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My first "Equal Opportunity Bread" (see my last post) had to be a batch of rolls. I like having a supply of rolls in my freezer, when we come home from a trip, and want a bread that thaws faster than a large loaf. So I grabbed one of my most favorite baking books - hey, who said I couldn't include my favorites in my fair baking? - "Brot aus Südtirol". Richard Ploner's breads are all small, mini breads, or rolls. The (professional baker's) reasoning: "They should all have the same size in a mixed bread basket".

This baking book has everything going for it, interesting recipes and appetizing photos. Unfortunately, it has not been translated into English, yet. Because of this sad omission I am happy to be able to translate at least some of its wonderful recipes for English speaking bakers.

The one thing I always change - apart for an adaptation of the ingredients to what is available in the US - are the very short fermentation times. Ploner doesn't retard his doughs, but I do, and I am sure that even these nice breads benefit from it.

The original recipe lists sugar caramel color (15 g) - I didn't have it and didn't see a real need for it, either. Richard Ploner lets you choose between toasted soy flakes and pumpkin seeds - for me a no-brainer, since I love toasted pumpkin seeds, and buy them in bulk. The sesame seeds I toasted, too, to enhance their "nuttiness".



6 g instant yeast
280 g water, lukewarm
300 g all-purpose flour
100 g medium rye flour
100 g whole wheat flour
5 g malted barley flour (non diastatic)
5 g sugar (1 tsp.)
6 g sesame seeds, toasted (2 tsp.)
50 g pumpkin seeds, toasted, chopped
3 g whole caraway seeds (1 tsp.)
10 g salt

DAY 1:

1. Dissolve instant yeast in warm water. Mix with other dough ingredients to form a rough ball, 1 - 2 minutes on low speed (or with a wooden spoon). Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

2. Knead on medium-low speed (or by hand) for 2 minutes, adjusting with water, if needed (dough should be a bit sticky). Continue kneading for 4 more minutes, the last 20 seconds at medium-high speed (dough should still be more sticky than tacky).

3. Transfer dough to lightly floured work bench, and, with wet or oiled hands, stretch into a rough square, fold like a business letter, and then fold again like a business letter from the short sides. Tuck sides under dough to shape a ball, and place in oiled bowl, seam side down. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

4. Repeat S & F for 3 more times at 10 minute intervals (total time 40 minutes). After the last fold, place into oiled container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

DAY 2:

5. Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using, it should have doubled in size (or shape cold, with then longer rising time).

6. Preheat oven to 428ºF/220ºC, including steam pan. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces. Pre-shape into rounds. Let relax for 5 minutes.

7. With both hands, roll rounds into 10-cm/4" long strands, with tapered ends. Place, seam side down, on parchment lined baking sheet. Score lengthwise. Mist with oil spray, cover, and let rise for 45 - 60 minutes, or until they have grown ca. 1 1/2 times their original size.

8. Bake for 12 minutes, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water. Rotate rolls, remove steam pan, and continue baking for another 13 minutes, until they are golden brown. Leave in switched-off oven with door slightly ajar for 5 more minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.

Malzbrot - These rolls went straight into Karin's Bread Hall of Fame - they are soooo good!


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Like some teachers have their "pets", I have some favorite baking books that I always turn to when I'm looking for new recipes. These books have old envelopes, supermarket receipts, movie tickets, and other odd papers stuck between pages as markers,  my own volume/weight conversions (or corrections), and lots of scribbled comments. And, they are also graded with stars, enthusiastic exclamation marks, or a scathing: "Not that great!"

Then there are The Others, bought or received as presents, that, for some reasons, never captured my attention, either because they have no attractive photos to inspire me, their design is too dull, their write-up too boring (yes, I am that shallow!), or I just forgot all about them. They end up in a dark corner of my bookshelf, forsaken and forlorn, probably hiding treasures that no one will ever know in the Anderson house - and NOBODY CARES!

This shameful negligence has to come to an end - these books are people, too! They, too, deserve a chance to be looked at, taken seriously, and, maybe, supply the next candidate for Karin's Bread Hall of Fame.

So my New Year's Resolution is this Equal Opportunity Pledge -  fair treatment of all my baking books, every one shall have a chance, no more "pet baking", but equal opportunity for all those disadvantaged recipe collections, that never saw the light of my kitchen!

