Salzstangerl – My favourite Austrian Kleingebäck

 

Kleingebäck or Kleinbrote are the German words and classifications for small breads weighing 250g or less. In Austria, Switzerland and Germany there is a huge variety of Kleingebäck – every region and, in fact, every bakery will have their own selection.

Kleinbrote are usually eaten for breakfast or as part of the Jause (Austrian German – a snack or small meal usually eaten mid-morning or in the early evening) and works equally well with sweet or savoury toppings. Salzstangerl are my personal favourite Kleingebäck.

Salzstangerl Ready to be Eaten
Salzstangerl

Making Salzstangerl at home is easier than you might think. Go and give it a try!

Salzstangerl Recipe

Ingredients – 12 Salzstangerl

  • 500g plain white flour / bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried, instant yeast
  • 250ml lukewarm milk
  • 50g melted butter
    (Note: If you would like a lighter end product replace the milk and butter with lukewarm water)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Caraway seeds

 How to make Salzstangerl

  1. Add 100ml of the lukewarm milk, sugar, yeast and 2 tablespoons of flour into a large bowl and mix together. Don’t add the salt or butter at this stage!
  2. Leave to rest in a warm place until the volume has doubled.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to make the dough and leave to rest again.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts.
  6. Use your palms to form a ball for each of the parts.
  7. Lightly dust a work surface with flour.
  8. Roll out each dough ball into a very flat oval shape.
  9. Hold onto the bottom part of the oval shape with your left hand while rolling the dough from the top part towards the bottom part. The more you squeeze the dough with your right hand while rolling, the longer the Salzstangerl will be.
  10. Put all the pieces onto baking paper onto a baking tray.
  11. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rest (and grow) in a warm place for 15 mins.
  12. Spray with water and sprinkle with sea salt and caraway seeds.
  13. Bake on the middle shelve of the oven for approximately 15-20 mins.
  14. Cool on a wire rack.
Salzstangerl Rolled Dough
Salzstangerl – Rolled, Rested and Ready to be Baked
Salt Caraway Seed Mix
Salt & Caraway Seed Mix to Sprinkle on Top

If you want to freeze the Stangerl, parbake them for 10 mins, fully cool them, then freeze. You can then take them out of the freezer whenever you feel like Salzstangerl, put a little water on top and finish baking them in a non-preheated oven.

You can also freeze fully baked Salzstangerl for up to a month.

Bread Spices (Brotgewürz) – The taste of real Austrian rye breads

 

My bread baking journey with The Bread She Bakes is firmly rooted in the delicious flavours of Austrian rye breads I missed so much when I moved to the UK. A lot of dark breads in Austria, Germany (particularly in the South), Switzerland and South Tyrol are made with Brotgewürz (bread spices) which are both great for the taste of the bread and also really good for your digestive system.

Bread spices (Brotgewuerz)
Bread spices (Brotgewürz)

Recipe for an Austrian bread spice blend

The basic seeds and spices used are caraway seeds, anise, fennel and coriander seeds.

Bread spice ingredients for a 1 kg loaf of bread

  • 2½ tsp of caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp of fennel
  • 1 tsp of anise
  • ½ tsp of coriander seeds

You can also experiment with small quantities of allspice, fenugreek, sweet trefoil, celery seeds and cardamom – or just use one of these ingredients for your bread e.g. just caraway seeds or just coriander seeds. The taste of your bread will be very different depending on your bread spice choice.

Caraway seeds
Caraway seeds
Coriander seeds
Coriander seeds
Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds
Anise seeds
Anise seeds

How to make a bread spice mix (Brotgewürzmischung)

Put everything together into a coffee & spice grinder or just use a pestle and mortar to crack and crush the seeds.

The finer you crush or grind the spices, the subtler the taste.  You can use all of the spices whole if you like.

Bread spice whole
Bread spice whole

How to use bread spices

Simply add the spice mix to the dough ingredients. I usually use bread spice in dark breads made with 50 – 70% rye flour, 2 tablespoons of bread spice per kg of flour.

If you make larger quantities, keep the bread spices in an airtight container but it’s way better to make a fresh portion every time you need it!

Why not bake this delicious Austrian Hausbrot with your freshly assembled Brotgewürz 🙂 Enjoy!

