Saturday, February 26, 2011


100 g whole rye flour
100 g whole buckwheat flour
100 g white buckwheat flour (or all whole or white buckwheat flour)
4 g salt
225 g water

175 g water (lukewarm)
6 g instant yeast
all soaker
295 g bread flour
4 g salt
16 g honey
1 tsp. coriander, ground
½ tsp. anise seeds, ground


In the morning, stir together soaker ingredients, until well hydrated. Cover, and let sit at room temperature.

In the evening, stir together water and instant yeast. Add to other ingredient for final dough, and mix (with paddle attachment) on lowest speed for 1 minute (or by hand). Let dough sit for 5 minutes.

With dough hook (or by hand), knead on medium-low speed, for 2 min. Dough should be very supple and sticky. Continue to mix for 4 min. more. Dough will still be sticky.

Transfer dough to floured work surface, and, with wet or oiled hands, stretch and fold dough (pull one side up and fold it over itself, repeat this maneuver with other three sides). Let rest for 10 min, and repeat stretches and folds 3 more times (total time 40 minutes). Gather dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl (seam side down), cover and refrigerate overnight.


Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hrs. before using.

Preheat oven to 475 F/250 C, including steam pan. Divide dough in 2 equal pieces. Shape 2 boules, and proof in bannetons (seam side up) or on parchment lined baking sheet (seam side down), for ca. 45 - 60 minutes, or until grown to 1 1/2 times their original size.

Score breads crosswise. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 F/200 C, rotate 180 degrees, and continue baking for another 15 minutes (internal temperature at least 200 F/93 C, and bread should sound hollow when thumped on bottom).

Let breads cool on wire rack.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Acadia meets Germany - Acadia trifft Deutschland

Buckwheat is high in minerals like iron and potassium, a good source of protein, and, not only that, it has more Vitamin B than wheat! I ate buckwheat "porridge" for breakfast every day while I was pregnant with Per - at that time nothing could be healthy enough for the benefit of my first child.

It took a while to get used to its strong and distinctive taste (and I softened it with generous amounts of cream and honey). But I thought that in a bread, buckwheat might add a very interesting flavor, so I looked for a recipe. I found one in my old German baking book, and played for quite a while around with it.

I tried it several times, in different ways, but the result was never really satisfying. Something was missing, the taste was okay, but not that great, so I put it away, to work on it another time, perhaps.

But buckwheat grows right here in Maine, and when, for the first time, I tasted Ployes (French Acadian buckwheat pancakes) I remembered my quest for a good buckwheat bread.

And this time, using a different technique, some spices and a little bit of honey, my buckwheat bread turned out as tasty as I had hoped. It can be done with white buckwheat flour, whole buckwheat, or a combination, depending on your preference for a milder or more assertive taste.

Buchweizen hat einen hohen Gehalt
an Mineralstoffen wie Eisen und Kalium, ist eine gute Eiweissquelle, und nicht nur das, es enthält auch mehr Vitamin B als Weizen! Als ich mit Per schwanger war, ass ich jeden Tag Buchweizenbrei zum Frühstück - damals war mir nichts gesund genug für das Wohlergehen meines ersten Kindes.

Es brauchte eine Weile, bis ich mich an den kräftigen, etwas strengen Geschmack gewöhnt hatte (und ich milderte ihn mit grosszügigen Dosen Sahne und Honig ab). Aber ich dachte, dass Buchweizen Brot einen sehr interessanten Geschmack geben könnte, daher suchte ich nach einem Rezept. Ich fand eins in meinem alten deutschen Backbuch, und habe eine ganze Zeit lang damit herumgespielt.

Ich probierte es mehrere Male, auf verschiedene Weise, aber das Ergebnis war nie so richtig zufriedenstellend. Irgendetwas fehlte, der Geschmack war zwar okay, aber so toll nun wieder auch nicht, daher legte ich es beiseite, um es mir eventuell später wieder vorzunehmen.

Aber Buchweizen wächst gerade hier in Maine, und als ich zum ersten Mal Ployes (French-Acadian Buchweizenpfannkuchen) auf dem American Folk Festival in Bangor probierte, erinnerte ich mich wieder an meine Suche nach einem guten Buchweizenbrot.

Und diesmal, mit einer anderen Technik, einigen Gewürzen und ein bisschen Honig, wurde mein Buchweizenbrot so lecker, wie ich mir es vorgestellt hatte. Es lässt sich mit hellem Buchweizenmehl, dunklem Vollkorn-Buchweizenmehl, oder einer Kombination herstellen, je nach Vorliebe für einen milderen oder stärkeren Geschmack.

Monday, February 21, 2011


50 g cranberries, dried, or golden raisins
1 tbsp. rum
250 g butter (unsalted), at room temperature
175 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 pinch salt
4 eggs
120 g all-purpose flour
50 g whole wheat pastry flour (or also all-purpose flour)
80 g hazelnuts
1 tbsp. cocoa
16 g baking powder
150 - 175 ml red wine, dry and fruity
50 g semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

GLAZE (optional)
125 g caster sugar
2 - 3 tbsp. red wine

Soak cranberries or raisins in rum.

Preheat oven to 175 C/350 F. Adjust rack to second lowest tier. Grease and flour Bundt cake or Gugelhupf form (1 3/4 l/60 fl. oz).

In food processor, grind hazelnuts together with 50 g of the flour (there may be some bigger pieces left). Sift together rest of flour, cocoa and baking powder in small bowl. Add ground nuts and stir to combine.

With hand held or stand mixer, whisk butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt, until very fluffy, at least 6 minutes. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until mixture is very smooth and creamy.

Stir in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with red wine, until combined. Fold in chocolate and soaked cranberries (or raisins).

Fill dough into cake form, smoothing top with rubber spatula. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until needle comes out clean.

Let cake cool in cake pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Let cool completely.

ICING: Mix powdered sugar and red wine, until smooth. Pour over top of cake in irregular pattern. (The pink icing looks pretty, but I like it less sweet, therefore I omitted it in my cake.)

I adapted the recipe for "Rotweinkuchen" from "Für jeden Tag" magazine.

A Feline Foundling and Steeped in Red

Two years ago we found a little stranger on our doorstep, attracted by the tantalizing smell of barbecued chicken, and my (universally understood) call to the food bowl: "Miez, Miez, Miez (= kitty, kitty, kitty)!" The little Maine Coon was skin and bones under her pretty fur, and ate ravenously what we gave her. She must have been lost for quite a while.

A call to the animal hospital led to a tearful reunion of kitty and her owners. They told us she had vanished three months ago, and they had given up all hope of seeing her again. A token of their gratitude were two large bottles of wine, one white, one red.

Since I am the only occasional imbiber in this household - Richard getting headaches from alcohol - I had to figure out what to do with the 2-liter bottles of vin ordinaire. Once open, the contents had to be consumed - or else turn to vinegar.

The white finally ended in the glasses of the non-discriminating younger members of my family. The red started collecting dust in the basement. Finally I found a recipe for "Beef Goulash in Barolo", a clipping from a German foodie magazine. Being pretty sure that any other dry red would do as well, half of the bottle found its way into this delicious, spicy stew.

But what about the other half? Not another stew, not noble enough for Coq au Vin, so it had to be pastry. Red Velvet Cake was an obvious choice, but too much fuss, I wanted something simpler. And I found it, rich and spicy enough to mellow the dryness of the wine, moist and scrumptious: Red Wine Cake.