LIST OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY BREADS (with links to the posts):

  • Richard Ploner: Malzbrot - Tyrolean Rye Malt Rolls ("Brot aus Südtirol") DONE!
  • Daniel Leader: French Walnut Bread - Pain au Levain Complet aux Noix ("LocalBreads") DONE!
  • Saatenbrot - German Many Seed Bread ("Die besten Rezepte aus der Allgemeinen Bäckerzeitung") DONE! 
  • Jeffrey Hamelman: Country Bread ("Bread") DONE!
  • Andrew Whitley: Arkatena Bread ("Bread Matters") DONE! 
  • Müslibrötchen - German Muesli Rolls ("Brot & Kleingebäck") DONE!
  • Bill Middeke: Beer Rye Bread ("Baking with the St. Paul Bread Club") DONE! 
  • Bernd Armbrust: Camembert-Trauben-Brot - Camembert Grape Bread ("Brot") DONE! (But needs more work)
  • Peter Reinhart: Croissants ("Artisan Bread Every Day")
  • Fanny Gerson: Mexican Conchas ("My Sweet Mexico")
  • Dan Lepard: Alehouse Rolls ("The Guardian")
  • Bäckerei Hesse: Herzbube Walnuss - Knight of Hearts Walnut ("Brot - So backen unsere besten Bäcker")
  • Jan Hedh: Cosa Nostra Bread ("Swedish Breads & Pastry")
  • Bauernbrot - Farmers' Loaf ("Brotrezepte aus ländlichen Backstuben")
  • Cornelia Zingerling: Mandel-Vollkorn-Brot ("Brot backen")
  • Niels Schöner: Pain au Levain de Sarrasin ("Notes From a Floury German Kitchen")
  • Vollkorntoastbrot mit Leinsamen - Whole Grain Toast Bread with Flaxseed ("Brot backen - Köstliche Rezepte aus der guten alten Zeit")
  • E. and J. Wood: Cranberry-Nut Sourdough ("Classic Sourdoughs")
  • Ayla Agar: Turkish Simit ("Classic Turkish Cooking") (this is a different version of Simit than the one I posted already).
  • Ute-Marion Wilkesmann: Allerweltsbrötchen - Ordinary Rolls ("Brötchen statt Brot")
  • Chad Robertson: Basic Country Bread with Sesame ("Tartine")
  • Rose Levy Beranbaum: Golden Semolina Torpedo - Altamura ("The Bread Bible")
  • Richard Bertinet: Breton Bread ("Crust")
  • J. Alford and N. Duguid: Ethiopian Spice Bread ("Flatbreads & Flavors")
  • R. Topp and A. Riffert: Heilkräuterbrot - Healing Herb Bread ("Vollkornbäckerei zu Hause")
  • Martin Pöt Stoldt: Buttermilch-Weizenvollkorn-Kastenbrot - Buttermilk Wheat Sandwich Loaf ("Der Sauerteig - das unbekannte Wesen")
  • Floyd Mann: Rustic Bread ("The Fresh Loaf Pocket Book of Bread")

So far, so good. There might be more.....

Malzbrot - Tyrolean Rye Malt Rolls - they went straight into my Bread Hall of Fame!

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Last spring Breadsong posted about Alsatian Beer Bread, a formula developed by Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, published in "Modern Baking", a professional bakers' website I liked the looks of her buns, and was intrigued by the beer crunch crust  (if it's crunchy AND made with beer, it must be good!) so I copied the recipe from "Modern Baking" to my ever growing to-do list.

Alsatia is famous for its  happy marriage between French and German cuisine, as shown in Zwiebelkuchen - Onion Tarte (, and Elsässer Apfeltorte - Alsatian Apple Torte. 

It's also home of one of my favorite authors, Tomi Ungerer, known for his quirky, illustrated books for children and adults, whose heroes are no mild mannered goodie-two-shoes, but usually just the opposite - like the stubborn cat boy in: "No Kiss for Mother". And even in his wonderful illustrations for a book of German folk songs ("Das grosse Liederbuch") he always manages to smuggle one little nasty detail in his otherwise idyllic scenes and landscapes.

Like me, Tomi Ungerer loves cats and good food, and is no tee-totaller. And as an Alsatian, he must love this bread, too.


