Tag: Breads of Europe

Breads of Europe | Dinkel, Einkorn, Roggenbrot mit Walnüssen und Gerstel Sauerteig (spelt, einkorn, rye bread with walnuts and barley leaven)

SWITZERLAND

Gerstel Sauerteig (barley sourdough)

  • 300 g + 150 g rye flour
  • 100 ml water, lukewarm
  • 50 g barley flour
  • 50 ml water, lukewarm

This leaven has three stages.

First, mix 50 grams of barley with 50 millilitres of lukewarm water, leave to ferment covered with a damp cloth for 24 hours.

Second, mix 150 grams of rye flour with 100 millilitres of lukewarm water, add to the first mixture and leave to ferment for 12 hours.

Third, hold back 100 grams of this mixture, and add 300 grams of rye flour to make a dry crumbly starter. It will keep for weeks, and is reconstituted with an equal amount of water, then with rye and water to start the process all over again.

Final Dough

  • 450 g white spelt flour
  • 400 ml water
  • 250 g sourdough
  • 150 g rye flour
  • 150 g einkorn wheat flour
  • 120 g walnuts, halved
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g salt

Boil 150 milliltres of water. Sieve rye flour into a large bowl, pour in boiling water and leave for an hour to thicken into a paste.

In a small bowl dissolve yeast in 250 millilitres of water.

Add the einkorn and spelt flours, sourdough and salt to the large bowl with the rye paste. Form into a dough, knead for 10 minutes. Leave to rise for an hour, degas, leave for a further hour.

Cut into two equal pieces, add the walnuts, shape into rounds and place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Leave to rise covered for an hour.

Desired dough temperature 26°C.

Preheat oven to 240°C.

Place a tray half filled with boiling water in the bottom of the oven.

Turn heat down to 180°C and bake for 45 minutes.


BRÖTCHEN | Belokranjska Pogaca SLOVENIA Bela Krajina bread cake buns

The region of Bela Krajina in Slovenia was slightly off our route but we cannot leave out these delicious aromatic bread buns.

  • 500 g white wheat flour, t450 / t500
  • 300 ml milk, warmed to 38ºC
  • 2 (55 g) small eggs
  • 25 g yeast
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Dissolve 5 grams of yeast in 100 ml lukewarm milk, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour, whisk into a smooth mixture, cover with a damp cloth, leave for 8 hours.

Dissolve remaining yeast in remaining milk. Sieve remaining flour into a large bowl, add egg, yeast mixtures and a large pinch of salt.

This is a sticky dough. Knead for ten minutes to produce a smooth dough. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, degas, rest for 30 minutes.

Grease a baking tray.

Roll out the dough into the shape of the tray, place in the tray, and allow the dough to spring back from the edges. Leave to rise for 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 240ºC.

Whisk egg, brush the top of the dough with the egg wash, sprinkle with cumin seeds and sea salt.

Cut the dough into 4 centimetre squares.

Bake at 220°C for 20 minutes, until the surface is golden brown and crispy.

Dough temperature 24ºC.


BRÖTCHEN | Ninda Purpura / Küçük Ballı Ekmekler TURKEY MESOPOTAMIA Hittite, Babylon and Sumer honey breads

The bread called ninda in ancient Anatolian, Sumerian and Babylonian societies started with a pre-ferment that combined flour ground from einkorn wheat, with honey and molasses. After a couple of days this pre-ferment was added to flour, honey and water, then rested overnight before baking early the following morning.

Various ingredients – butter, cheese, figs, honey, molasses, olive oil, peas, salt – were added to the dough to make elaborate versions in various shapes for different occasions. This was a firm dough. Hydration would have been low and not high like modern doughs.

Ancient breads had a dense texture, a closed crumb compared with the open crumb of modern breads. They were not breads with big holes like the baquette and the ciabatta.

The fermentation method is still in existence today in the Trabzon region where sourdough bread has remained popular.

According to Ahmet Ünal, author of The Oldest Dishes of Anatolia / Culinary Culture in Hittite and Contemporary Societies, Anatolia has the oldest cuisine in the world after ancient Egypt, Sumer and Babylon.

Ever since the ancient cuniform texts were first translated, the opportunity to compare this ancient culinary culture with modern methods and devices has been grasped by creative bakers, cooks and chefs. With the re-emergence of einkorn wheat in Turkish farming it has become possible to test and re-define the ninda bread culture.

