Besides writing about the larger world of professional kitchens, another aim is to re-create some of the wondrous breads that remind me of my travels abroad. This exploration has taken me to many blogs, one in particular is Deichrunner. Since I haven’t found out this baker’s name yet, I will say loaves showcased here are just the kind that remind me of my years in Germany.
What come’s to mind are chewy rye’s that are great with all most anything. Sausage. Cheese. Whatever. How do I know? I made one just the other day and finished off some slices with my friendly butchers salami and ham with a schmear of butter!
There’s a problem with my bread goal. It’s my grasp of German, which relegates me to basic "kinder Deutsche." Translation? Kid’s German. All to say that I can’t carry a conversation with any certainty. At least if for more than laughs. Still, I can order food, get directions with hand signals and, of course, "noch ein bier bitte!" Order a beer.
Actually, sometimes Jonathan (my co-producer here) tries to insult me, claiming "Jeremy, my friend, the day you learn real English is the day I will wash your pots." Johnny, I’m leaving a sink full of ’em for you right now. Anyway, these days I manage to decipher bread formulas fairly well, in whatever language.
Still, baking and talking are two different things and I haven’t perfected the ultimate loaves like Nils, Petra or the slew of home bakers as well as pro’s alike. The list is endless and enviable for all the damned fine bread with which they tease me. The tough part is hunting for ingredients, elements you have to source like a squirrel looking for nuts before approaching winter. One curse are American equivalents and ingredients are not up to par, certainly failing to compare to that used by our European bread brethren. There, they have multiple flour types. We have, at most, a few. They have schrot, we have cracked rye . Oh, all the things I would do to get a small bag of rye chops, let alone some white rye or first clear flour! The hoops and hurdles that the average American home baker will go through to make an honest loaf.
Take my trip to Wales, where I was astounded by the amazing flour from Bacheldre mill. We may have won the Coupe de Boulanger a few times, but some of us are still in the stone age as far as ingredients and guidance! Fortunately King Arthur flour offers a great guideline for flour equivalants and sells the product too!
Back to the Bauernbrot, while in Switzerland a while back I observed real farmers making said bread, though the method was the same they left out a few steps in the proofing and production which made for a really rustic and not so appealing product. This version I made was adapted from Baecker Wolfgang Süpke, who was a recent guest. With the problem of ingredients, I just jimmy rigged and substituted flours as there wasn’t any hope of finding any at the last moment. I am not as perfect as Susan or NIls. All in all it’s a nice loaf. Yes it’s not fully sourdough. Rather it’s a hybrid, sorry Mick. I am too busy to be a purist this week or this month but will come back to try it that way when time and conditions favor it.