 95 g all-purpose flour
 95 g bread flour
   3 g salt
    1 g instant yeast (1/4 tsp.)
119 g water
 28 g potato flakes
 98 g water, (to soak potato flakes)
all pate fermentee
250 g bread flour
125 g rye flour (whole or medium)
    9 g salt
    4 g instant yeast
220 g water
BEER CRUNCH (enough for 6 breads)
50 g rye flour
90 g beer
2 g salt
1 g instant yeast
rye flour , for dustin

DAY 1:

1. Prepare pâte fermentée. Let ferment at least 3 hours at room temperature, stretch and fold, then refrigerate.

 DAY 2 :

2. Remove pâte fermentée from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

In a small bowl, mix potato flakes with water.

 3. Combine all dry dough ingredients with pâte fermentée. Add cautiously 220 g water (not all might be needed). Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, add potato flakes and knead for another 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and continue kneading another for 2-3 minutes.

 4. Let rise for 1 hour. Divide dough into 3 pieces (350 g), pre-shape into rounds, let rest for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, combine ingredients for beer crunch in small bowl.

 5. Fold 3 sides of rounds into center to make triangles. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Spread beer crunch over loaves, then dust with rye flour.

 6. Preheat oven to 470 F/245 C. Let breads proof for 1 hour at 81 F/27 C. (If rye flour is absorbed, dust again before baking).

 7. Bake for 20 minutes, (no steam,) rotate, and continue baking for another 20 minutes.


Comments: The original recipe lists only an unspecified pre-ferment. I used a pâte fermentée, but I'm sure a levain would work as well.

It also has 240 g water for the final dough, but cautions that might be too much. It was! The dough looked at first drier than it really was, and I had to adjust with more flour to keep it from being wet like Pain à l'Ancienne dough, and totally unshapable. Therefore I suggest using 220 g water.

The original formula's baking temperature (470 F) and time (40 minutes) reflects conditions in a commercial oven, after 20 minutes baking time the breads were already getting rather dark, and after 25 minutes the internal temperature had already reached 208 F, so I took them out. Thinking of David Snyder's San Joaquin Sourdough, I would next time bake the breads at 460 F, for about 27 - 29 minutes, plus leaving them longer in the switched-off oven to prevent the crust from softening.

All in all, a really nice bread, with a hearty note from the rye, a great crust, and an attractive look. I will add it to my repertoire.

Updated 2/11/12 to include some information Kim gave me (who had made this bread at a baking class with Chef Pierre Zimmermann).

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A few days ago, my lovely stepdaughter, Cat, convinced me to join twitter. As if I didn't spend enough time already on my computer!

But it's fun to follow Dalai Lama (my favorite, whose tweets are not about food, but food for thought), well-known food gurus, like Mark Bittman ("How to Cook Almost Everything" - always good for some environmentally conscious comments) -  or new baking entrepreneur Martina Snetkova ("Cookie Time!") in her heroic fight to establish her little bakery-on-wheels against a big chain cafe who tried to crowd her out of the Bay Area market before she even got started.

And Dan Lepard. When I saw this recipe, I jumped on my bicycle (yes, at the end of November! In Maine!!!) to get local brown ale, sharp cheddar and white onions:

Having learned a few tricks by watching the French video on croissants (that somebody here just posted), working with the ale dough was fairly easy. I americanized the potato onion filling a bit by adding some fried bacon. The amount of the filling would have been enough for nine pasties instead of six (my husband will work the surplus into somosas).

This is the result:

The crust was wonderful, and can surely be used for pies crusts, too. Smaller versions would be great finger food at parties.

Here ist my adaptation of the recipe (with a reduced amount of filling - enough for the six pasties):



325 g bread flour, plus extra for rolling
175 g spelt flour, or whole wheat (I used spelt)
10 g salt, (2 tsp.)
300 g cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm (0.4") cubes
250 ml Newcastle Brown Ale, or similar (I used Bar Harbor Thunderhole Ale)
2 slices bacon, cubed
265 g white onions, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
15 ml olive oil
65 g water
salt and pepper, to taste
50 ml heavy cream
350 g potato, cooked and diced
70 g sharp cheddar, grated
egg, lightly beaten , for egg wash


1. For the dough: Stir together flours and salt. Toss butter cubes through flour mix. Pour in beer and mix to rough lump (the butter pieces will still be visible).