We offer here the original version with only the pre-ferment and a modern version with rye sourdough and yeast.

Pre-Ferment

  • 120 g whole einkorn wheat flour
  • 100 ml water, warmed
  • 30 g forest honey
  • 15 g pomegranate molasses

Whisk the water into the honey and molasses, add a third of the flour, stir. Cover, leave to ferment for 24 hours at room temperature. Add half of the remaining flour and leave for a further 24 hours. Add the last of the flour and leave for another 24 hours. The loose dough should have begun to ferment and emit a sour smell.

Un-Leavened

  • 500 g whole einkorn wheat flour
  • 250 g pre-ferment
  • 150 g water
  • 150 g honey

Mix honey and water into the flour with a wooden spoon. Mix into a slack dough, cover and leave overnight.

Add the pre-ferment to the mixture, leave to rise for two hours.

Cut dough into 100 g pieces, shape into balls, palce on a baking tray, leave to rise again.

Leavened

  • 500 g + 45 g whole einkorn wheat flour
  • 350 g spelt flour
  • 300 ml + 75 ml water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 250 g pre-ferment
  • 150 g honey
  • 40 g rye sourdough
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g bread improver

Mix the large amount of einkorn flour and the spelt flour with the large amount of water, autolyse for 60 minutes.

Warm remaining water in a saucepan with the honey, add to a bowl containing the yeast, whisk into a froth.

Combine honey-yeast liquid, bread improver and pre-ferment into the first mixture to form a slack dough. With wet hands knead into a smooth dough.

Leave to rise for two hours.

Dust a clean surface with two tablespoons of einkorn flour.

Cut dough into 8 equal pieces, around 140 g each. With floured hands shape into balls, rolling them in the flour. Place on a floured baking tray.

Leave to rise for two hours.

Glaze

  • 30 g honey
  • 15 ml hot water

Put the tray in a cold oven, bring heat to 230ºC. When the temperature reaches 230ºC, reduce to 180ºC and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, apply honey glaze.


Legendary Dishes | Muffins au Fromage (cheese muffins)

FRANCE

Toasted cheese muffins made with Reblochon


French cheese muffins got a makeover when bakers and conectioners realised that Reblochon de Savoie – the creamy semi-soft raw milk cheese of the French Alps – produced an entirely different product to muffins made with semi-hard mountain cheese.

We based our version on the recipe on the Savoyard Reblochon website, because we also believe semi-soft cheese is perfect for these little breads (if made with yeast) or little cakes (if made with baking powder).

We used cermaic ramekins and tin cups with a 125 gram volume.

This is the yeast version. For the baking powder version go here.

We also used white spelt flour whereas soft white wheat flour is more suitable for the baking powder version.

  • 250 g Reblochon cheese / semi-soft raw-milk cheese
  • 250 g yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g white spelt flour
  • 120 ml water, warmed
  • 15 g yeast
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Oil, for greasing

Preheat oven to at 180°C.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

Beat the eggs in the yoghurt.

Stir the seasonings into the flour, add the egg-yoghurt mixture followed by the yeast mixture.

Beat into an homogeneous mass.

Leave to rise for 90 minutes.

Pour or spoon mixture into greased cups or ramekins, two-thirds full.

Divide the cheese into the same number of cups or ramekins, push each piece into the centre of the muffin mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden-brown on the top.

Serve hot or leave to cool completely, lightly toast under the grill.


Breads of Europe | Baslerbröt (Basel bread)

SWITZERLAND

Basel is well known for its bakers and it is also known for a bread with a soft crumb and a floury crunchy crust that may have originated in the home not the bakery. Traditionally Basel bread is made with a levain (starter) and with ruchmeal (the half white flour characteristic of Swiss flour mixes).

Levain

  • 300 ml water
  • 150 g whole wheat flour
  • 150 g white wheat flour, t550 or higher
  • 5 g yeast

Dough

  • 600 g levain
  • 600 g white wheat flour, t550 or higher
  • 500 ml water, warmed
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 40 g yeast
  • 35 g salt

Combine the ingredients for the starter, and leave to ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

Dissolve yeast in the warm water.

Mix the flours in a large bowl, add the yeast water and the starter, work with a sturdy wooden spoon for ten minutes.

Cover and leave to rise for 50 minutes.

Using floured hands turn out out onto a floured surface, and with several folds push the air out of the dough.

