Old World Breads

Old World Breads

Many of my recipes are made from the recipe basics. I am a stickler with perfecting the basic techniques and mastering the base recipe before moving towards the more elaborate methods. Here we are going to look at the European bread for some tastes that you might have been yearning. I will give you the additional ingredient secret to turn your bread into that which our German, Polish, Russian, Slavic and Ukrainian forefathers brought to the US when they came which has been removed due to costs and streamlining. Plus we will review a few techniques that make the crust and texture of the bread somewhat outstanding.

Malt is the secret ingredient. It is that one taste that we would reintroduce to our bread product to get that old world taste. Let me share a simple recipe for either a German Brotchen or a loaf of artisan bread.

4 cups flour

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. honey

2 tsp active-dry yeast

2 tsp. non-diastatic malt powder

1 1/2 cup water

Add flour salt, honey, yeast and malt (if using) to the large bowl of your stand mixer.

Add the canola oil and water

Using the dough hook, mix dough and “knead” it with the dough hook several minutes

The dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl

Turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times.

Place dough in floured or food sprayed  mixing bowl

Cover with a kitchen towel (I use a dinner plate)

Allow dough to rise 60-90 minutes

Remove dough from bowl and shape into round rolls

Spray each ball lightly with warm water

Place formed rolls on a baking sheet sprayed with a non stick food spray (I use PAM)

Sprinkle the rolls with some flour

Cover with a floured kitchen towel and let proof for 30 minutes.

Spray  rolls lightly again with warm water and powder them with flour, sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

Cut a slit in the top of each roll with a razor blade or very sharp knife.

Allow rolls to proof again for about 10 minutes uncovered.

Meanwhile, place a large skillet with hot water on the lowest rack of your oven

Place the second rack on middle position in the oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Water in the skillet will steam

Work in over with care

Spray the rolls with water again

Place the baking sheet on the rack over the steaming skillet of water.

Bake 25 minutes or until rolls are nice and lightly brown

Remove and cool on rack

These old world rolls are wonderful and well crusted. I love to bake these on occasion when I have time to be in the kitchen practicing my art. if you have never baked in a steam impinged oven make sure you use care and protect your arms. I always wear my chef jacket to protect my arms in the heavy sleeves.

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