I obviously need to learn to not take too much on when it comes to baking, but I woke up really early this morning and thought I would do my perfect German Hausfrau impression and whisk up a few Frühstuck Brötchen (breakfast rolls), and a sourdough loaf or two. I should know by now that bread can’t be hurried , but I chose a recipe that is obviously designed for fresh breakfast rolls and only needed two 20 minute proves,and a 25 minute bake. So how come having started at 7 we didn’t eat till 10? Well I still haven’t worked that one out, though it may have to do with trying to do a sourdough loaf and getting reading to bake a Prinzregententorte (Prince Regent Cake) at the same time.
The rolls were Mohnbrötchen (poppy seed rolls). Basically brown flour and poppy seeds, but the hydration is milk and butter. The recipe for 6 rolls is
- 250g Brown Flour
- 125g lukewarm milk
- 50g butter
- 25g poppyseed
- 5g sugar
- 5g salt
- 1/2 sachet dried yeast
Mix together, knead, prove for 20 minutes, shape into 6 rolls, prove for another 20 minutes (the new Neff oven does that particularly well), slash and bake for 25 minutes at 200C (brushing butter on 5 minutes before the end of the bake).
The rolls were lovely, especially with Marmite and Cheese – a family favourite. Now if you have visited this blog before you will know that Germany has 3000 different rolls types. I have now done 1 – and being 52 I need to live another 57 years if I am to bake all of them once a week. I could get up early every morning and cut that down to 8 years but I am not sure I can channel my inner German Hausfrau in such a dedicated way.
The loaf was driven by the desire for a bit of sourdough, and a vague re-visit to the Heidebrot using sourdough techniques rather than commercial yeast. I have been keeping my sourdough culture going now for over 5 years. It gets neglected from time to time and I fret I have allowed to die, but it always come backs to life. There is a huge satisfaction knowing that this is my very own mix of wild Suffolk yeast and lactic bacteria and I intend to keep it going till I keel over.
Now the thing with sourdough is it is unpredictable . It is a natural yeast and sometimes it rages with energy and you are rushing to keep up with it, and other times you just need to leave your loaf proving and wait for the whole process to take its course. To be honest that is why people think it is hard. It is not really, as long as you know what to look out for and apply every day bread knowledge. I would always, though, recommend people learn basic bread making skills before moving onto sourdough because of this unpredictability.
This loaf was a white sourdough ferment, buckwheat flour, rye flour and ground rye grains. I don’t have recipe as I tend to make these breads up as I go a along, but the recipe is always the same if you follow the baker percentages. These are the percentage of water and salt to the weight of flour. Salt should be 2% of the flour weight, and water 65% – 70% of the flour weight . Other than that, play with the flour and anything else (grains, honey, seeds) to your hearts content.
The result was the heavy bread I love (well it was mainly rye and buckwheat), but with that sourdough tang that makes and sourdough loaf delicious. It is destined to be wrapped around some slices of bacon for breakfast. Now a bacon sarnie is not very German (for you non Brits out there that means sandwich), but there are times to break even the teutonic rules.
And how much was my Hausfrau impression appreciated by “Mein Mann” (better known on this blog as “the husband”). Well apart from his normal comments about the ability of poppy seeds to distribute themselves all over the kitchen, he thought they were lovely. So much so that we have only 1 left of the 6 I baked. Frühstuck Brötchen may become a new family tradition. And of course tomorrow I get a lie in because the loaf is ready and waiting of the its bacon accompaniment.
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I do all my sourdoughs by volume and they have always worked. Three cups of flour are about 450g (usually one bread flour and vary the rest), slug of olive oil, half a cup of sourdough ferment, cup of water and teaspoon of salt.
Little tip, and I have needed this: freeze a jamjar of starter for the sad day when there is green mould on the ferment. Flush the lot down the loo, sterilise the Kilner jar, jamjar of starter into more flour and water and you are good to go in a day.