Bread – Walnuts and Olives

This bread is inspired by the Mediterranean cuisine. The walnuts and the olives give the bread an aromatic taste that you can already smell while it is baking in the oven. Fresh out of the oven, it tastes best with just a bit of butter. It is also a great way to impress family and friends during the next brunch or dinner. 😉

Ingredients

  • 350 g whole grain rye flour
  • 200 g spelt flour (type 630)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 150 g active sourdough
  • 20 g yeast
  • about 150-170 ml lukewarm water
  • 150-160 g black olives
  • 100 g walnuts

How to Make It

  • Take a bowl and add the rye and spelt flour, then mix it.
  • Add the honey (or maple syrup), the salt, the caraway, and the rosemary.
  • Add the active sourdough and mix it all.
  • Take about 50 ml of the lukewarm water and dissolve the yeast in it.
  • As you mix your dry ingredients, slowly pour the yeast water into the bowl.
  • Mix for 10-15 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the lukewarm water until you have a moist dough.
  • Pit the olives (if necessary) and chop them up coarsely. Add them to the dough and knead them in.
  • Chop up the walnuts. Add them to the dough and knead them in.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm spot overnight.
Baking with a Clay Pot
  • Soak the clay pot for a good 30 minutes.
  • Once the pot and the dough are ready, pour out the water, dry the pot, and put the dough into the pot.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour. If you have a pot with a lid like I do, just close the pot with the lid.
  • Put the pot into the oven and turn the oven on to 250° C. This is important as the pot needs to heat up slowly; putting the clay pot into a pre-heated oven can cause the clay to break.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the lid and bake for another 40-50 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Baking the “Standard” Way
  • The next morning, grease a baking tin and pour the dough in. Let the dough rest for at least another hour.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C.
  • Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.

Bread – Oatmeal & Rye

We are currently eating a lot of oatmeal, in part because we “rediscovered” it as breakfast option in the form of porridge. So naturally I wanted to try to put it into bread as well. I love how it turned out, especially the aromatic flavor of the oatmeal flakes.

Lovely aromatic flavor because of the oatmeal flakes. I just failed at cutting it properly.

Ingredients

  • 250 g spelt flour (type 630)
  • 250 g rye (type 1150)
  • 250 g oatmeal flakes
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 120 g active sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • 280-300 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you do not have any at hand, just use regular water)

How to Make It

  • Mix the two types of flour and the oatmeal flakes together. Add the syrup (or honey) and the salt and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the lukewarm yeast water.
  • Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 2½ to 3 hours. The dough should have grown significantly in size.
  • Take a spatula and fold the outer edges into the middle of the ball of dough and put the loaf into a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience). If you do not own one, no problem at all – just form a loaf with your hands. Cover the loaf with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 2-3 hours (the longer, the better).
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven.
  • Bake the bread at 250° C for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 200° C and bake the loaf for another 30-40 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.

Bread – Rye and Caraway

My grandmother loves bread with a strong taste of caraway, but ever since restrictions were put in place to slow down the corona virus pandemic, she has rarely left the house and does not go grocery shopping anymore. I wanted to cheer her up a bit and ended up baking caraway bread for her, which I then sent to her by mail. She loved it and it turned out to be a present which made both of us happy! Food is a great connector, especially in these troubled times.

Healthy and savory at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 300 g wholegrain rye flour
  • 300 g rye flour (type 1150)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground caraway
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 130-150 g active sourdough
  • 280-300 ml lukewarm yeast water
  • extra caraway seeds to sprinkle on the bread before baking

How to Make It

  • Activate the sourdough the night before.
  • Mix the two types of flour together.
  • Add the salt, the sugar, and the ground caraway as well as the seeds.
  • Mix it all and as you knead the dough, slowly add the lukewarm yeast water.
  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Baking with a Clay Pot
  • This was the first time I tried my new clay pot and I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome. Here is how to do it:
  • Since the clay pot needs to be “watered” (i.e. completely soaked in water) for 30 minutes, simply let the dough rest in a warm spot for 8-9 hours and make sure to soak the pot in advance.
  • Once the pot and the dough are ready, pour out the water, dry the pot, and fill the dough into the pot.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour. If you have a pot with a lid like I do, close the pot with the lid.
  • Put the pot into the oven and turn the oven on to 200° C. This is important as the pot needs to heat up slowly; putting the clay pot into a pre-heated oven can cause the clay to break.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
The “Standard” Way
  • If you do not have a clay pot, do not worry. Proceed according to the instructions below. Your bread will be just as delicious.
  • Oil a bowl, put the dough in it, cover it and let it rest for 3-5 hours.
  • Put the dough in a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience), cover it again with a moist towel and let is rest in a warm spot for another 3-4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 200° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven. Bake the bread at 200° C for 40-45 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.