Leave to rise for a further 50 minutes.

With floured hands divide the dough into four equal pieces, shape into rounds, place on a baking tray with the floured sides up and leave to rise, about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 300ºC.

When the dough is ready reduce the temperature to 230ºC, bake for 60 minutes.


Indigenous Ingredients

Wheat

Breads of Europe | Kmecki Kruh (farm bread)

SLOVENIA

Beer bread is associated with northern Europe, but this Slovenian bread is delicious, homely flavours that make it unforgettable. A traditional favourite.

We made it with wholewheat flour, it can also be made with white wheat flour and wholewheat flour combined.

  • 900 g whole wheat flour
  • 350 ml beer
  • 200 ml milk
  • 80 g butter
  • 50 g sourdough
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 40 yeast

Warm the beer, add yeast and honey, leave for 15 minutes.

Warm the milk, add butter and leave to melt.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, putting the leftover germ into the milk.

Pour the yeast-beer and germ-milk liquids into the flour. Add sourdough, form into a loose dough, knead on a clean work surface for 15 minutes.

Leave to rise for an hour, de-gas, leave for a further hour.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape into rounds or place in loaf tins and leave to rise, about 90 minutes.

Bake for an hour in a 190°C oven.


Indigenous Ingredients

Slovenia version, photo courtesy Slovenia Tourism

Beer
Butter
Honey
Milk
Wheat

Breads of Europe | Flûtes au Fromage (cheese bread sticks)

SWITZERLAND

The butter-milk ratio is the essential element in these cheese sticks. The cheese will bind the mixture but more butter and less milk will also toughen the dough, so for a lighter dough and ultimately a light stick use less butter and more milk. We suggest you play with the quantities of butter and milk to achieve the desired texture.

  • 250 g strong white wheat flour
  • 110 g butter, softened
  • 110 g Sbrinz cheese, fine grated
  • 100 ml milk, warmed
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 salt
  • 15 g sugar
  • 10 g malt / molasses
  • 10 g green / white pepper

Dissolve yeast in the milk and sugar.

Fold 45 grams of flour into yeast mixture, leave to rise for 45 minutes.

Work the molasses into the flour, add the salt and pepper, followed by the cheese, butter and yeast mixture.

Knead the dough gently for five minutes, leave to rise for 75 minutes.

On a floured surface roll the dough out into 30 x 30 centimetre sheet about 5 mm thick.

Cut into long strips 2 centimetre wide, place on a buttered baking tray, leave for 30 minutes.

Bake at 220ºC for 10 minutes.


Breads of Europe | Baguettes Maison (home-made bread sticks)

BELGIUM FRANCE NETHERLANDS
  • 1 kg white wheat flour, t650
  • 660 ml mineral / spring water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 25 g yeast
  • 20 g salt
  • 10 g sugar

Dissolve yeast in the sugar and 130 millilitres of water.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, yeast mixture and remaining water.

This mixture requires extensive hand kneading, to produce a soft dough that is not sticky, somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.

Leave to rise covered for three hours, degas twice.

The dough should be shaped into long slim loaves, and placed between folds of parchment on baking trays.

Leave to rise for at least an hour, preferably two depending on the ambient temperature.

Preheat oven to 235°C.

Place a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.

When the temperature comes back up to 230ºC, bake baguettes for 20 minutes.


Breads of Europe | Birnenbrot (pear bread)

SWITZERLAND

This pear bread comes from an old, established tradition that even today is interpreted differently in each of the Swiss cantons.

One version is made with bread (yeast) dough, another with pastry (oil) dough, yet another with puff (butter) pastry – the latter being preferred by many bakeries because of its lightness.

There are three distinct shapes – thick with filling, like a boat, thin with filling like a wedge (birnenweggen) or like an oblong bread with bits of fruit and nut scattered throughout the crumb.

It has taken us many years to determine the actual difference between birnenbrot and birnenweggen, and to decide on a recipe that has a fidelity to the old tradition. In the end we decided to adapt a recipe from a 1938 cookbook. The dough is a variation on the recipe for the spiced bread rolls called gewürzzopf.

We also added a splash of fruit brandy.

