Friday, March 14, 2014

Wheat Bread with Multigrain Soaker

It would be a sore injustice to call this bread just wheat bread. It has a whole wheat pate-fermentee, a multi grain soaker and a half whole wheat flour in the final dough. I dont know what to call it, but it is one of the finest breads that I have ever made. I keep saying that about every other bread that I bake, but I think pre-ferments make the breads really really tasty. The crust was crispy and the crumb was open with medium sized holes (not as huge as the ones in my Focaccia) and tasted very very delicious.

It is a recipe that I tried from plö It is an intimidating blog with professional looking breads, I keep wondering whether Lutz owns a bakery and bakes bread for a living though he says otherwise in his blog. Every other recipe that is posted there uses sourdough which keeps pointing to my inability to start making one. Anyways I wanted to bake bread as I am close to done with my apple loaf which I need to make again. I am going to make another post about that bread. If only to document the power of quark. :)

I wanted to make a bread with pre-ferment and this one sounded like a good choice. I balked at the 2-4 days ripening of the pate-fermentee. I decided I would make it after one day, but fortunately I didnt have time to do anything yesterday and just made the soaker last night and left it in the fridge.

Pate-Fermentee is a piece of old dough, atleast according to the definition. So this dough needed to ripen in the fridge for a long time. I think the result would be sourer if the pre-ferment is left for more days inside. I am going to trying it with 4 days ripening. This is going to be my go-to bread for soups.

I didn't have flax seeds that he uses or millet the original recipe calls for, so I used sunflower seeds. I had no wheat meal, so I used Cream of Wheat (also known as Wheat Rava/Semolina/Weizengrieß). Everything else remained the same.

Pâte fermentée

100g  Whole wheat flour
65g Water
0.3g Fresh Yeast (I just added a tiny bit from a corner of the yeast cake)
2g Salt (a single finger pinch)

- Mix all of them together. It will look like a piece of dough and not really watery. Wrap it in a piece of plastic or inside a closed container and place it in the fridge. The base recipe from Hammelman asks for just 12-16 hours but Lutz says it is better to ripen it for 2-4 days. I did it for 2 and it definitely has a sourdoughy aroma that I get from my bakery breads.


15g Cream of Wheat (Semolina)
15g Sunflower Seeds
15g Polenta (Cornmeal)
15g Oats
75g Water

- Boil water. Turn off heat and mix all the other ingredients into the water. Let it cool down a bit and then set it inside the fridge for overnight.

Final Dough

45g Whole Wheat Flour
145g Bread Flour (Wheat Flour 550)
90g Water
3.5g Fresh Yeast
5g Salt
15g Honey

- Take out the soaker and Pâte fermentée from the fridge.
- Mix all the above ingredients with the soaker and mix it well with hand for 2 minutes till everything is incorporated.
- Add the Pâte fermentée in pieces to this dough.
- Knead well till the dough no longer sticks to the bottom of the bowl around 8-10 minutes. I have added a couple of tablespoons of bread flour so that it wont stick so much to my hand. But the dough it not really a wet one, and is easily manageable with hand kneading.
- Let the dough rest for an hour. It had spread across the bowl and folding it made it into a cohesive round ball of dough.
- Let the dough rest for another hour. After an hour knead it well into a round ball and then shape it into a batard.
- Let it prove for another 1.5 hours. The dough would benefit with a proof inside a basket, I did an open proof, and it spread quite a lot and I ended up with a flat loaf with not much height. Next time I will plan for a basket.
- Preheat the oven for 250°C.
- Score the bread twice diagonally or once in the center and then slide it into the oven with steam. Reduce the oven temp to 200°C.
- Check after 20 min. Let the steam out by opening the door a crack.
- The recipe says 30-40 min, mine was done by 30 min.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March - The Birthday Month

I have plans to bake cakes for the Husband and the Daughter for their birthdays which fall in this month. It has been a while since I baked cakes, I am a bit nervous, so I think I will start off with Brownies and Yeasted dough for the Husband and keep the proper frosted cake for the daughter who has been requesting candles. And I think six is a good age for candles, balloons and frosted cakes. :)

The Husband requested brownies to take to his office. So I have decided on Congo Brownies from Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions, I have baked these several times before with raving reviews. I am going to bake them here and see how that goes. I have also decided that I will try to bake a Bienenstich for him for the evening as a surprise. I was torn between a marble cake and Bienenstich. But I think I will stick to Bienenstich.

Bienenstich is a dessert with yeasted dough baked in a cake form or a baking sheet and then sliced horizontally to be filled with pastry cream or custard. The name comes from the topping of caramelized almonds which look like bee stings. It is a classic German dessert which I have eaten a lot of times but this is my first time trying to make it. Let's hope all goes well and I will manage surprise him, I mean in a good way. :D

There are three components to this: a yeasted dough, a pudding or pastry cream and the topping (known as Belag in German). For the yeasted dough, I plan to use fresh yeast with milk and a little quark or sour cream. All in all it only uses around 80g of butter but I can further reduce it by adding quark or sour cream since they make the dough taste richer and softer. (500g flour, 30g fresh yeast, 250 ml warm milk, 45g sugar, a pinch salt and 40g butter and 120g quark)

Pudding is the filling between the cake layers and it has to be stiff enough not to get crushed by the top layer of cake. I plan to make a custard using corn starch and milk along with butter and sugar and mix in some cream with stiffeners added. I am not yet sure whether I should involve Nutella or chocolate in this. I am certainly leaning towards those.

Topping would be with almonds, sugar, honey, cream and sliced almonds. Cook them till they turn a little amber and then spread it on to the dough before baking. Details are better mentioned at Smitten Kitchen for the topping. I am going to follow them.