Wheat Pizza Dough with Sourdough

This is a quick and easy pizza dough that does not take long to prepare and requires only a few basic ingredients. Keep in mind, though, that this dough relies on sourdough as raising agent, so unfortunately you cannot spontaneously make pizza with this recipe. (For a spontaneous pizza craving, check my dough recipe based on fresh yeast.) What I often do, however, is that I use leftover sourdough from baking bread in the morning and quickly whip up the batter for pizza dough. Then I let it rest until the late afternoon and we simply have pizza for dinner. It makes me very popular at home. 🙂

Ingredients

Enough for 2 baking trays.

How to Make It

  • Mix the flour with the salt and sugar. Add the olive oil and the sourdough.
  • Mix it all together and slowly add the lukewarm yeast water.
  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you have a homogeneous and smooth mass.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 3-4 hours. The dough should have almost doubled its size.
The pizza dough as it begins the resting phase.
  • You can now use the dough to bake your pizza. Check out my recipes for pizza sauce as well as my ideas for pizza toppings for inspiration.

Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter how you fared. I would love to hear from you!

Bread – Wholegrain Spelt & Hazelnut

Here comes another tasty bread recipe, this time with an interesting twist: hazelnuts. I like this bread because the hazelnuts add such a distinct flavor to it. I baked this one for my grandmother last week and sent it to her to give her some joy during the Corona virus pandemic – and she loved it! Since this one is grandma-approved, there is no reason why you should not give it a go as well. 🙂

Self-made and grandma-approved!

Ingredients

  • 400 g wholegrain spelt
  • 100 g ground hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • ca. 180-200 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you do not have any at hand, just use regular water)

How to Make It

  • Mix the spelt and the hazelnuts. Add the syrup (or honey) and the salt and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the yeast water.
  • Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 2½ to 3 hours. The dough should have grown significantly in size.
  • Take a spatula and fold the outer edges into the middle of the ball of dough and put the loaf into a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience). If you do not own one, no problem at all – just form a loaf with your hands. Cover the loaf with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 2-3 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven. Bake the bread at 250° C for 40-45 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Out of the oven and with a yummy crust.

How did your bread turn out? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter. I would love to hear from you!

Bread – Rye & Walnut

I love slightly unusual bread flavors and this one is another example. The chopped walnut pieces add a tasty element to the whole affair and make the bread quite juicy.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter!

Ingredients

  • 350 g rye flour (type 1150)
  • 150 g ground walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 135 g sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • ca. 160-180 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you do not have any at hand, just use regular water)
  • 100 g chopped walnuts

How to Make It

  • Mix the rye and the ground walnuts. Add the syrup (or honey) and the salt and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the yeast water. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 3-4 hours. (Rye flour takes longer to rise.)
  • Chop up the walnuts and knead them into the dough.
  • Put the loaf into a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience). If you do not own one, no problem at all – just form a loaf with your hands. Cover the loaf with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 3-4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 250° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven. Bake the bread at 250° C for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 220° C and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Fresh out of the oven and with a lovely crust.

Enjoy… and do not forget to send me your pictures on Instagram and Twitter!

Baking with Sourdough

If you have toyed with the idea of baking your own bread, you have probably already come across references to sourdough. Sourdough is a natural leavening agent and the best way to get heavy doughs to rise. Through the fermentation process, we grow lactobacilli and yeast fungi in the flour-water paste which, in turn, work to leaven the bread dough. This means you do not need industrial yeast. Instead, the sourdough gives the bread a more intense flavor and makes the bread more durable. It also works to splits up the nutrients in rye flour so that the body can use them. So, long story short, I highly recommend baking bread with your own sourdough – it is fun and surprisingly easy!

Before We Start

Before we begin, keep in mind that there are many ways to make a sourdough. If you search the web, you will find many different suggestions in forums about how to proceed, what to do and what definitely not to do. However, I soon came to a point where I did not find these debates helpful anymore because some people got very aggressive and dogmatic about the whole affair. Instead, I would want to reassure you that since there are so many ways to go about it, it also means you cannot really do things wrong (no matter what some people on the internet would have you believe). And if you find that your sourdough base did not turn out the way you expected it to – oh well, no problem, it happens. Just try again.