Dough

  • 500 g Zopf flour (or 200 g strong white wheat flour, 200 g white spelt flour, t630, 100 g white wheat flour, t550, large pinch of barley malt flour)
  • 225 ml milk, full-fat, warmed to 38ºC
  • 60 g butter, softened
  • 45 g yoghurt
  • 30 g thick pear juice
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 g brown sugar
  • 7 g salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom, ground
  • ½ tsp cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, ground
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Dissolve yeast in the milk and sugar. Mix the flours, salt and spices. Pour yeast mixture into the flour, add butter, knead into a rough dough. Combine the pear juice and yoghurt, add gradually, about 10 grams at a time, working it into the dough to make it smooth. Leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Filling

  • 450 g pears, coarse-mashed (cored weight from hard and soft pears)
  • 125 g walnuts, crushed or halved
  • 125 g sultanas
  • 100 g candied lemon and orange
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g dried apricots reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, , chopped into small pieces
  • 50 g dried pears reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, , chopped into small pieces
  • 30 ml fruit brandy (optional)
  • 25 g birnbrotgewürz (pear bread seasoning)

Combine all the ingredients. If using the brandy stir into the mixture at the end and leave to permeate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 200.C.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Divide filling into four equal amounts. Roll each piece of dough into an elongated rectangle, arrange the filling along one side of the doughs, fold over and brush with water to seal the edges. Place on greased baking trays.

Bake for about 35 minutes.


BLUE WINDOW | Food Travels in the Alps | Birnenbrot (pear bread)

This pear bread comes from an old, established tradition that even today is interpreted differently in each of the Swiss cantons.

One version is made with bread (yeast) dough, another with pastry (oil) dough, yet another with puff (butter) pastry – the latter being preferred by many bakeries because of its lightness.

There are three distinct shapes – thick with filling, like a boat, thin with filling like a wedge (birnenweggen) or like an oblong bread with bits of fruit and nut scattered throughout the crumb.

It has taken us many years to determine the actual difference between birnenbrot and birnenweggen, and to decide on a recipe that has a fidelity to the old tradition. In the end we decided to adapt a recipe from a 1938 cookbook. The dough is a variation on the recipe for the spiced bread rolls called gewürzzopf.

We also added a splash of fruit brandy.

Dough

  • 500 g Zopf flour (or 200 g strong white wheat flour, 200 g white spelt flour, t630, 100 g white wheat flour, t550, large pinch of barley malt flour)
  • 225 ml milk, full-fat, warmed to 38ºC
  • 60 g butter, softened
  • 45 g yoghurt
  • 30 g thick pear juice
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 g brown sugar
  • 7 g salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom, ground
  • ½ tsp cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, ground
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Dissolve yeast in the milk and sugar. Mix the flours, salt and spices. Pour yeast mixture into the flour, add butter, knead into a rough dough. Combine the pear juice and yoghurt, add gradually, about 10 grams at a time, working it into the dough to make it smooth. Leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Filling

  • 450 g pears, coarse-mashed (cored weight from hard and soft pears)
  • 125 g walnuts, crushed or halved
  • 125 g sultanas
  • 100 g candied lemon and orange
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g dried apricots reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, chopped into small pieces
  • 50 g dried pears reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, chopped into small pieces
  • 30 ml fruit brandy (optional)
  • 25 g birnbrotgewürz (pear bread seasoning)

Combine all the ingredients. If using the brandy stir into the mixture at the end and leave to permeate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 200.C.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Divide filling into four equal amounts. Roll each piece of dough into an elongated rectangle, arrange the filling along one side of the doughs, fold over and brush with water to seal the edges. Place on greased baking trays.

Bake for about 35 minutes.

Breads of Europe | Toast Bread

EUROPE

The dry gerstel leaven can be omitted and replaced with the same amount in wholewheat flour. The poolish is optional.

  • 630 ml water, heated to 38ºC
  • 600 g strong white wheat flour
  • 400 g white wheat flour, t550
  • 100 g spelt berries, soaked for two hours in 200 ml mineral water, drained
  • 60 ml 50:50 rye-mineral water poolish (optional)
  • 50 g dry gerstel leaven / 50 g wholewheat flour
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g pomegranate molasses
  • 15 g salt
  • 15 g sugar
  • Malted barley flour / malted rye flour, large pinch
  • Butter, for greasing

Stir the dry leaven into the poolish, add the molasses and a small piece of yeast, leave for an hour at room temperature.

After 45 minutes dissolve remaining yeast in the warm water with the sugar and 50 g of the white flour, leave to froth.

Combine the flours, add the salt, yeast mixture and poolish mixture.