Spelt Flour Chapati Recipe

 

In fitting with today’s delightfully autumnal weather, I decided to cook a hearty vegetarian curry with butternut squash. As is the case for most dishes, Indian curries taste best if eaten with freshly baked breads. I’ve made this spelt flour chapati recipe many times since visiting India in 2007 and it didn’t let me down today. These homemade spelt chapatis are no hassle at all – you’ll be done in just over an hour.

Spelt flour chapatis
Spelt flour chapatis

When visiting Malaysia recently, I picked up a tava (a round flat or slightly concave iron griddle) used in Indian cooking to make flatbreads. I haven’t got the traditional Atta flour handy, so I’m opting for a mix of wholemeal and white spelt flour instead.

Chapatis are…

  • Unleavened flatbreads (i.e. made from a dough containing no yeast or leavening agents)
  • An integral part of the Indian cuisine (also eaten in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia)
  • Traditionally made with Atta flour (stone ground wholemeal flour which has been sifted to remove the coarsest bran), salt and water. You can use a mixture of wholemeal and white flour if you don’t have Atta flour to hand.
  • Cooked on a tava (you can also use a flat bottom non-stick frying pan)

Spelt chapati recipe

Ingredients for 6 chapatis

  • 100g finely ground wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100g white spelt flour plus extra for dusting
  • 125g water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil plus extra for brushing

How to make the spelt flour chapatis

Before you follow the instructions, here is a video for a quick introduction of the process:

  1. Place the spelt flours, water and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Form a soft dough with your hands. Note that firmer dough is easier to handle but makes harder chapatis. If required, just add a little more water until you get the right consistency.
  3. Add a tablespoon of oil and transfer to a clean surface.
  4. Knead for about 10 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl and cover.
  6. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
  7. Divide into 6 equal pieces.
  8. Shape the dough into balls by rolling the pieces between your palms.
  9. Place them on a lightly dusted surface.
  10. Roll out the dough balls (one by one) into a thin round on a lightly floured surface.
  11. Heat up a frying pan over a medium heat and place the chapatis (one at a time) straight on the hot surface.
  12. Keep it there for about 30 seconds until blisters appear and it becomes slightly darker in colour.
  13. Turn and cook the other side in the same way. The steam trapped in the middle will cause the chapati to puff up. Use a clean kitchen towel to gently push down as air pockets form.
  14. Once done, lightly brush the chapati with rapeseed oil (traditionally ghee is used) and cover with a clean dish towel until ready to serve.
Spelt chapatis
Spelt chapatis

Enjoy with dhal or your favourite curry – no cutlery needed!

Wholemeal, Wholewheat, Wholegrain Flour… Confused?

 

Depending on the recipe you use, where you live and where you shop, flour can be named differently.

In general, wholemeal, wholewheat and wholegrain flour all refer to unrefined flours i.e. flours which are made of the whole grain (including bran, germ and endosperm). Note that wholewheat refers to flour made from wheat, while the terms wholemeal and wholegrain can also refer to other varieties of grain e.g. rye, spelt or buckwheat. Wholewheat could therefore also be described as wholemeal made from 100% wheat.

Refined (white) flours on the other hand only contain the endosperm of the grain (the bran and germ are removed) helping these flours to keep longer. However, by removing bran and germ, the flour also loses valuable nutritional components such as fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Brown flour uses a proportion of the whole grain, but usually not 100%.

There are regulations in place (“The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998” in the UK for example) which specify that four vitamins and minerals must be added to all white and brown flour (not wholemeal) to ensure the population still has an adequate intake of these vitamins and minerals even if they chose not to eat wholemeal. The process is called flour enrichment. The added nutrients are calcium, iron, thiamine and niacin which occur naturally in wholemeal but are lost in white, and to a certain extent brown flour. One key difference remains: refined flours are missing the dietary fibre of wholemeal.

The term wholemeal is more commonly used in the UK, while wholewheat and wholegrain are terms more frequently used in the US.

There are exceptions to this rule of course. I frequently buy Gilchesters Organics wholewheat flour (produced in Northumberland in the UK).

Gilchesters Organics Stoneground Organic 100% Whole Wheat Flour
100% Whole Wheat – Gilchesters Organics Flour

To make things more complicated (in the US in particular), you might come across white wholewheat flour. White wholewheat is made using whole white wheat grains while regular wholewheat is made from red wheat grains. White wheat is a type of wheat which has no major genes for bran color. White wholewheat is a lighter flour with a finer texture and milder flavour compared to regular wholewheat. Nutritionally, the two types of wheat are very similar.