Ingredients

  • 190 g whole grain rye flour (or any other type of flour, just make sure that it is whole grain)
  • 300 ml lukewarm water

How to Make It

Day 1
  • Mix 50 g of flour and 100 ml of lukewarm water and blend it until you have a paste.
  • Cover it and let it rest in a warm spot (ca. 20-26° C) for 3 days.
  • During these 3 days, stir it once a day briefly and cover it again. Keep it in its warm spot.
Day 4
  • In the morning, whisk in 80 g of flour and 100 ml of lukewarm water. Cover the batter again.
  • In the evening, whisk in another 60 g of flour and 100 ml of lukewarm water.
Day 5
  • The sourdough base should have fluffy and bubbly consistency. It should have the typically fermented smell.
  • Fill about 50g of sourdough in a jar and store it in the fridge.
  • You can use the rest for baking straight away.
Note the little bubbles in the sourdough – it’s ready for use now.

How to Use It

Sourdough is a resilient, crafty little leavening agent! You basically keep a jar with a rest (I usually keep around 50-60 g) in the fridge where it “sleeps” until you activate it again.

Activating the dough means that you take the sourdough base out of the fridge, mix your rest with a paste of fresh flour and lukewarm water, and let the new sourdough “wake up” for 10-12 hours (usually overnight). In that time, the sourdough base infuses the fresh flour-paste and ferments it. Voilà – you have multiplied your sourdough! Take around 50 g and store it again in your jar in the fridge and use the rest for baking.

The flour-paste is also easy to make: Just take between 50 to 100 g of flour (ideally whole grain) and mix it with the same amount of lukewarm water. Then stir in your sourdough base, cover the bowl, and let it all rest for 10-12 hours in a warm spot.

You should try to feed your sourdough base as I described above once a week so that it remains alive and active. It is worth the effort because the more you use your sourdough base, the fluffier and better it becomes. I did not believe it at first, but I have had my sourdough for a few months now and I can tell that it has become stronger and bubblier.

A Few General Rules for Baking with Sourdough

Bread dough made with sourdough has significantly longer resting times than dough made with industrial yeast. At first, I did not quite believe it myself, but it is true: the longer the dough can rest, the better. These days, I let the dough rest at least 6-8 hours and it really makes a difference: the dough grows significantly bigger, tastes better, and is fluffier. I really want to encourage you to give your dough a lot of time to rest and rise! The way I go about it is that I make the dough in the morning, let it rest until lunch, knead it one more time and put it in the proofing basket (link), and let it rest again until dinner time. Then I bake it and we have warm and fresh bred for dinner.

Bread made with sourdough also needs a bit longer in the oven, usually around 40-45 minutes. You start baking at the highest temperature so that the dough does not “melt” and the loaf does not lose its shape. Then you lower the temperature after a while so that the bread can slowly finish and does not burn.

You should also always put a little fire-resistant bowl or cup with water into the oven to help the dough rise a bit more. Before you put the loaf in the oven, take a sharp knife and cut across it 2-3 times. Then sprinkle the top of the loaf with a bit of flour and water to create a crunchy crust.


Did you try to make your own sourdough now? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below or contact me on Twitter and Instagram. I’d love to hear (and see) your experiences!

Bread – Whole Wheat & Almond

This week, I wanted to bake a classic whole grain wheat bread but decided in the last moment to make it a bit more interesting by adding almonds to it. I like that the loaf came out quite moist and that the nuts add a bit of a crunch.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram and Twitter!

Ingredients

  • 100 g chopped almonds
  • 350 g whole wheat flour
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sourdough (make sure to activate it in time)
  • ca. 180 ml lukewarm yeast water (if you don’t have any at hand, just use regular water)

How to Make It

  • Soak the chopped almonds in water over night.
  • Mix the wheat and the ground almonds. Add the honey and the salt and mix it. Add the sourdough and mix it.
  • Keep mixing and slowly add the yeast water.
  • Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rest in a warm spot for at least 3 to 4 hours. The dough should have grown significantly in size.
  • Add the chopped almonds and knead them into the dough. Put the dough into a proofing basket (really, any kind of breadbasket works fine in my experience). If you do not own one, no problem at all – just form a loaf with your hands. Cover the loaf with a moist towel and let it rest in a warm spot for another 2-3 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 200° C. If you have a pizza stone, great – put it on the oven now and heat it up thoroughly. If you do not have a pizza stone, also no problem – you can bake your bread on a normal baking tray. I recommend heating up the tray in the oven as well.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Fill a fire-resistant small bowl with water and put it on the floor of the oven.
  • Bake the bread at 200° C for 35-40 minutes.

Enjoy… and don’t forget to send me your pictures on Instagram and Twitter!