2. Transfer dough to floured worktop and roll out ca. 1 cm (0.4") thick. Fold it like a business letter, roll it out and fold it again into thirds. Wrap dough package in plastic foil and freeze it for 30 minutes to firm. Repeat this double rolling and folding 2 x more at 30-minute intervals. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

3. For the filling: In a saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, take out bacon bits, place on piece of paper towel, and set aside.

4. Add onions, oil, water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until all water has evaporated, and onion is very soft. Stir in cream, let thicken a bit (mixture should not have too much liquid). Remove from heat, add potatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

5. Divide dough in halves. Return 1 piece to refrigerator. Roll other half into rectangle ca. 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13"), then cut into thirds (using a pizza cutter), each about 23 x 11 cm (9 x 4 1/3").

6. Brush dough stripes with water, spoon filling towards one end, covering about half of piece (leave edges clean, otherwise you can't seal them!), top with bacon and sprinkle with cheese. Fold other half over filling, and seal edges with a fork. Repeat with other pastry sheet. Chill pasties until firm, at least 30 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.

8. Brush pasties with egg wash, and trim cut sides, if necessary. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and slash tops.

9. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees for even browning, and continue baking for another 15 - 25 minutes, until puffed and golden.


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Farro, or emmer, an ancient kind of wheat, is popular in some parts of Italy, and, ever since I purchased Maria Speck's wonderful book "Ancient Grains in Modern Meals", also in our family. Creamy farro with honey roasted grapes became our new breakfast favorite that even my picky, normally no-breakfast-type son wolfed eagerly down:

With this delicious experience in mind, I felt inspired to come up with a recipe for a bread with farro. I wanted a straightforward bread, with sourdough, but not too tangy, to showcase the farro. I used whole farro kernels that I ground in my little hand cranked mill (with the additional "benefit" of a good arm muscle workout).


MOTHER (levain 1. build)
20 g wheat or rye mother starter (100% hydration), OR 16 g of apple or raisin yeast water
8 g water, lukewarm
20 g bread flour

CHEF (levain 2. build)
42 g mother (all)
16 g water, lukewarm
42 g bread flour
100 g chef (all)
100 g water, lukewarm
200 g bread flour
314 g farro flour
236 g water
6 g salt
all soaker
all levain
314 g bread flour
6 g salt
202 g water

rolled wheat or other flakes for topping

DAY 1:

Mix soaker ingredients, let sit at room temperature.

For the 3-step levain: mix ingredients for mother by hand (you can dip your hand in water in between to make kneading the stiff dough a bit easier - this doesn't matter too much for the overall hydration). Proof in a warm place (like oven with light on) for ca. 6 hours.

Repeat procedure with next two steps (chef and levain). Refrigerate levain overnight.

DAY 2:

Remove levain from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

Cut levain in small pieces (to make mixing easier). Place all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until dough comes together, 1 - 2 minutes. Knead on medium low speed for 4 minutes (dough should be very tacky, bordering on sticky). Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for 1 minute more (dough should be still very tacky, if not sticky).

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. Transfer to lightly floured work surface, and, (with your hands from from the middle of the dough to the sides), push out air, then stretch and fold. Place folded dough with seam down back in bowl. Let rest for another 80 minutes.

Push out air again, let dough relax for 10 minutes more.

Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape into boules, place seam-side down on parchment lined baking sheet, mist with water and sprinkle with rolled wheat. Mist breads with oil spray, cover, and proof for 75 - 90 minutes in warm place, until grown to 1 1/2 times their original size. (Preheat oven after 30 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 250ºC/485ºF, including steam pan.

Place breads in oven, steaming with 1 cup of boiling water, and bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 200ºC/400ºF and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate breads 180 degrees, remove steam pan and continue baking for another 20 minutes (internal temperature 98ºC/209ºF). Leave for 10 minutes in switched-off oven with door slightly ajar. Then cool on wire rack.

Pain au Levain with Farro

I am very happy with the result, a pleasantly mild, nutty tasting bread. 

