A Stir The Pots Post

Pain Bâloise

by | Jul 31, 2008 | Bread

Swiss National Day - Red, white or Swiss

So often my schedule interferes with one of life’s great pleasures for me, baking. Either I can’t find time to schedule for bread baking days or fail to enter one of the growing number of daring baking events sponsored by other bloggers.  Blame it on the  whacked-out hours of a working chef. Take this week. Checking out a recent post by NIls, he informed me of a bake-off that was, odd as it seems, close to home; namely a Swiss National Day Bake Event sponsored by Zorra.

Last summer at this time, I landed in Switzerland to visit my sister Rachel, who lives there. I remember that night so well. Though somewhat jet lagged, a bit full of beer or wine, I sat with her and the family watching the town and surrounding hills light up with fireworks, listening to gleeful cheers from my neices as the entire country celebrated all around us. And though at one point, my nephew got scared by all of the explosions, letting out a frightened howl, what I remember most was it was just such a joyous evening.

In fact, it was a great vacation, a time with family totally focused  on baking! Visiting bread museums and mills, I played the role of my sister’s  official "taster," testing all the good things baked in her kitchen, from bread to  her fantastic steinofen. Well, Nil’s post about the contest inspired me to whip up a Pain Bâloise,  named after a town a few minutes down the road from my sister’s village. Though I failed to send in my recipe for the contest, and even if my Basel bread looks less like a Baloise than a Bürlibrot, I hope my sister will chuckle when she sees this.

Basel Bread

(based on the Basel bread on Anne’s blog who got the recipe from Jan Hedh’s book.)

  • First Feed
  • rye                      100%    18
  • water                  100%    18
  • starter (chef)         50%     9
  • Total                              46
  • Second Feed
  • rye                       100%    46
  • water                   100%    46
  • starter (chef)        100%    46
  • Total                            139
  • Final Dough
  • levain                 52%    139
  • bread flour        100%    268
  • water                 72%    193
  • salt                     3%        9
  • Total flour     100%    268
  • Hydration   65.0%
  • Levain       42.0%

I used Dan Lepard’s hand mixing method of 3 short mixes at about ten seconds, with two folds at about 30 minutes and 1 hour, total rise was one hour and retarded in the refrigerator in bulk. Remove from fridge and allow the dough to come to temperature, at least an hour. Shape into small batards,(mine were rounded like boules, that is right if you want Bürli) rise about two hours and bake at 460 for 5 minutes, with steam, then lower to 400 for the final 30 – 40 minutes.




  1. zorra

    I love Basler Brot and bake it often: http://kochtopf.twoday.net/stories/3376488/
    I use a mixture of normal flour and Type 1050 the original is made as far as I know with Ruchmehl and not with rye. The crust of this bread must be very dark, you did well.

  2. Jeremy

    Hi Zorra,
    I think I could of scheduled and made a nice looking bread, will give it another go and see if I get right! I used all my Ruchmel I bought in Maisprach! Richemont school book says you can use white flour or Ruchmel, hard to obtain here if at all!

  3. Nils

    Awesome bread. Must have been a memorable trip as well. I can imagine that. One of these days, or months, or years I shall make a trip through Switzerland, Austria and Germany to find out about these great breads.

  4. Susan

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation, and a great bread to remember it by.


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