Friday, February 15, 2013


For an updated version of this post CLICK HERE

Facebook friend and co-baker David Wolfe asked me to help him understand some terms in a German recipe.

Google translate (always good for a laugh!) is not too fluent in professional German baking lingo.

The formula, published by a German bakers' association, Bäko Gruppe Nord, seemed quite intriguing, combining rye meal and cracked wheat with mustard and cheese. The amounts, of course, were calculated for a commercial bakery (43 lb), as were the instructions.

My curiosity was wakened, especially after I saw David's appetizing photos in his blog (check it out!) "Hearth Baked Tunes" so I downsized the formula for two small loaves.

The original recipe requires 16% of the white flour as preferment, all the remaining flour, including the coarse grinds, is worked into the final dough. The breads are baked "bei Brötchentemperatur" ("at roll temperature") - leaving hapless hobby bakers clueless as to what that might be.

But I don't donate for nothing to Wikipedia, a quick research at the German site showed me the light: the breads were to be baked at 465ºF/240ºC.

Since I'm a friend of long fermentation (also from a physician's point of view,) I re-wrote the procedure from using just a small amount of preferment,  to preferment plus soaker for the coarse ground rye and wheat, as well as an overnight fermentation of the dough.

I can honestly say I never noticed a difference between adding the salt with all the other ingredients, or adding it later to the almost finished dough. Peter Reinhart (my guru) mixes everything together at the same time, and I do, too.

For the cheese you can choose between Gouda or Tilsiter. I don't care for stinky cheeses, so I went for the Dutch. Though the recipe didn't specify what kind, it was clear that I would use middle aged cheese (18-month), as I would for gratins, young Gouda is too mild, and really old Gouda unnecessary expensive.

I was very pleased with the result, a beautiful red golden bread, covered with seeds, with a pleasant spiciness, but not too much. It tasted great with cold cuts, and was a wonderful surprise when toasted: a bread with in-built grilled cheese!

Mustard (from Düsseldorf) and coarsely grated Gouda

 SENFBROT - MUSTARD BREAD  (2 small loaves)

140 g/5 oz bread flour
  84 g/3 oz water
    1 g/ 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
    2 g/0.12 oz salt

104 g/3.7 oz wheat meal, coarse
  70 g/2.5 oz rye meal
130 g/4.4 oz water
    3 g/0.12 oz salt

Final Dough
all preferment
all soaker
556 g/19.6 oz bread flour
  15 g/0.5 oz instant yeast
  16 g/0.6 oz salt
408 g/14.3 oz water
  66 g/2.3 oz mustard
122 g/4.3 oz middle aged Gouda (18 month old), coarsely grated or cut in chunks

mustard for brushing
sunflower or pumpkin seed for topping (I used pumpkin seed)

DAY 1:
In the morning, mix preferment and soaker. Cover bowls, and leave them at room temperature.

In the evening, mix all final dough ingredients at low speed (or by hand) for 1 - 2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 6 minutes, adjusting with a little more water or flour, if necessary (dough should be somewhat sticky, clearing only sides of bowl, but stick to bottom.)

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface. With oiled hands, stretch and pat it into a square, first fold top and bottom in thirds, like a business letter, then do the same from both sides.

Gather dough into a ball, place seam side down into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Repeat this stretching and folding 3 times, with 10 minute intervals. After last fold, place dough in lightly oiled container with lid and refrigerate overnight. (I divide the dough at this point in halves, and refrigerate it in two containers.)

First the breads are brushed with mustard....

DAY 2:
Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before using.

Preheat oven to 465ºF/240ºC, including baking stone and steam pan. Place seeds for topping on a plate.

.... then rolled in pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Shape dough into 2 boules, brush them with mustard, and then roll them in sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Place breads, seam side down, on parchment lined baking sheet, and let them proof, until they have grown 1 1/2 times their original size.

Bake for 15 minutes, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water. Remove steam pan, and rotate breads 180 degrees.

Reduce temperature to 210ºC/410ºF,  and continue baking for another 25 minutes, or until breads are a deep reddish brown, sound hollow when thumped at the bottom, and register at least 200ºF/93ºC.

Let breads cool on a wire rack.