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A while ago I bought a really beautiful book with breads from renowned German bakeries. Many rye bread recipes require medium rye types, easily available in German supermarkets, whereas American medium rye is hard to come by. Even my whole grocer carries only a medium grind of rye, not a lighter variety. European flours are numbered for their ash content (what's left after you forget your bread in the oven - just kidding, of course it's a properly conducted scientific incineration).

There are six rye types in Germany, from white rye (Typ 815 - not available for home bakers) to whole rye (Typ 1800). For many mixed rye/wheat breads one of the medium ryes is used (Typ 1150 or 1370), the whole rye for the darker varieties like Vollkornbrot or Pumpernickel. I tried two of those interesting recipes from "Brot - So backen Deutschlands beste Bäcker", first with the whole rye I mostly use, then with a mix of whole rye and white rye, a leftover from my test baking for the NYBakers.

The first, whole rye, trial was not at all what I expected, the bread didn't taste bad, but was too dark and too dense - a totally different kind of bread. My second trial with a mix of whole and white rye was definitely an improvement, I tried to come up with a flour ratio that emulated medium rye. But still, even though the bread tasted good, it was not quite "right", and I wasn't 100% satisfied.

From my last trip to Hamburg I bought back a package of medium rye Typ 1150, hoping my carry-on would not be searched - I also had a package of roasted spelt kernels, Grünkern, and wasn't quite sure about the legality of this import... Since I didn't want to rely on small flour packages smuggled in my luggage, I looked for a source for American medium rye. The NYBakers carry it, and so I ordered some for a side by side comparison.

I wanted a remake of the Hearty Rye From Hamburg ("Hamburger Kräftiges") - I had posted about my first experiences here:

I made two 3-step rye starters with my 100% whole rye mother starter, one fed with American, one with the German medium rye. The American medium rye looked slightly darker. Both starter fermented in sync, and were worked into two loaves with the two medium ryes. This is the result:

Almost identical looking loaves, the upper slightly lighter, made with German Typ 1150, the lower one a bit darker, made with NYBakers medium rye.

But what of the taste? I gave one half of each bread to our bread enthusiastic tenants, and we had samples of the other two halves for lunch. Every one of the testers agreed - the clear winner was: The American Rye! Though both breads tasted really good, the one made with NYBakers' medium rye was definitely better.

Both tasted better than my original substitute with a whole rye/white rye mix. I also made another mixed rye bread a few days later, requiring German Typ 1370, with the American flour, and that, too, was a winner.

I am quite happy with this result, getting the right taste with an American flour - so no more holding-your-breath-with-an-innocent-face, and risk of confiscation for this law abiding citizen (at least until I see some other German must have baking ingredient).

Here is the updated recipe for the Hearty Rye From Hamburg:

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A while ago, Andy (ananda) - always good for some pretty amazing loaves - posted about the entries of two of his baking students for the "Young Baker of the Year Contest" in Newcastle, England. Much as I love the goodness of a simple crusty white bread, my heart belongs to the complexity of mixed grains and nutty add-ins, therefore I copied those two right away into my recipe program.

Finalist Faye's entry, the Nettle Bread, I already baked - it is as unusual as tasty, and made it straight into my team of "Most Valuable Breads":

Katie's, the other student's, bread, with it's content of stout beer and flaxseeds, appeared equally tempting, and was in the top ten of my to-do bread list. As a good German, I love beer (the real stuff, not the dish wash water labelled Bud Light), and flaxseed add a nice extra bit of crunch. And, who wouldn't agree - it's healthy, to0.

I always found truth in the old adage: "Guinness is good for you", and apply that piece of sage advice to it's American brethren, like our local Cadillac Mountain Stout, or one of the other great New England stout beers.

First I made the Stout and Linseed Bread, almost exactly following Katie's formula, and Andy's description of the procedure:

I only made some minor changes: fresh yeast is not easily available here, so I used instant yeast instead, and regular flaxseed instead of prettier looking (but the same tasting) golden flaxseed. And, of course, I couldn't lay hands on Allendale Stout, but I had Cadillac Mountain Stout as a worthy stand-in. I also scaled the recipe amounts down to a sixth: for one loaf.

At this first trial, my dough appeared to be very wet, therefore I decided to bake the bread in a Dutch oven, like RonRay's Apple Yeast Bread, not as a free standing loaf (at 450 F, reducing the temperature after 20 minutes to 425 F). Though it had a good oven spring, it didn't rise as high, but spread quite a bit. The crust was very nice, though, and the taste as good as expected.

