Rye-Wheat German Bread

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The man of this house handed me a magazine some time ago, with the page opened to an article entilted, “Making German Bread in Your Home Oven.”

Since I know how much he loves crusty, chewy bread, and since I had always wanted to learn how our friends, The Gerber Family from Switzerland/Germany made their delicious and chewy breads, I was eager to try this out!

But you know how it’s always easier to revert to making the things that are familiar . . . especially when you are out of bread and need to make some in a hurry for your next meal . . . so the months have slipped by, and it wasn’t til this week that I pulled out this recipe again and made it.

And oh, what success! It is a bit more of a process, I guess, than my regular bread recipe, but not difficult at all. And if you’ve heard me talking about bread-baking before, you’ll know what a good feeling I get when bread turns out so great . . . I guess it kind of makes me feel like I’m at least playing that part of “housewifeliness” well. :)
So, here are the instructions in case you should like to try it [taken from the article by “Stefanie” in the May/June 2010 issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal]:
Grind 3 cups wheat berries into a fine flour. Mix that with /14 teaspoon dry yeast and enough water to make a mash that has oatmeal consistency. Cover and let rise at room temperature over night.
In a separate bowl, use 3 cups boiling water and stir in enough freshly ground rye flour to be able to still stir with a spoon. Cover and let sit as well. This process makes the rye more easily degested and makes for a very nice, moist bread in the end, too.
The next morning, mix the rye porridge into the wheat porridge until they are blended [Shelly’s note: I added everything to my Bosch at this point.] At this time you can add some spices if you like: 1/2 teaspoon each of ground caraway seeds, fennel, and coriander~a wonderful mix that is used in Bavaria.
Add 1 teaspoon dry yeast, 1 tablespoon salt and enough wheat flour (regular white flour or bread flour) to make slightly sticky dough that will clear the bowl.
Let rise for about 1 hour or until about double in size. Knead for 1 minute again, shape into two loaves (round or oblong) and let rise. I use bread baskets for this step: When rising in the breadbasket, the dough will rise on the top, then you turn it upside down in the oven, which allows the bread to rise more in the area that was formerly on the bottom of the basket and couldn’t rise as well. This makes for a very nice risen bread. If you don’t have a bread basket, you can line a bowl with a floured cloth. You can also let it rise in a free shape on the counter and then traspot onto the stone wtih a peel.
While the bread is rising after it’s shaped, Heat up the oven to 440 degrees F. In the oven I have two pizza stones~one on the bottom shelf, one on the highest shelf. I also have in the oven a bread-form filled with Sauna ROcks, which I found to be the best way to create steam. The pizza stones need to be really hot , so they need about one hour to heat up to 440 degrees (I didn’t wait quite this long . . . ’cause I could imagine the electric bill soaring  . . . ~Shelly)
When the bread is ready to bake, I flip it gently over onto the bottom pizza stone and score it with a razor blade. Then I quickly pour about 1/2 cup of water onto the hot stones to generate the burst of steam that is needed for a nice rise~and close the oven door quickly.
After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 410 degrees F. The bread takes about one hour to bake, and is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
And when that bread comes out of the oven, people, have your knife and butter ready! Ooooh it is so good! I’m not sure why I always happen to bake bread on the days when I just got done telling myself that I need to cut back on carbs . . . because something about fresh out-of-the-oven bread that makes me lose resolve quicker than just about anything else! But fresh bread really ought to be enjoyed~cut calories out of your life someplace else~but not on fresh bread. :)
Any questions? Enjoy!
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4 Responses to Rye-Wheat German Bread

  1. Lydia Jo November 5, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Beautiful bread.

  2. Hannah November 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Oh Shelly, that's I one thing I really crave at times while down here in Haiti,crusty,whole wheat bread! I shouldn't be complaining though!
    Enjoy reading your blog each time!

  3. Shelly November 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    Hannah! Did I know you are in Haiti? I'd love to send you some bread . . . and I almost forgot about any "Gerbers" reading this blog . . . it's almost embarrassing to have written about "German Bread" when you guys are the REAL experts. :) Blessigns!

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