Friday, October 4, 2013


One of the best breads I ever made
 Hier geht's zur deutschen Version dieses Posts

During our recent trip to Germany we spent a few days in Potsdam, to visit Frederick the Great's Sanssouci. We stayed at Schlosshotel Cecilienhof, a wonderful hotel right inside another historic site, Cecilienhof Palace.

Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam, a UNESCO world heritage site

Built 1917 by Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia for his wife Cecilie, Duchess of Mecklenburg, this Tudor revival style palace was also the place where these three jolly old guys met:

Churchill, Truman and Stalin at the Potsdam Conference

To honor the history and importance of this heritage, the hotel came up with the idea to create a special bread for the guests' breakfast buffet: an ancient grain sourdough, with a lot of different grains and seeds.

Bread buffet at Schlosshotel Cecilienhof

Multigrain bread served at Schlosshotel Cecilienhof
To educate their guests, the hotel had placed a little brochure on the table, with informations about the bread: "Taste meets Tradition", including a list of the ingredients:

List of ingredients of Cecilienhof Ancient Rye Bread
Rye meal
Sunflower seeds
Ancient wheat meal: emmer and einkorn
Wheat flour (white or medium, not whole wheat)
Rolled spelt
Chestnut flour
Rolled oats
Barley meal
Barley malt extract
Vital wheat gluten
Rolled barley
Steel cut oats
Spelt flour
Potato flakes
Sea salt
Vegetable fat (shortening)
Whole spelt sourdough
Table salt

Unfortunately they didn't supply the bakers' percentage!

Though I'm not the greatest vollkornbrot fan (having been force fed as a child) I really liked the bread, and was quite intrigued by the impressive list of ingredients.

Wild Rice Sourdough - The Bread That Ended The Cold War

In my repertoire I had already one remarkable bread associated with an important historic event: Wild Rice Sourdough - The Bread That Ended The Cold War. Wouldn't it be great to add another one?

I couldn't stop thinking about it, and deemed it a challenge worthy of my talented fellow bakers at The Fresh Loaf. And they rose to the occasion!

Janet's bread

Janet Cook from Colorado bakes breads for the joy of it, though she can't eat them herself.

She modeled her Cecilienhof rye look-alike after Russian rye or Borodinsky bread (her formula and photos are in the comments.)

Dabrownman's version
Prolific multigrain/many seed baker dabrownman from Arizona likes to taunt his audience with food porn and breath taking sunrise photos.

Helped by his no-nonsense, paws-on apprentice Lucy he created this version.

Brian's loaf
Brian (Skibum) from Canada felt encouraged to go over to the "dark side" with his first ever rye vollkornbrot.

A beautiful thing to behold!

Jürgen's take on Cecilienhof bread

Jürgen Krauss (Germany/UK) baked his loaf slowly over 12 hours, like a pumpernickel.

He praised the deep flavors and great versatility of his Cecilienhof challenge bread.  

Ian's nutty bread
Ian (isand66), from New York, gave the bread his personal touch by adding poppy and sesame seeds, pecans and "a bunch of more whole grains".

Inspired by all this activity I sat down with my BreadStorm program to create my own formula. Except for the emmer, I had all the ingredients from the list in my pantry.

Two of my breads would be my base, Friesisches Schwarzbrot (Friesian Rye) and
Rheinisches Schwarzbrot (Rhineland Rye).

Friesisches Schwarzbrot

Using an intermediate dough, like the Friesian Rye (thus eliminating the need for additional yeast,) and baking my loaf like Rhineland Rye seemed a good way to do it.

Rheinisches Schwarzbrot

I also omitted the vital wheat gluten, neither wanting to make quick process with my bread, nor being so anxious that I needed a "safety net".

The bread turned out to be one of the best loaves I ever made, we absolutely LOVED it! Whether it was the complexity of the ingredients, or just an optimal process to develop and marry the different flavors I can't say.

We had it with aged provolone cheese and blackforest ham, and it also tasted wonderful with honey.

Much as I enjoyed the original in its historic ambiance - my bread can at least hold a candle to it. The best of all husbands claims its even better (what a pity you can't see my oh so modest smile!)

Here you see my baker's formula in % (BreadStorm users can download it here)


26 g whole wheat mother starter
100 g rye meal
200 g water, lukewarm 

Intermediate dough
all starter
50 g rye meal (I used here a coarser grind)
13 whole wheat flour
45 g rolled spelt
30 g rolled oats
20 g barley meal
10 g spelt flour
11 g rolled barley
12 g flax seed
9 g steel-cut oats
150 g water, lukewarm

Final dough
all intermediate dough
37 g whole wheat
35 g einkorn flour
35 g farro flour
40 g chestnut flour
8 g salt
20 g barley malt syrup
120 g sunflower seeds, toasted
7 g potato flakes
7 g sunflower seed oil
50 g water

Very liquid starter

DAY 1:
Mix all ingredients for the starter, cover and leave at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours.

DAY 2:
In the morning, mix together all ingredients for intermediate dough. Cover, and leave at room temperature.