Stout Flaxseed Bread - 1. Bake

I was wondering whether the somewhat complicated procedure couldn't be a bit streamlined, instead of 15 minutes long, slow kneading, using Peter Reinhart's shorter knead and S & F technique. I also wanted to adapt the process to my preferred overnight cold bulk fermentation, in order to bake the bread earlier in the morning.

So I mixed soaker and stout barm in the morning, placing the barm in the refrigerator to ferment - I don't really see the necessity of keeping the flaxseed soaker, too, in a cool place - I always leave my soakers at room temperature on the countertop for one day: without any ill effect. In the evening I prepared the final dough: 2 minutes slow mixing, until all came together - 5 minutes rest - 6 minutes kneading at medium-low speed, then 4 times S & F, with 10 minute intervals, on the counter.

This time, without changing the hydration, the dough felt more manageable, very nice and supple. It rose well overnight in the refrigerator, shaping was no problem, and I baked it as free standing hearth bread.

Stout Flaxseed 2. Bake

This time no sideways escape, the bread behaved, and rose upward. The taste was the same - simply great! Another winner for my "Bread Hall of Fame".


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In front of the store where I sell my breads I saw a bed of lavender in full bloom. The smell was wonderful, recalling memories of glorious summer holidays as a student in the Provence. It also reminded me of a bread recipe with lavender that I always wanted to try, and some lavender cupcakes I had made last year, but wasn't quite satisfied with.

The lavender buds in my garden have not opened, yet, but I have some dried lavender flowers, and the assurance of reliable sources in the internet that fresh and dried lavender had the same strong aroma, and were therefore interchangeable.

At the first bite the breads' seasoning appears a bit unfamiliar, but then the taste buds open up, and welcome the subtle lavender flavor - a hint of Provence.

LAVENDER BREAD (6 mini breads)

22 g whole wheat mother starter (or white starter)
63 g all-purpose flour
45 g water

3 g instant yeast
270 g water, lukewarm
all starter (130 g)
400 g all-purpose flour
100 g bread flour
20 g sugar
12 g salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. dried lavender flowers, or fresh lavender flowers (from 6 stems)

In the morning, mix starter. Cover, and let sit at room temperature.

In the evening, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to all other dough ingredients. Mix at low speed (or by hand) for 1 - 2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Knead at medium-low speed for 2 minutes, adjusting with more water as needed (dough should still be sticky). Continue kneading for 4 more minutes, the last 20 seconds at medium speed (dough should still be somewhat sticky).

Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, and (with wet hands) stretch it gently into a rough square, and fold it like a business envelope. Turn it 90 degrees, and, from the small sides, fold it again in thirds.
Gather dough package into a ball, tucking edges under, and place in lightly oiled bowl (seam side down). Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat Stretch & Fold 3 more times, with 10 minute intervals. After last S & F place dough in oiled container with lid, and refrigerate overnight.

DAY 2:
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using. Its volume should triple.

Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C, including steam pan.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, and shape first into rounds, then roll them into strands. Score, cover, and let rise at room temperature for ca. 45 minutes.

Bake breads at 425 F/220 C for 12 minutes, remove steam pan, rotate loaves, and bake for another 13 minutes, until golden brown (internal temperature at least 200 F/95 C)

Let breads cool on wire rack.

This recipe is an adaptation of Richard Ploner's Lavendelbrot (from: Brot aus Südtirol).

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If you know the facebook group "Baking 101", you might also know Danny Klecko's blog "Last American Baker". Klecko's posts are whimsical and often very funny, and he seems to snort them out joyfully and without any effort (unlike one envious baker whose name I will not disclose).

Now and then he puts a recipe in one of them, as a "teaser", to lure you into his world, even when you think you already overdosed on facebook. This happened to me when I followed the link with the intriguing headline: "The Recipe That Ended The Cold War".

Klecko describes how 20 years ago presidents Reagan and Gorbachev held a peace summit in St. Paul, his city. And the bakery, where Klecko worked at the time, was formally requested to supply a bread that the two heads of states could break, as a symbol of peace.

The job went to Klecko, to create a loaf that would please a Russian while being quintessentially Minnesotan/American.