The crumb has a nice yellow color from the mustard

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Monday, February 4, 2013


Hier geht's zur deutschen Version dieses Post

January is finally over - it was no friend of the Anderson family, nor of their car! But we survived the untimely end of our vehicle, and even our colorful bruises are by now almost history.

Fortunately we survived the collision - our car did not!
Time for a brand new month, a brand new car - and a brand new Avid Baker's Challenge!

This year we use King Arthur Flour recipes as inspiration, and, with January's "Panettone Muffins", we were off for a roaring start.

"Boston Cream Pie" is a classic. In 1856, Monsieur Sanzian, French chef of the Parker House Hotel in Boston, turned ye olde custard filled "Pudding Cake Pie" into an elegant dessert by adding a layer of chocolate icing.

He also dressed the sides with almond slivers, but King Arthur's and other versions do not.

This so called pie is no pie at all, but a sponge cake, filled with a layer of pastry cream, and topped with chocolate ganache. Eggy and rich as it is, it doesn't keep very long and should be eaten within two or three days (at the most.)

Having only one co-eater at home, I decided to make a smaller version with half of the Boston Cream Pie recipe, using a 7" springform pan. I also used King Arthur's highly recommended Pastry Cream (1/4 recipe.)

King Arthur apparently has a pronounced sweet tooth. The amount of sugar in the cake seems very high - I reduced it by half, and it was still quite sweet.

The original recipe suggests rubbing a piece of butter over the surface of the hot pastry cream before covering it with plastic wrap, to prevent sticking. I buttered the plastic wrap - much easier than messing around with the cream.

The smaller cake took only 40 minutes to develop a deep golden brown. The original recipe says the cake should be "beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan", but mine and other bloggers' didn't - so don't wait for that to happen, otherwise your cake will be over-baked and dry!

Massachussetts' State Dessert in all its glory!

BOSTON CREAM PIE  (for a 7" cake)

1 ½ eggs, at room temperature
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
85 g (3/8 cup) milk
7 g (1/2 tbsp) butter
85 g (3/4 cup) unbleached cake flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

PASTRY CREAM  (can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge)
170 g (3/4 cup) whole milk
25 g (1/8 cup) sugar
1 pinch salt
½ tsp vanilla extract (or 1/8 vanilla bean)
9 g (1 tbsp.) corn starch
¾ tsp all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
14 g (1 tbsp.) butter

57 g (1/4 cup) heavy or whipping cream
1 ½ tsp corn syrup
64 g (3/8 cup) chopped dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, stir together 1/2 + 1/8 cups of the milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it at the end.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch, flour, and egg yolk with remaining 1/8 cup milk. Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with egg yolk to temper them. Then pour egg/milk mixture back into remaining simmering milk. (Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps.) 

Whisk constantly until mixture thickens
Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in butter and vanilla extract (if using).

Grease piece of plastic wrap and place over pastry cream (so that it touches surface of cream to prevent skin from forming.) Refrigerate until cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 7" springform pan, line with parchment, and grease parchment.

Beat eggs and sugar until very thick, until batter falls from paddle in thick ribbons. Beat in vanilla.

Bring milk and butter to a simmer in small saucepan. Slowly stream it into egg/sugar mixture with engine running, and beat for another minute.

Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt over cake batter. Mix on low speed just until combined, about 1 minute.

Pour batter into cake pan, checking carefully for lumps of flour. (Remove any lumps.)

Bake cake for about 40 minutes, or until it's a deep golden brown (it's supposed to begin to pull away from sides of pan, mine didn't, so don't wait for it!)

Run a spatula or table knife around cake edges (if using a springform pan, remove rim,) and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack to cool completely.

Using a long serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into two equal layers. Fill with pastry cream, spreading it right to the edges. Replace the top layer.

Waiting for the chocolate glaze

Melt chocolate, corn syrup, and cream together until smooth and free of lumps. Add vanilla and stir well.

Pour glaze over filled cake.

(Store any leftovers in the fridge, wrapped in plastic.)

In the meantime, we have visited the Parker House Hotel in Boston, and, of course, ordered the famous dessert. The Boston Cream Pie tasted as good, as we had hoped, and this is what it looked like, en miniature, and a little spruced up:

Boston Cream Pie at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston

Post updated 12/28/15