Friday, 24 August 2007

Back in the Land of the Bread

Dear Reader, you might have noticed by now that it was pretty quiet around here - again. However, this time I´ve got good reason for it: a week ago, I´ve boarded a plane for my annual visit in Germany - and now I´m back in the land of the Bread! Besides catching up with my family and especially my little nephew (an ueber cute, almost three-year-old) I´ve been real busy eating my way through all sorts of bread rolls, pretzels, and cakes, of course...

Surrounded by such an abundance, I won´t spend my time baking bread. Unfortunately, this also means that I can´t participate in the next Bread Baking Day, a food blogging event created by Zorra of Kochtopf and this month hosted by Ulrike of Kuechenlatein. Her perfectly chosen theme is bread with sourdough as the sole leavener. Well, I´ve put my sourdough to sleep in the freezer before I left Australia but I already look forward to seeing the round-up!

However, I still wanted to contribute something. And I´m pretty sure that the following two recipes are going to be helpful for the ones with a somewhat erratic schedule and therefore an underdeveloped sourdough culture. In the last few weeks, I couldn´t bake and feed my culture as often as needed. Whenever I did have time to do it, I could never be sure that the wild yeast would be strong enough to let the bread rise sufficiently. On the other hand, I didn´t want to pour all that sourdough down the drain. Remembering the old-dough-technique, I thought that using some weak, old sourdough plus commercial yeast would hopefully reduce my sourdough surplus as well as result in a bread with the deep flavour of matured dough. I guess I´m not the first one to come up with this idea but I was quite proud of the resulting bread nonetheless... The sunflower seed bread has a hearty taste and pairs nicely with cheese and cured meat whilst the sesame bread makes excellent toast topped with jam or honey.
One thing is important when using old sourdough in big quantities: the dough can get rather soft during the rising process. When I tried this the first time, I had to bake individual little breads in muffin tins because the dough was too soft for shaping and I didn´t want to add more flour. However, this didn´t happen to the breads pictured in this post. Another issue is the amount of commercial yeast that is needed for leavening. I was being cautious and added quite a lot but feel free to adjust according to the liveliness of your sourdough.
PS: It´s too early I know... I just can´t help but announce right now that I´m going to be hosting the Bread Baking Day for next February! Well, it´s early, as I said...

Rye Bread with Sunflower Seeds

The ingredients

150 ml water
300 g liquid rye sourdough (weak)
350 g liquid wheat sourdough (weak)
500 g bread flour
3 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
1 sachet dry yeast (7-8g, equivalent to 2 1/2 tsp)

3 tbsp sunflower seeds (or more), toasted

Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes until they have a golden brown colour and start to smell nicely. Set aside.
When using a bread maker, first put the liquid ingredients into the pan, followed by the dry ingredients (except the seeds). Make sure to put the yeast on top of the flour where it shouldn´t touch the salt.
Start the dough program. When the bread maker beeps, add the sunflower seeds, reserving a little for topping.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Interrupt the program after the first hour of kneeding and rising. Take the dough out of the pan and shape into a loaf. To do so, either lightly flour or lightly oil your worksurface depending on your preferences. Let rise for half an hour or until almost doubled in height.
Brush the loaf with water several times. If using, dust with flour. Again, brush with water. This results in a sticky surface which will work like glue for any topping. Sprinkle with the remaining sunflower seeds.
Insert the loaf into the oven. Splash a cup of water on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door (ideally, splash the water on another baking sheet on a lower shelf). Bake the loaf for roughly an hour or until well risen and golden brown. It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. To get a nice crust, open the oven door after 45-50 minutes of the baking time to get rid of the remaining steam. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Wheat Bread with Sesame Seeds

The ingredients

100 ml water
350 g liquid wheat sourdough (weak)
1 tsp salt, heaped
3 tsp sugar
300g bread flour
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Follow the instructions above including toasting the sesame seeds. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for roughly 30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

The source
My own creation


Nora B. said...

Dear Eva, it was wonderful to read something from you even though you are so far away. All the breads that I've tasted that you've made have been superb, so it's about time that you host bread baking day, even if it's in Feb. I'm looking forward to hearing all about your annual pilgramage ;-)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Eva, great to know you are with your family!

The bread looks fantastic, too - as usual!

Anh said...

Eva, enjoy your holiday!

And this bread is so marvelous. I love it. Glad you tried using some starter with commercial yeast. I have hard that this method produced tender crumbs than usual. I tried it once with a sweet and buttery bread, so still have to experiment a bit more...

You have inspired me to make bread more often again. My time has been so limited lately, I haven't made any bread for a while.

Eva said...

Nora - Don´t get me started - I´m going to tell you more about my nephew than you´ll wanna know..;-)

Patricia - Luckily, I don´t get homesick (usually) but being with them makes me realize that I do miss them...

Anh - Next time, I have to pay attention to that (unfortunately, I always forget to take precise notes about how a bread has turned out - very bad, I know...) Hope you´ll have more time for baking in the near future!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Both breads look gorgeous! Great job!

Eva said...

Thanks Rosa! Nice to hear that!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your recipes. The BBD#03-round-up is now online.

Anonymous said...

Und hast du dich schon durch alle Brote durchgegessen? ;-)
Deine sehen jedenfalls zum Reinbeissen aus!

Tatter said...

Eva...both loaves look really good! Beautiful pics!

Helene said...

Hope you are having a great time!
The bread looks marvelous.

Eva said...

Ulrike - now that I'm back I finally have time to check it out!

Thanks Tatter, glad to hear that!

Tartelette - I had a marvelous time indeed. No time for blog reading though, I was too busy eating..:-)