Note that due to the different climate/agronomy, the wheat varieties grown in the UK differ to the wheat types in the US.

White spelt flour bread recipe

 

Returning from a work trip mid-week, I discovered that pretty much all of our bread stash (fresh and frozen) had been eaten. Noooo! I had to act quickly and this white spelt flour bread recipe was just perfect. If you need a bread-fix quickly, use this simple recipe for a basic white sandwich loaf to help you get by.

Spelt sourdough bread slices
Spelt sourdough bread slices

White spelt flour bread recipe (using yeast)

This recipe uses white spelt flour which I prefer using over plain wheat flour, but it will work with any plain white flour you have at home.

What you’ll need to make the white spelt flour loaf –

  • 500g white spelt flour
  • 280ml lukewarm water
  • 7g salt
  • 7g sachet of dried yeast

How to make the white spelt loaf –

  1. Add all ingredients above into a medium bowl and combine well.
  2. Knead the dough thoroughly and patiently for about 10 minutes (this is the fun part!). The result should be a silky, smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a lid for about an hour or longer until well risen.
  4. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and reduce its size again by ‘knocking it back’ (kneading it firmly but briefly to knock the air out).
  5. Shape into a boule and leave on the worktop for 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
  6. Place the dough into a baking tin and cover with a polythene bag to prevent it from drying out.
  7. Let the dough prove at room temperature until it’s doubled in size. This may take an hour in a warm room but longer in a colder room.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C about half an hour before baking.
  9. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack or wrap in a clean dishtowel if you like a softer crust.

The result –

A great looking white spelt bread loaf –  beautiful with butter and strawberry or raspberry jam in the morning. Great also for soaking up the juices from this amazing autumnal casserole dish.

White spelt flour bread recipe (using sourdough)

If you have more time, I would recommend baking the loaf with sourdough instead of yeast. Replace some of the white flour with wholemeal flour, infuse the dough with nigella seeds and you’ll have an entirely new loaf.

Spelt loaf with nigella seeds
Spelt loaf with nigella seeds

Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients for a spelt sourdough loaf –

  • 50g sourdough starter
  • 250g white spelt flour
  • 250g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 280ml lukewarm water
  • 7g salt
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds

How to make spelt sourdough bread –

Day 1

Combine the sourdough starter with 100g white spelt flour, 100g wholemeal spelt flour and 200g water. Mix well and cover with a lid. Keep at room temperature for 16 to 24 hours.

Day 2

Take 50g of sourdough out of the bowl to put back into the fridge for future sourdough baking before adding the remaining 150g white spelt flour, 150g wholemeal spelt flour, 80g water and 7g salt into the bowl. Follow steps 2 to 10 below but beware that sourdough may take longer to rise. Just before step 6, sprinkle the nigella seeds into the baking tin before placing the dough on top.

Flammkuchen Recipe (Alsatian / German Flatbread)

 

My friend Felix from Munich frequently impresses guests with his delicious Flammkuchen, a type of German flatbread with a delicious sour cream, bacon and onion topping. He provided all his Flammkuchen baking insight to me yesterday, so what better way to finish a long week than unwinding with a freshly baked Flammkuchen and a nice glass of Austrian Weißburgunder, watching a movie on the couch wrapped in a cosy blanket – or dressed in one of these (who knew that Tart Flambée T-Shirts were a thing??!). Here is his Flammkuchen recipe for all of you to enjoy!

Flammkuchen
A very tasty freshly baked Flammkuchen

What is Flammkuchen?

Flammkuchen (or Tarte Flambée in French) is an Alsatian dish – it’s easy to make and you’ll only need a few ingredients. The traditional Flammkuchen toppings are sour cream (Felix recommends crème fraiche as it’s thicker), onions and bacon. I’m planning to experiment with different toppings, but to start with, I go all traditional on this recipe.

Flammkuchen recipe

Before I jump into the Flammkuchen recipe instructions, a few additional notes on what Flammkuchen is and what it’s not.

Flammkuchen is often referred to as ‘German pizza’, so I just wanted to set the record straight on this one.

Flammkuchen and pizza use the same base dough. The key difference is that Flammkuchen uses a base of sour cream or crème fraiche while pizza comes with tomato sauce. Flammkuchen is also not to be confused with white pizza which is pizza with a cheese base. Cheese is not traditionally used as a topping for Flammkuchen and the bread dough crust is generally thinner when compared to pizza. And… the Flammkuchen shape is usually rectangular or oval rather than round as it is for pizza.