Intermediate dough

In the evening, mix together all ingredients for final dough, adjusting with more water, if necessary, to make a very sticky dough.

Fill dough into a (9-inch) sandwich loaf pan (up to 3/4), smooth top with wet hands, and sprinkle it with sunflower seeds. Mist with oil spray, cover pan with aluminum foil, and refrigerate dough overnight.

Final dough in the pan - no shaping necessary

DAY 3:
Remove bread from refrigerator 2 hours before baking, to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450ºF/230ºC.

Bake bread (loosely covered with aluminum foil) at 425ºF/220ºC for 15 min. Remove foil, and bake for 40 minutes more, or until it registers at least 200ºF/93º.

Un-pan loaf onto wire rack, then mist with water, and let it cool completely before cutting.

Cecilienhof Vollkornbrot also freezes well - when it is completely cooled, wrap it in plastic and place in a ZipLock bag.

Crown Princess Cecilie, Duchess of Mecklenburg

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Submitted to Panissimo:  Bread & Companatico
                                        Indovina chi viene a cena                                             
This month's Panissimo is hosted by Simona Briciole


  1. ��Toller Bericht, ich bin kurz davor, in die Küche zu stürzen, um auch mein Glück zu versuchen!

    1. Danke, Yumi, ich kann dich nur sehr ermutigen, es lohnt sich wirklich, selbst, wenn du nicht alle Zutaten bekommen kannst.

  2. That's a real "wow" bread.... one of my favorite kinds. I will see what I can do with this template.... thank you!

    1. It is really a "wow" bread! And, as you see, you can be creative with this bread. Please, let me know how yours turns out.

    2. It stands second in line.... firts we have to eat, my this time not bottomless bread, then I want to try something along those lines and then probably.... so maybe week after next.

    3. It's hard to keep up with eating all the breads - my freezer is always overflowing. I saw the Pane Valle Maggia at Plötzblog, too (the crust of the original looks much darker, though). Sounds quite nice.

    4. Petra used a formula from Jan Hedh's "Swedish Bread & Pastries", I baked several loaves from it (very nice, but beware of errata, like 250 g of bran instead of 25 g!). I'll look it up.

  3. This one looks divine. I was introduced into the world of Vollkorn baking by Marla with her black hamster. But as you know I did not have nearly enough seeds to participate in your challenge, I still like your bread a lot and I will let this be my inspiration to bake a juicy multi-grain bread when I am back from holidays.

  4. Thanks!
    If you like a similar bread, also very good, but with less and easier to get ingredients, check out my Friesisches Schwarzbrot post in The Fresh Loaf (see link in the post above).
    Schönen Urlaub!

  5. als ich im ersten Mal in Deutschland war, kann ich nicht deutsche Brot essen. aber nachher lieb' ich es so sehr:) hier bei uns haben niegendwo solche Brot verkauft :(
    danke fur dein Rezept

    japanisches restaurant

    1. Ich freue mich, dass du Gefallen an deutschem Brot gefunden hast, so ein Vollkornbrot ist auf jeden Fall gewöhnungsbedürftig, wenn man von zuhause nur weisses Brot gewöhnt ist. Die vietnamesischen Baguettes haben mir übrigens bei meinem Besuch in Saigon und Dalat auch geschmeckt, und ich hab auch schon mal ein Banh Mi gebacken (mit mariniertem Rettich).
      Danke für deinen Besuch!

  6. Karen your version of the challenge bread looks perfect. I must give this technique a try. I am working on my post for my version this morning and will put a link to this post for others to see.

    1. How nice, that you took the challenge, too, Ian. Your bread looks very nice, and tomorrow I will put a link in my post, too.

  7. Hi Karin,
    I so understand the way you feel about Volkorn having been force fed this bread when young. I had this memory of the taste it used to have that is way different than the wholewheat breads we are now able to bake ourselves. A true rediscovering because now I love different types of Volkorn.

    Wonderful baking!

    Weekend Bakery

    1. My father used to say: "Schwarzbrot macht Wangen rot!" (Black bread makes the cheeks red), and we had it every evening. I hated it, and even Nutella (just coming on the market) didn't alleviate the pain...
      Thanks for visiting, Marieke

  8. What an interesting post! It was a pleasure to read and it made me want to have a slice (make that two) of your bread. Thank you for your contribution to Panissimo.

  9. I am going to have a go at this one of yours as it looks so very beautiful, thank you for sharing it !

  10. Please do, Joanna, and, please, let me know how you like it.

  11. So here it comes

    ein super-Brot, vielen Dank, liebe Karin!

    1. Wirklich toll. Nächtesmal nehme ich vielleicht auch eine frische Kartoffel anstelle der Flocken. Das Schöne an dem Brot ist wirklich nicht nur der gute Geschmack, sondern auch die einfache Zubereitung.

    2. ...und danke für deinen netten Kommentar mit den inspirierenden Broten :)

    3. ist nur die Wahrheit....

    4. "Flattery gets you everywhere", sagt mein Mann immer. :)