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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Everyday Bread #11

Schnelles Brotrezept

It's not like I need more bread.  I have four loaves on the counter that I'm working my way through, and some in the freezer.  But there's this recipe I want to try...

On the German website, someone has posted a 'Schnelles Brotrezept', or Quick Bread Recipe.  It sounds easy enough.  It uses lots of yeast and a quick mix, no-rise method.  Here is the recipe, as I translated it from the chefkoch web site (I've already changed it a bit here):

Schnelles Brotrezept - German Quick Bread Recipe

  • 500 g flour (to taste)
  • 2 pkts dried instant yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP vinegar
  • 200 g sunflower seeds
  • 500 ml hot water or milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • spice mix for bread
Preheat the Oven (and a casserole dish!) to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).
Dissolve yeast in Lukewarm liquid, sweetened with honey.
Add all the other ingredients to the flour in a big bowl, and whisk.
When the oven is preheated, add the vinegar to the yeast mixture.
Blend into the flour mix.
Do not let rise; pour in a casserole dish.
Bake covered at 200 degrees C for 45 minutes, then 15 minutes uncovered.

My Variations and Method:

This recipe calls for a spice mix for bread that I didn't have.  I looked up the Brotgewürz online and soon discovered a homemade recipe for the German Kotänyi bread spice somewhere online:
  • 2 T Anise seeds
  • 2 T Caraway seeds
  • 2 T Fennel seeds
  • 1 T Coriander seeds
Use 2 T of this mix for every 1 kg of flour in breads.  
You can use either whole seeds or ground seeds.

I didn't have any caraway seeds (my wife doesn't care for them, so we rarely buy them).  I mixed up the rest of the ingredients, but I only used a teaspoon of each.  And I was using whole seeds.

As for the flour for the bread recipe, I was told to use 500 g of any flour, 'to your taste'.  I decided to use a mixture.  Not really knowing what my taste is yet, having little experience with various flours, for this experiment I merely used 100 g each of:
  • All Purpose Wheat Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Spelt Flour
  • Dark Rye Flour
  • Oat Flour
For the hydration, I used buttermilk that was slightly past its 'best before' date.  It still smelled okay to me.  I mean, it still smelled like buttermilk.  I'm not sure why we had buttermilk, but no one else was using it, so I felt justified in using it up.

I also didn't have enough sunflower seeds.  I had only 150 grams of them; the remainder I made up with sesame seeds.  Someone online said that they used roasted onion instead of seeds; that sounded good, but not so 'Schnelles' for me today.

Although the original recipe didn't tell me to let the yeast foam, and it didn't tell me to keep the vinegar separate until I was going to add it to the flour, I decided to let the yeast sit at least as long as the oven was pre-heating.

I had just mixed the dough all together with the yeast mix and vinegar, and the oven was preheated, when I realized that I had not pre-heated the casserole dish with the oven.  The recipe hadn't said to do this (well, maybe it did, is that what schieben means in this context?), but on the basis of my last disaster loaf, where the dough stuck miserably to a cold pot, I figured it would be better made hot.  So I stuck it in for about 5 minutes.  So the dough was waiting at least that long before I put it in the oven (although it didn't have time to rise).

Unfortunately, this meant that the casserole dish was warm, but it wasn't entirely preheated.  Like the last disaster loaf, I had some difficulty getting this bread out of the pan intact.  Perhaps placing some steel cut oats, cracked wheat, or bran on the bottom of the casserole dish might actually help get the bread out in the future.  The original recipe in German says you are to grease the pan, but I don't want to go that route if I can help it.

My wife came by as I was digging it out of the pan, and asked suspiciously, "Is it baked?"  I told her I didn't know.  But when I got it out -- pretty much in one piece, thankfully -- I decided to stick it back onto a rack in the oven for a few minutes while it was preheating for the next loaf I was baking today (probably only about 5 minutes tops, but I was trying to get the oven to 475 degrees F).  This was enough to crisp up the overly moist bottom for me.  However, I don't know if the bottom crust was breaking off later because I so heated it, or because I was hacking at it with flat utensils to get the loaf out in one piece, or if that is just the nature of the 5 flours I threw together.

The loaf has a pleasant taste.  I think the anise is a tiny bit overpowering, but once in awhile you crunch another spice (the coriander?) and there is something subtle going on, an overlay of taste, like an overtone in music, it is a harmonic that evens it all out.  When you hit a sunflower seed, there is a texture surprise that creates interest and a gentle sweetness in the upper palate.  The crust is not too crunchy, and the crumb is not too dry.  I have toasted this bread, and it is good that way too.  It's pretty good bread.  And it came together pretty quick, too, despite my somewhat anal need to measure out each ingredient exactly. 

While cooking, this loaf smells great.  I think it is the spices.  I wonder what a curry loaf would smell like?  Or cinnamon?  Or nutmeg?  Or rosemary?  Could I use fresh herbs from my garden?

The wheels are turning.

Notes to Myself:
  • Try this recipe again or a version of it, only reduce the yeast by half; 
  • How many times do I have to say this?  PREHEAT THE DISH.
  • Put something on the bottom of the casserole dish before pouring in the liquid: something like bran, or cracked wheat, or steel-rolled oats.
  • See if you think that the loaf could use a bit longer bake
  • Experiment with spices that you like and think are healthy.  Try turmeric for its healthful properties, for instance, or paprika.  These might add some interesting colour, too.

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