Flammkuchen Tarte Flambee
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5 from 4 votes

Flammkuchen Recipe

This delicious Flammkuchen recipe is easy to prepare and rewards your work with delicious flavours. The quantities below are for 4 portions.

Ingredients

Flammkuchen dough recipe

  • 500 g flour I used 400g strong white flour and 100g wholemeal flour; however if you can get your hands on strong 00 flour this will work even better
  • 7 salt
  • 7 dried yeast
  • 320 g warm water
  • A little olive oil

Flammkuchen sauce and toppings

  • 12  strips of bacon cut into small squares or cubes
  • 2 onions finely sliced into rings
  • 250 g crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 230 g natural Greek Yoghurt
  • tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh thyme optional

Instructions

How to make Flammkuchen

  • Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl to form a rough dough.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic, stretchy and velvety dough.
  • Place the dough back into your bowl and cover with a lid.
  • Leave to rest for 2 - 4 hours at room temperature (or overnight in the fridge).
  • Preheat the oven and a baking tray to 250°C (the highest temperature possible) 30 minutes before the bake. If you have a pizza stone, preheat the oven and the pizza stone 1 hour before.
  • Divide the dough into 4 parts (8 parts for smaller sized Flammkuchen). I use a dough scraper to do this.
  • Shape each part into a ball and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Combine the crème fraiche and yoghurt in a small bowl, add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Roll out the dough pieces (2-3 mm) and transfer to baking sheets.
  • Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Fry the bacon strips briefly until almost cooked, don't let them get crispy.
  • Fry the onion rings in the same pan until slightly browned.
  • If you are making all 4 Flammkuchen but baking only one at a time, don't add the topping to all of them at once. One by one works better as the topping doesn't melt into the dough that way.
  • Evenly and generously spread the cream mixture onto the dough (you want a really thick coating in order for the finished product not to be too dry), leave a small border around the edge (this will turn golden-brown and crispy).
  • Scatter the onion rings and bacon on top and sprinkle with thyme.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned and the bottom is crisp.
  • Serve immediately.
German Flammkuchen recipe using onions, sour cream, bacon
Flammkuchen with delightfully crisp onion rings

If you have leftover dough, you can refrigerate this in cling film and bake more Flammkuchen the next day.

If baking the next day is not an option, you can freeze it too. Roll out the dough into a base and par-bake (for about 3 mins). It needs to be fully cooled before you freeze it. When you feel like a cheeky Flammkuchen, simply take out the base, add the topping and bake again.

Hope you enjoy this Flammkuchen recipe as much as I do, it’s perfect for a night in!

Cheese and rosemary scones recipe

 

While visiting my parents-in-law this weekend, I decided to bake a big batch of cheese and rosemary scones for our afternoon tea. This recipe makes it easy to have a delicious snack ready within the hour.

Cheese and rosemary scones
Cheese and rosemary scones

Cheddar cheese, rosemary and onion scones recipe

These scones are delicious and it’s easy to adapt the recipe. Add six slices of rashers when you make the onion and rosemary mixture and you have a delicious variation of the recipe: bacon and cheese scones.

Cheddar rosemary scones
Cheddar rosemary scones

Cheese and rosemary scones
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5 from 1 vote

Cheese & Rosemary Scones

Quick and easy to prepare, these scones will be a real treat for your taste buds.

Ingredients

Ingredients for 12 cheese & rosemary scones

  • A glug of olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 500 g plain flour you can replace up to 1/3 with wholemeal flour if you like
  • 6 tsp baking powder (level tsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp  cayenne pepper
  • 100 g cold butter cubed
  • 150 g mature cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
  • 275 g milk
  • 75 g natural yoghurt

For the topping

  • A little bit of extra milk for brushing
  • 50 g mature cheddar grated to spread on top

