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Cook's Corner


Web exclusive: Karin Brenig’s German bread recipe

German Bread

Day 1:

1 cup rye flour

1 1/2 cups filtered water (do not use tap water as this contains chlorine and may kill sourdough bacteria)

Sourdough starter (may be purchased at health food store)

Place flour in a bowl. Microwave water for 30 seconds. Run some warm water over bag with frozen sourdough starter. Put solid chunk of starter into a cleaned pickle jar. Stir lukewarm filtered water into bowl of rye flour; mixture will be like runny oatmeal. Add to frozen sourdough in pickle jar. Place jar into a food warmer on lowest setting or anywhere you can get a consistent temperature of 80 to 90 degrees. Cover food warmer loosely with clean towel, not a lid, and wait for at least 12 hours. Mixture will have separated. Stir with a wooden spoon, getting as much air into the mixture as possible.

Day 2:

The next day, feed sourdough starter again by adding 1 cup rye flour and 1 1/2 filtered water; mix. Make sure there is room above the liquid in the jar as it will bubble up during fermentation. You will need at least 2-inches for expansion. Wait another 12 hours before stirring again. The next morning, stir again and remember to place the towel back over it. Wait 12 hours and stir again and cover.

Day 3:

Remove half a cup of sourdough out; pour it into a small plastic bag and store it in the freezer. Pour the remaining sourdough into a big bowl.

Warm 1 1/2 cups filtered water in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add 1 heaping teaspoon white sugar and 2 packages dry yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes or longer.

Put 1/2 cup mixture of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or flax seeds in a pot. Add 1 cup filtered water and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir while it’s boiling until mixture becomes pasty. Remove from heat and keep stirring until mixture has cooled down. Meanwhile, yeast should have activated and bubbled up.

Add yeast and 1 teaspoon salt to sourdough and blend well. Add 2 1/2 cups rye flour and stir everything thoroughly. Add cooked and cooled seeds. Stir again to make a soft dough.

Knead dough using your hands for at least 15 minutes. It will be sticky. Divide dough in half. Place each half in bread-like shape pans which have been greased and floured and lined with plastic wrap that is also brushed with cooking oil; let bread rest. Put pans on a baking tray and spray tops of loaves with filtered water. Cover the whole tray with a clean towel and put it on top of food warmer on a low to medium setting. Let bread rise for at least three hours. Loaves should have doubled in size. Preheat oven to 440 degrees. Place baking tray filled with filtered water on lowest rack. Put a piece of parchment paper on baking sheet. Turn the pans upside down on parchment paper. Carefully remove pans. Peel the plastic food wrap off slowly. Make five or six incisions across top of each loaf with sharp, pointed knife. Place baking sheet in center rack of oven. Spray plenty of filtered water all over the bread before you close the oven door. Bake for 20 minutes at 440 degrees, lower temperature to 380 degrees and bake another hour. After 80 minutes of total baking time, turn the oven off and remove the baking sheet with your bread. Also remove the tray with any remaining water. Wrap the loaves individually in a clean towel. Place loaves back in oven, on center rack, as oven is cooling down, with the oven door closed, overnight. Makes 2 loaves. Bread may be frozen.