Monday, 25 July 2011


It's thunderstorming here this morning and I am trying to type with a nervous shih tzu on my lap. This means that I have already accidentally posted this article with only the photos, but I'm sure all parents of nervous little doggies will understand.

Before we retreat to the relative calm of the basement, I wanted to share the dreaded Vollkornbrot with you.

Dreaded, maybe only by me, as the first time I tried this bread three years ago it was a serious failure. Tooth-cracking failure, to be specific. I know, the shame of it all.

But I have been redeemed in the land of vollkornbrot, by Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe. And if I can do it, you know you can do it. Below is the recipe, beautifully simplified by master bread baker Jude of Apple Pie, Patis, and Paté. It takes several days. It's worth it.

If you love those deep, dark, dense ryes with lots of chew, this is the bread for you. Plus, it keeps a good long time in the fridge. If you can stop yourself from munching on it. Great for canapés, sliced thin and loaded with flavourful toppings.

If you need us, we'll be in the basement. The lights are starting to flicker, Jedi is not pleased.

Happy baking!
German 100% Whole Grain Rye Bread

adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
by Jude of Apple Pie Patis and Paté

makes one 13- x 4-inch loaf, about 4.5 pounds before baking

For the Rye Sourdough:
pumpernickel flour    3 2/3 cups  
water    2 cups   
sourdough starter    2½ tbsp   

For the Rye Chop Soaker:
rye chops or cracked rye    2 2/3 cups  
water    1½ cups   

Rye Sourdough and Rye Chop Soaker Directions:

Make the rye sourdough. Pour the water over the sourdough starter and stir to dissolve. Add the pumpernickel flour and mix until thoroughly hydrated.

Make the rye chop soaker. In a separate bowl, stir together the rye chops and water.
Cover the bowls and let stand at room temperature for 14 to 16 hours.

For the Final Vollkornbrot Dough:
pumpernickel flour    2 1/2 cups  
water, warm    1/2 cup   
salt    1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp 
instant yeast    2 tsp   
sunflower seeds    1/2 cup 
all of the rye sourdough, minus 2 1/2 tbsp           
all of the rye chop soaker           

Vollkornbrot Directions:

Mix. In a large bowl, mix together all of the final dough ingredients, just until thoroughly hydrated and a shaggy ball of dough is formed.

Continue mixing in the bowl for about 10 minutes, either by hand or using the first speed of your stand mixer. The dough will have weak gluten development and will be very sticky.

Desired Dough Temperature. 85ºF / 29ºF (slightly warm to the touch)

Bulk Ferment. 10 to 20 minutes at 82ºF / 28ºF (slightly warmer than room temperature)

Prepare a Pullman loaf pan by oiling and dusting with rye meal or pumpernickel flour.

Shape into 13- x 4-inch logs. Heavily dust your hands and work surface with whole rye flour for easier handling. Gently place the log in the oiled Pullman loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap.

Final Proof. 50 to 60 minutes at 82ºF / 28ºF.

Preheat Oven. 470ºF / 245ºC

Steam. 1 cup of boiling water poured into a heavy steam pan, preferably cast iron.

Bake for 15 minutes at 470ºF / 245ºC. Open the oven doors to let the steam out, lower the heat to 380ºF / 195ºC, and bake for another 60 minutes. Towards the end of the 60 minute baking time, prepare a sheet pan.

Remove the bread from the pan and immediately place on the sheet pan. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Cool. Let the loaves cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. Wrap the vollkornbrot in linen and store in a cool draft-free place. Let rest for about 48 to 72 hours before slicing.

Storage. Vollkornbrot will keep for several weeks wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!