After sweating plenty of blood and tears, and many prayers to his "Polish Jesus", this was what he came up with:


Danny Klecko's Wild Rice Sourdough  (3 loaves)

2 1/2 tablespoon yeast

2 3/4 cups water

1 1/3 cup brick starter (this refers to a mysterious Polish contraption, made of rye, bread flour and potato flakes)

1 tablespoon molasses

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoon vinegar

2 1/4 wheat flour

6 cups bread flour

1/2 cup bran

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup cooked wild rice


So far so good. But now it comes:

Bake at 400-450º F for close to 30 minutes.

Quite a temperature range! Klecko's comment: he would like a crustier bread, baked at 450ºF, but many home bakers might prefer 400ºF.

I asked Klecko about the low amount of salt. He admitted to having "moved the salt content around a bit to pacify cry baby Americans that wouldn't eat the bread because they felt the salt content was too high."


Wild rice, expensive, but very tasty

So I set out to metrically "remaster" the recipe, figuring out the starter, and calculating the amount of uncooked wild rice that would yield 1 cup of cooked rice with as little leftover as possible.

Since the technique should include my preferred overnight fermentation, I found that I could safely reduce the amount of additional instant yeast.

Like Reagan and Gorbachev, we would have been willing to end the war, ANY war, hot or cold, after tasting this wonderful bread. Slightly nutty and very moist, and, with the wild rice speckling the crumb, beautiful to behold.

Here is my version of this historically important bread, down-scaled to 2 loaves:


WILD RICE SOURDOUGH   (2 loaves)  (adapted from Danny Klecko's "Last American Baker")



43 g rye sourdough starter (100% hydration)

53 g rye flour

74 g bread flour

80 g water



144 g water (for cooking)

  37 g wild rice, rinsed and drained



440 g water (95 F )

    5 g instant yeast

all starter

all cooked wild rice (including any remaining water)

500 g bread flour

192 g whole wheat flour

  20 g wheat bran

  16 g salt

  26 g balsamic vinegar

  13 g molasses

  13 g honey (if you like it sweeter)


1.DAY :

In the morning, mix all starter ingredients at low speed (or with wooden spoon), until all flour is hydrated (1-2 minutes). Knead 2 minutes at medium-low speed (or by hand), let rest for 5 minutes, then resume kneading for another minute. Cover, and leave at room temperature.


After cooking the rice absorbs more water while it cools

In a small pan, bring wild rice with water to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Leave at room temperature, the rice will absorb most of the water.

In the evening, prepare final dough. Dissolve instant yeast in warm water. Add to all other ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix at low speed for 1 - 2 minutes (or with wooden spoon), until all flour is hydrated. Let rest for 5 minutes.


Sourdough, ready for action!

Resume kneading at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 2 minutes, adjusting with more water, if really needed (dough should still be sticky). Knead for another 4 minutes. Dough should still be somewhat sticky.

Transfer dough to lightly oiled work surface. With oiled hands, stretch and pat dough into a rough square and fold it like a business letter in thirds. Gather into a ball and place it, rough side down, into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover, and leave to 10 minutes.


After the last fold, the dough goes in the refrigerator

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


DAY 2:

Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using, to warm up.


Overnight the dough has almost doubled

Preheat oven to 450ºF/232ºC, including steam pan and baking stone.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Shape dough into 2 boules or bâtards and place them, seam side up, in bannetons. Proof for 45 - 60 minutes, or until they have grown 1 1/2 times their original size (Finger poke test!).


The bread has grown 1 1/2 times its original size

Transfer breads to parchment lined baking sheet (or bake directly on baking stone.) Score them crosswise.


Crosswise slashes give the breads a nice pattern

Bake breads for 20 minutes, steaming with 1 cup boiling water. Remove steam pan, rotate loaves 180 degrees, and continue baking for another 15 - 20 minutes. They should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, and register at least 200º F/93ºC (instant thermometer.) Leave them in switched-off oven with door slightly ajar for 10 more minutes.

Remove breads from oven, and let them to cool on wire rack.



So we might all thank Danny Klecko for the recipe that brought the Berlin Wall tumbling down. This bread tastes so good that it's easy to believe that it put Reagan and Gorbi in such a mellow mood that they couldn't help but end the Cold War!

Completely updated post 5/27/13


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