Knead into a smooth dough, about 15 minutes, leave to rise for an hour, degas and leave for a further hour.

Work the berries into the dough.

Divide into two pieces, place in greased loaf tins, allow to rise, about two hours.

Preheat oven to 220ºC.

Bake for 40 minutes.

THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Fiesch | Imwinkelried Bakery and Cafe

The three wise men holding their forefingers to their lips know a secret about Appenzeller cheese. They are not the only ones in the mountains and valleys with secrets. The recipe for roggenbrot is also closely guarded.

The woman in Brig Tourism said, ‘Why don’t you ask a bakery for their recipe?’

‘We have,’ we said.

‘Yes,’ she then said knowingly. ‘My own recipe is a secret.’

She told us to go up to Eggerberg.

‘Any baker in particular?’ we said with a touch of irony. ‘It is a small place, you will find it.’

Eggerberg village occupied both sides of the road that meandered up the mountain, about 1000 metres above Visp, west of Brig. We travelled seven minutes on the Lötschberger train from Brig. Backhaus Eggerberg was sat back from the road, a few hundred metres from the railway halt. It was closed or shut, we could not be sure because there were no signs of life.

Back in Brig, Maria-Grazia, the manager at Hotel Ambassador on Saflischstrasse, directed us to Fiesch, the seventh stop along the line that carries the Glazier Express into the east of Switzerland. ‘There is a bakery on Hejistrasse. It has a cafe,’ she said. ‘Open all day.’

We surveyed a map of the town and realised we could navigate a narrow path out of the railway station down to the road that ran parallel to both the rail-line and the Rhône river.

In the shop a mature woman greeted us with a blank look when we asked whether there might be someone who could talk about roggenbrot. Crestfallen we wandered out and immediately wondered where the cafe was.

Then we saw the set of steps at the side of the shop.

A young woman appeared. We ordered coffee and cake, and asked again about roggenbrot, whether it would be possible to get the recipe.

She smiled, made the coffee and said, ‘I will ask for you, please sit.’

Minutes later a tall man appeared holding a piece of headed notepaper. Then he began to explain. Imwinkelried bakery and cafe is one of 60 establishments in the canton that makes the traditional rye bread of the region, (roggenbrot in German, pains de seigle in French). Rye bread, once a stable of the canton’s traditional food, is back in the ascendancy. Imwinkelried bake it plain, and with hazelnuts and with the fruit of the canton. They also make the local pastries made with carnival dough, known as chräpfli, of which later.

If you decide to visit this wonderful bakery to sample their traditional breads and pastries, walk back along the platform in the direction the train has come from. In front of you, past a house, a narrow path winds down onto Hejistrasse. The bakery is immediately across the road, the cafe above.

This is the Imwinkelried bakery version.

roggenbrotmixing-lowres

Roggenbrot / Pains de Seigle (sourdough rye bread)

The recommended sourdough for roggenbrot is made with one part rye flour to two parts water and fresh yeast between 1% and 1.5% of the amount of water. Some bakers use 10%. A 1:1 rye-water ratio is also used, without the addition of yeast. Some bakers add 10% from an existing sourdough as a starter. These are the secrets of the rye bread maker. Whatever the choice the new sourdough is left to ferment for at least 12 hours at room temperature and 10 hours in the refrigerator.

  • 1.35 kg rye flour
  • 1 litre water
  • 100 g rye sourdough
  • 50 g yeast
  • 35 g rock salt

Dissolve yeast in 100 ml water, add to the rye flour with remaining water, salt and sourdough. Mix for five minutes, knead for ten minutes. Desired dough temperature is 25°C. Leave to ferment for an hour, degas, leave for a further hour and longer if the dough has not risen sufficiently. Preheat oven to 230°C. Divide into four 600 g pieces and shape into rounds. Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, flatten each one slightly, dust with rye flour and leave to rise for 30 minutes. The surface of the dough should be cracked slightly. Spray oven with water. Bake for an hour, until the surface is cracked and crispy.

Legendary Dishes | Burgonyás Lángos (fried potato flatbread)

HUNGARY

The resurgence of lángos – the aromatic flatbreads of Hungary, popular across central Europe and the Balkans – is not a surprise to snack food aficionados. Always popular as a street food, lángos gradually became a fast-food restaurant favourite. Now the bread that was once baked in brick ovens and given its name because it was close to the flame is a traditional deep-fried snack food. This is the potato version, made with a mixture of mashed potato and wheat flour.

