ye olde bread blogge

bread, coffee and tidbits

Archive for January 2010

Man does not live on bread alone

with 4 comments

I have registered another blog on wordpress about food that is actually eaten warm. Nothing on there yet, though. I named it Thursdays food and it’s about…well, it’s yet another cooking blog. I said it.

Written by theinversecook

31 January 2010 at 20:58

Dr. Strangeloaf’s little elves

with 11 comments

Industrially produced “baking malt” – a test

The additive in question is named ‘Backmalz’ (‘Baking Malt’) and is available through hobby bakers’ shops or, as it was my source, ebay. Although my ideas of baking bread do not encompass using additives except fresh (bio-) yeast, and this especially goes for powdered substances coming in obscure plastic bags, the vast majority of German bakers use them for their roll production and breads. Take an arbitrary site of a German bakery and look for “Brötchenbackmittel” or “Backmittel”.

Now this additive is declared as being free from the notorious chemically produced substances like diacetyl tartrate esters (DAWE, E 472e in German nomenclature) and, as fas the product description is concerned, is nothing more than diastatic malt. I have no idea what that is, but diastatic power is said to be the grain’s ability to transform the starch in the wet flour into sugars (wikipedia-laziness strikes again), which is consequently consumed by the yeast. This process hapens without diastatic malt, but it takes longer (for example by retarding the dough for up to 48 hours in the fridge effectively yielding a dough of very high quality).

Some Advantages commonly linked to baking improvers:

  • Better volume (higher volume)
  • Shorter relaxation times of the dough, yet good stability
  • Shorter fermentation times of the dough (about 30 minutes at 2% of fresh yeast to flour weight for the first rising and 60 minutes of final rest)
  • Better crust color (a fuller brown)
  • Better crust texture (brittle and crisp)
  • Increased extensibility of the wet gluten (no bread faults such as curved bottom or irregularly burst crust or ‘blown top’.)

I made five rolls with some seeds sprinkled on them (sunflower seeds and linseeds), also using a biga, since that kind of preferment seems to give the biggest volume. Added 2% of the ‘Backmalz’ to the dough (in relation to total flour weight). 2% yeast, 2% salt. Hydration: 66%. Baked at 240°C falling to 200°C for 25 minutes. Raw weight of each roll was 90g, baked weight eventually 75g.


  • Dough had a hydration of 66% but felt more like 70
  • Dough fermented quicker
  • Dough felt smoother, almost silky
  • Oven spring was very good to excellent, locally excessive oven spring lead to the formation of cavities
  • Mouth feeling, crumb: moist, yet floury, a little pasty on the palate
  • Mouth feeling, crust: Crust had developed rather quickly and was consequently thick. Quite hard.
  • Flavor, crumb: Sweet but not strongly fermented, reduced aftertaste
  • Flavor, crust: Slightly bitter with an unpleasant aftertaste.
  • Overall flavor: Acceptable

“Acceptable flavor” for whom and when? Can’t say that it was devastating but it certainly had a peculiar quality to it, which I cannot pin down. Call it Umami. Or lack of Umami rather.

I see little reason to use it as a home baker, because I can adjust the handling of the dough as desired. I do not need dough that can withstand the vigors of machine-arms mauling it at high speed, nor do I want to speed up my production process at the cost of flavor. I am irritated by the bitter aftertaste of the crust, where it was a tad darker, that still is in my mouth after 2 hours. Even though I’ve used an indirect dough by adding a starter, the quality of the finished product suffered. Perhaps there is more than diastatic malt in this “baking malt”…

Written by theinversecook

30 January 2010 at 23:33

Erstaunliche Brotwelt

with 8 comments


From the product description from one Café Schneider’s product brochure

Written by theinversecook

30 January 2010 at 00:49

Posted in Funny, Uncategorized

Gersterbrot…not quite yet

with 3 comments

Gersterbrot is a rye based bread that is treated with a blowtorch before its final proof. I slavishly followed a recipe from a website (pdf-link), sticking to the principle of not futzing around wiith a recipe at first try. The crust was good but the quantitiy of rye flour of 80% paired with a low hydration of only 63% did not quite produce a loaf like one displayed in the pdf-file. The bread tastes good though, albeit being dense. My plan is to do another one as soon as this one has been eaten.

Gersterbrot - No.1

Gersterbrot No.1 - Crumb

Written by theinversecook

29 January 2010 at 15:33