Instructions

How to make cheese and rosemary scones

  • As always it’s best to get all the ingredients ready and chopped before you start. Luckily, I had some family assistance (chopping by my husband, entertainment by my mother-in-law) today and everything was done in no time.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 220°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped onions gently for about 10 minutes. Stir in the rosemary and set aside to cool.
  • While the onions are frying, sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, mustard powder and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine.
  • Add the butter cubes and rub them in with your fingers until your ingredients have a breadcrumb-like consistency, then add the cheese and onion-rosemary mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the milk and yoghurt and whisk briefly.
  • Add the milk and yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients to form the dough. It doesn't need to be worked too much. In fact, try to work it as little as possible.
  • Lightly flour your worktop, turn out the dough and carefully flatten to about 3cm without kneading it. Lightly flour the dough surface before continuing.
  • Use a round cookie cutter or glass with floured rim to cut the scones into round shapes. You'll need to put the dough pieces together a few times until you have no dough leftover.
  • Put the scones onto the baking tray, brush with a little milk and spread some grated cheddar on top. Make sure you leave some space between the scones as they will expand during the bake.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Transfer to a rack to cool.

Eat the cheddar and rosemary scones while warm and fresh. Once cooled you can store them in a plastic container for about two days. Just heat them through in the oven for a few minutes and they are as good as new. Scones are great for freezing too.

    This is an adaptation of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.

    Ellie enjoying one of my cheese and onion scones
    We – and the lovely Ellie who called in for a visit with daddy Noel – enjoyed the scones a lot!

    Irish White Soda Bread Recipe

     

    I found our bread basket empty this Sunday morning. Not good! Traditional Irish white soda bread is the perfect loaf for situations like this. It’s very easy to put together, only five basic ingredients are needed and fresh bread will be on your breakfast table in just over an hour.

    White soda bread quarter
    White soda bread quarter

    Quick White Soda Bread Recipe

    This quick white soda bread recipe will reward your taste buds and will also fill your kitchen with the most amazing smell of fresh baking. Great things happen when fragrant flour, tangy buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda come together. Bicarbonate of soda is the raising ingredient used in soda bread recipes. As an alkali, it needs an acid to perform its magic – in this case buttermilk, yoghurt or the lemon-milk mix.

    Irish white soda bread
    Traditional Irish white soda bread

    White soda bread ingredients

    • 400g plain flour
    • 100g wholemeal wheat flour
    • 15g bicarbonate of soda
    • 6g salt
    • 400g buttermilk – Both real or cultured buttermilk work. If you can’t get buttermilk, you can also work with yoghurt or souring milk with lemon juice or white wine vinegar. As always when replacing ingredients, you may need to adjust the dough’s hydration to get the desired texture.

    Where can I buy real buttermilk in the UK & Ireland?

    Real buttermilk is the thick, acidic by-product of butter churning. Cultured buttermilk, as sold in many supermarkets and shops, is made by adding lactic cultures to ordinary milk.
    Buy real buttermilk in the UK from Longley Farm and in Ireland from Cuinneog.

    How to make white soda bread

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). Don’t ignore this step, it’s important that the oven is fully preheated by the time the dough is ready.
    2. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix well. The sifting is important, particularly for the bicarb of soda, as the lumps do not dissolve in the liquid.
    3. Make sure the dry ingredients are mixed evenly, then add the buttermilk. Mix well but minimally i.e. don’t over-mix. Make sure everything is happening swiftly as the bicarbonate of soda will begin to react with the acid buttermilk as soon as they make contact. Working quickly helps you take advantage of all the carbon dioxide produced to lift the dough.
    4. The soda bread dough will be quite soft but that’s just perfect. Shape into a round loaf and flour lightly.
    5. Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
    6. Now make the trademark soda bread cross to divide the loaf into four sections. Cut the dough with a knife to make a deep cross; cut almost fully through the dough (about 80%).
    7. Bake for approx. 45 minutes at 200°C on the top shelf. The loaf is ready when it has a nice brown colour, has risen well and sounds hollow when tapped. Cover with tin foil after 30 minutes if the bread browns too quickly.
    8. Wrap the soda bread loaf in a tea towel while it cools to soften the crust or cool on a wire rack if you like your crust to be crisper.

    Best served fresh and eaten on the same day – what a Sunday morning treat!

    White soda bread
    White soda bread

    You can store the soda bread at room temperature for about two to three days. I usually freeze half a loaf and defrost again later in the week. It doesn’t otherwise keep that well. Freshen the defrosted bread by placing it in the oven for a few minutes before serving.

    Also try this delicious brown soda bread recipe which is a much more wholesome version of the above basic white soda bread.

    Any visit to my husband’s grandmother’s house would see the obligatory cup of Barry’s Tea accompanied by a slice of brown soda bread topped with generous amounts of Kerry Gold butter and raspberry jam. Happy memories!