  • 500 g white wheat flour, t500
  • 250 g potatoes, boiled, mashed
  • 150 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 20 g yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil, for frying

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm milk, leave for 15 minutes.

Work the flour into the mashed potatoes, add salt and yeast mixture. Form into a stiff dough without too much kneading. Leave to rise for two hours at room temperature.

Shape into 100 gram balls, flatten into oblongs or ovals about 1 centimetre thick for crispy thin breads or 2 centimetres for crispy thick breads, leave to rise for an hour.

Heat oil to a height of 2 centimetres in a deep frying pan, place several of the dough pieces in the pan. Fry, spooning oil on top of the dough, for about a minute. It will puff up. Turn over and fry until the dough is golden brown.

Place on absorbant kitchen paper, dress with variations from grated cheese, crushed garlic, garlic powder, cubed ham, lemon zest, oil, sour cream and yoghurt.

Breads of Europe | Eliópsomo Pilíou Ελιόψωμο Πηλίου (Pelion olive bread)

GREECE

Greek Breakfast, the food site of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, is a treasure of authentic local recipes, a portal into the unique world of Greek traditional food.

It describes the olive cake of Pelion ‘as a type of bread in which the dough is mixed with pine olives to produce a strong aroma and taste of oil’. An ancient product, ‘baked before the usual bread loaves, today it is mainly a tourist type produced by the “traditional” bakeries in the many villages of Pelion’.

A basic yeast dough made with soft wheat flour, we have tweaked the recipe to enhance the flavour with the introduction of a small amount of sourdough, a larger amount of oil and a whole spelt version.

In Pelion it is served warm ‘when the aroma of the oil is particularly intense’.

The desired dough temperature is 25ºC.

  • 500 g white wheat flour, t550 / whole spelt flour
  • 15 g yeast dissolved in 200 ml warm water and 5 g sugar
  • 200 g olives, pitted, halved / feta cheese or 100 g of each
  • 100 ml + 15 ml olive oil
  • 60 g sourdough
  • 2 tbsp dried mint / dried oregano / dried thyme
  • 10 g salt

Work the oil, sourdough and salt into the flour, add the yeast mixture, knead into a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.

Leave to rise for two hours, degas, work in the herbs, leave to rise for an hour, work in the olives or cheese or a mixture of both, leave for a further hour.

Divide into two equal pieces, place on a baking tray, drizzle surface with oil, leave to rise for two hours.

Bake at 190ºC for 45 minutes.

BRÖTCHEN | Handkaisersemmel AUSTRIA hand-made Emperor breads

Traditional made with semmelmehl, ground from the high protein wheat of the Pannonian region. With a mineral content of 700 this gluten-rich flour is used by bakers for the range of Austrian breads, viz – kaisersemmel, kärntner, kipferl, laberl, langsemmel, stangerl, weckerl.

  • 500 g white wheat flour t700 / 300 g strong white flour + 200 g white wheat flour t550
  • 200 ml low-fat milk, lukewarm
  • 80 ml water, lukewarm (the amount of water will be determined by the flour)
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 30 g sourdough (from a rye-wheat fermentation)
  • 15 g yeast
  • 1 tsp malt extract / 2 tsp malt flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 50:50 potato starch and rye flour, for dusting

Dissolve yeast in the warm water with the sugar. Stir the malt flour into the wheat flour with the salt. Add the butter, malt extract, milk and yeast mixture to the flour. Knead into smooth dough, about 15 minutes. Leave to rest for 45 minutes, degas. Rest again, degas after 40 minutes, then again after 35 minutes, finally after a further 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 46 gram pieces, dust with potato-rye flour, shape into round balls, flatten, create a star shape with each ball by folding the dough into an overlap six times. Place on a tray, leave to rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250ºC top and bottom heat. Spray oven with water. Place tray in oven. Reduce temperature to 230ºC. Bake for 18 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Shokoladnyye Pryaniki Шоколадные Пряники (chocolate gingerbreads)

RUSSIA

Russia has the most diverse gingerbread tradition in Europe. From allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger as the standard spice mixture to none at all, from kefir, milk and sour cream as a liquid medium to none at all, and from cheese, chocolate, honey, jam and nuts as fillings and flavourings to none at all, the Russian gingerbread is an enigma until it is decorated in the Tula fashion and then it becomes a majestic creation.

