan (I’ve used it here)

The recipe for “Dresdener Stolle” (‘Stolle’ being a femalized version of the male word ‘Stollen’) makes for a slightly firmer but finer crumb. Packed in paper the Stollen is usually stored for 3-4 weeks in a cool and not too dry place before it is eaten at the coffee toble at 24th December.

The instructions in the book do seem a little antique and compared to modern baking texts, they sound a bit long-winded. For example at the beginning the reader is advised to “prepare a yeast dough with method No. x on page y” making a well in the center of the flour and letting the yeast rise with a little liquid. The method is a good one. I modified it a bit and made a quick ‘Hefestück’ (known as ‘biga’ in Italy, ‘sponge’ in the UK, ”Dampferl’ in Southern parts of Germany and ‘Hebel’ in Switzerland).

Dresdner Stolle (2)

  • 700g plain flour (Type 405)
  • 300g butter
  • 250g raisins
  • 150g-200g warm milk
  • 105g caster sugar
  • 80g mixed candied fruit and peel
  • 50g almonds, chopped
  • 40g bitter almonds, chopped (or 40g chopped regular almonds)
  • 41g fresh yeast
  • 7g salt
  • 25g rum (optional, for soaking)
  • 250g marzipan (optional, for the filling)
  • 150g powdered sugar for coating
  • 150g butter for coating
  • 50g caster sugar for coating

You can soak the fruits and the almonds in rum overnight as an option.

For the dough, make the sponge first: Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in 100g of the milk. Crumble the yeast into it and work in flour, so that you get a firm ball. Sprinkle flour over the ball, cover the bowl and let stand for about 15 minutes. The sponge is ready when there are cracks in the flour surface.

Next, add all the other ingredients except the fruit, peel or almonds. Knead until you get a smooth dough, which should be firmer than bread dough. If it is still crumbly, add more milk. Then add the raisins, fruit, peel and almonds and continue kneading carefully. Don’t work it too long as it will toughen it too much and will taint the dough from the juices of the raisins. Let it rise for 60 minutes or until the dough has slighly expanded. Due to the amount of butter the dough will have almost no elasiticity.

Divide dough into two pieces and roll each piece into ovals. Let rest for 5 minutes. If using the marzipan, roll it into a sausage and cut into two sausages. Shape the Stollen by rolling it into a long shapes, then flatten with the palm of your hand. Make an indentation lengthwise where the marzipan is placed. Fold the dough over the marzipan inlays. Then shape into bâtard-shape again and make another indentation lengthwise and fold the dough over that again. Proof seam side down in baskets or lightly floured towels for about 30-45 minutes.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 180°C. Remove the burnt raisins from the top of the loaf. While still hot, dust with caster sugar. Let cool until slightly warm. Then brush on the melted butter and dust heavily with powdered sugar. Pack tightly and store in a cool place for up to 8 weeks.


Written by theinversecook

11 December 2009 at 15:34

The best baguette in France 2009 is…

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Written by theinversecook

1 December 2009 at 01:46

Posted in Bao, Bread, Brot, food, pain, pane, people