The basic ingredients are baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, flour, butter, eggs, milk and sugar. After that it is show time! Russian bakers revel in their biscuit gingerbreads and in their cake gingerbreads and continue to find different ways to celebrate that creative spirit.

Among the elaborations are these chocolate gingerbreads, spiced with allspice, cinnamon and ginger.

  • 350 g white wheat flour, t450
  • 210 g sour cream
  • 90 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60 g honey
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 8 g ginger powder
  • 5 g allspice powder
  • 5 g cinnamon powder
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Nutmeg, 10 gratings
  • Tip of knife bicarbonate of soda
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting

Coating 1

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp water / lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Coating 2

  • 100 g chocolate, 75%

In a saucepan melt the butter, honey and sugar over a low heat. Leave to cool a little.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder, salt and spices. Add the egg to the cream. Add the dry and wet mixtures to the warm honey mixture. Form into a loose dough.

Dust a clean surface with cocoa powder. Roll into a long thick sausage on the cocoa powder, cut at 3 centimetre intervals. Place on parchment on a tray. Bake at 190℃ for 25 minutes, leave to cool on a rack.

Coat in chocolate melted in a bain-marie or in a cocoa powder, icing sugar solution.


Breads of Europe | Pide (flatbread)

Pide dough at first stage of rising, dough temperature should be 25ºC

TURKEY

The Turkish flatbread comes in various shapes, crusty and soft, and is rarely unadorned, made thick to hold or fill numerous meats and vegetables. Large rounds with an uneven surface are generally soft with a spongy crumb, baked at a low temperature, small ovals are flat and crisp, and more often than enclosed into a tear-drop shape with a lazy eye opening. Either way they have to puff up.

Dough

  • 500 g strong white wheat flour
  • 200 ml lukewarm water
  • 100 g sourdough
  • 1 egg / 45 g thick yoghurt
  • 30 ml oil
  • 25 g yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Finish

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 g black sesame seeds

Activate yeast in sugar and 75 ml lukewarm water. Sift flour with the salt. Add yeast mixture to flour with the yoghurt and oil, the remaining water and more if necessary to make a pliable dough, about 15 minutes kneading.

Leave to rise for one hour, fold out air and leave for a further hour.

Preheat oven to 250°C and heat two baking trays. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Knead, flatten and stretch into ovals. Leave to rest.

Remove the trays, oil and put back in the oven for five minutes. Carefully place two of the ovals on each tray, wash with the egg and sprinkle with seeds.

Bake one tray at a time on a low rack for 10 minutes.

Breads of Europe | Lepinje (flatbread)

BALKANS BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA GREECE MACEDONIA SERBIA TURKEY

Lepinje! Pide? Pita?


Pita bread is associated with middle Eastern and north African baking and with kebab shops who stuff meat and salad into the flat pouch.

Despite its origins in Arabic countries, pita is an integral aspect of European bread making. Known as pita in the Balkans and Greece, pizza in Italy (before its famous topping) and pide in Turkey, the common denominator for a successful flatbread is a hot airy oven.

Not as well known is the flatbread of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, a deliciously soft pouch called lepinje usually made with milk. We have used yoghurt. Kefir is also a good medium.

It can be made with kefir or with yoghurt. We have used yoghurt.

  • 1 kg strong white wheat flour
  • 500 ml yoghurt at room temperature or no lower than 20ºC
  • 175 ml lukewarm water
  • 100 g white sourdough
  • 30 g salt
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g white wheat flour
  • 15 g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Flour for dusting (optional)
  • Oil for greasing
  • Warm milk / warm water for washing

Put yeast, sugar and three tablespoons of flour in the warm water. Stir and leave to rise for two hours.

Sift the flour into a bowl, add salt, yeast mixture and yoghurt, knead for five minutes.

Add sourdough and knead for ten minutes.

Leave to rise for an hour, degas, leave to rise for a further hour.

Grease baking trays lightly with oil.

Divide dough into eight equal pieces, shape into balls, rest for 15 minutes.

Shape with palm of hand into long teardrops.

Cut squares into the dough.

Wash with warm milk or warm water, cover and leave for half an hour.

With 15 minutes to go pre-heat oven to 240°C.

Sprinkle each pouch with black sesame seeds and dust with flour.

Bake in two batches, until the breads have puffed and turned a red-brown colour, about 13 minutes.


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