Einkorn Sourdough Bread Recipe

 

Einkorn (triticum monococcum) is the ancient precursor of wheat, the original wheat that grew in the area known as the Fertile Crescent in present-day Iraq and Syria. The grains are not very different from those harvested and eaten about 18,000 years ago and cultivated from about 10,00o BC. Einkorn moved from the Fertile Crescent area all the way to the Italian Alps where it was found in 1991 with the frozen remains of Ötzi the Iceman. They examined his last meal and it contained meat, roots, berries and Einkorn wheat. Even in the UK, grains of Einkorn have been discovered at an underwater archaeological site on the Isle of Wight where it was cultivated around 6,000 BC, when Britain was still connected by land to Europe.

Einkorn has an ability to survive on poor soil and in adverse conditions; however, as time went on, other varieties of wheat became more popular due to bigger yield and easier processing. Here is my Einkorn sourdough bread recipe, made with 100% wholemeal Einkorn flour. A beautifully golden loaf, with a deliciously creamy texture.

Einkorn sourdough bread
Einkorn sourdough bread

After all of this time, Einkorn has remained a pure wheat that has not been hybridized. It aptly translates into “one grain” in German as it has a single grain attached to its stem, while other modern varieties have groups of four grains. All varieties of wheat we know today are descendants of wild Einkorn.

Baking with Einkorn

Einkorn is ground into a soft and golden flour. As the gluten is weaker than standard wheat flour gluten, it requires a shorter mixing and kneading cycle than with regular bread flour. The dough can become sticky with excessive kneading and the slightly sticky gluten produces loaves of smaller volume than modern flours.

Einkorn flour absorbs less liquid than other wholemeal flours. As a general rule, the hydration amount should be reduced by 15% for standard wholewheat Einkorn flour. Resist the temptation to add more flour to lessen the dough’s sticky texture as it will end up drying up and baking dense later. Try to keep your dough wet and sticky.

Finally, don’t let it proof to the same degree as you would with normal wheat doughs. If Einkorn dough rises too much, it will deflate in the oven. Make sure the dough springs back when you press on it with your finger. It is better to under-proof than over-proof with Einkorn.

Where to buy Einkorn flour

Production today is limited and isolated, yet in the UK, Einkorn flour is available from Doves Farm and Shipton Mill.

Einkorn Sourdough Recipe

Bake a rustic sourdough bread with golden Einkorn flour. Light and creamy in colour with a rich flavour.

Einkorn bread
Einkorn bread

Ingredients

Sourdough

  • 50g wheat sourdough starter
  • 75g Einkorn flour
  • 75g water

Main dough

  • 500g Einkorn flour
  • 8g salt
  • 400g water

Dusting

  • Some extra flour (I use rice flour)

How to make Einkorn sourdough bread

  1. Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature for 12 hours.
  2. On the second day, combine all main dough ingredients with 150g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest should be set aside for your next bake) in a large bowl.
  3. Mix until all ingredients are well combined but avoid kneading the dough. The dough will be sticky, so work with your dough scraper to make things easier.
  4. Shape into a ball and place back into the bowl.
  5. Cover and leave to rest for about an hour at room temperature.
  6. Deflate the dough and shape into a boule, cover with (rice) flour and place into lightly floured proofing basket.
  7. Cover with a polythene bag to protect the moisture and proof at room temperature. For me, in my Edinburgh kitchen, this process takes a good 6 or 7 hours. However, if your kitchen is warmer, the process may be much shorter, perhaps only 2 hours or so.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C and preheat your baking dome or Dutch oven at the same time.
  9. Turn out the loaf onto the baking dome or Dutch oven (or otherwise a baking stone or baking tray lined with baking paper).
  10. Score the top with a pattern of your choice. Use a scoring knife for best results.
  11. Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes and at 200°C for a further 40 minutes.
  12. Take off the lid of your baking dome or Dutch oven for the last 10 minutes if using to firm up the crust.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.
  14. Enjoy an beautiful Neolithic loaf of sourdough bread 🙂

Best banneton baskets (bread proofing baskets)

 

Bannetons are baskets for bread proofing, used to hold shaped loaves as they proof and undergo their final rise. These dough rising containers are also referred to as Brotform in German and Gärkörbchen in Austria and come in various shapes and materials. There is plenty of variety out there, so here is my quick guide to banneton baskets to get you started.

Round banneton
Round banneton

Why use banneton baskets?

Bannetons are great for doughs that are too sloppy to proof as free standing loaf without flowing into a flat bread. Bread proofed in a basket can therefore be wetter as the dough is held in shape during the proofing process. Once proofed, the loaf is flipped or rolled out of the banneton basket and goes straight into the hot oven, giving it little chance to relax into a puddle before the bake.

You’ll find that, as the proportion of rye in bread recipes increases, bannetons become more useful, providing lateral support for fragile loaves. For a higher and prettier result, loose doughs are therefore best supported by proofing baskets in order to rise upwards, not outwards.

Great lightness and a very open structure are possible with such (wetter) dough, but only if it can be held in a reasonably coherent shape before being fixed by the heat of baking.” Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters

How to use a proofing basket

Using a proofing basket is simple:

  1. Put your loaf into the basket upside down (seam-side up).
  2. Cover the basket with a polythene bag to keep the moisture in i.e. to prevent the dehydration of the surface and to prevent a surface skin from forming
  3. Let the bread rise.
  4. Turn out the loaf onto your baking tray lined with baking paper or La Cloche baking dome or your baking peel, depositing the bread gently on to the surface, before transferring it into the hot oven.

A problem I faced when using my round wicker banneton for the first time was that my dough got stuck in the basket. This is because new cane bannetons need to be conditioned prior to their first use.

Before its first use, lightly mist your cane banneton with water and dust it with a layer flour. For any future uses, lightly flour your basket before you put in the dough and dip your dough in flour before you put it in the basket.

However, be careful, as too much flour results in a thick, floury crust and will diminish the cane’s spiral pattern, so you may have to experiment before you get it exactly right.

I like using white or brown rice flour to dust my banneton and to bathe the loaf in before it enters the basket. It will give your loaf a beautifully clean finish.

After use, leave it to dry out for a day, don’t place it back into the cupboard straight away.

How to clean a banneton

Brush with a dedicated stiff brush and store your banneton in a well ventilated spot.

I’ve never washed my bannetons as the brush does the job well. It’s not recommend to wash it and absolutely avoid soaking it.

However, every few months, you can place your proofing baskets into the oven at 150°C for 15 minutes to kill potential bacteria which may be lingering.

Oval banneton
Oval banneton

Types of banneton baskets

There are several types of bannetons. I personally prefer cane baskets but here are your options.

Cane wicker bannetons – Wicker makes an ideal container as it allows the air to circulate around the dough and let it breathe. Cane baskets will give your loaves a beautiful pattern and last a lifetime.

Wood pulp bannetons – Mostly made in Germany from 100% local spruce trees and less prone to sticking!

Plastic bannetons – These won’t get a recommendation from me…

Lined bannetons – Linen-lined proofing baskets are also a great choice when picking a banneton.

What size banneton should I use?

  • Proofing baskets come in different sizes, so make sure your dough quantity is aligned with the banneton basket size. An 8 inch round banneton is suitable for approx. 1 pound or 500g of dough while a 10 inch round banneton will be fine for 2 pounds or 1kg of dough. These sizes will give the dough enough space to rise and expand also without spilling over the sides.
  • If in any doubt, it’s usually better to use a slightly bigger banneton as it is not necessary to fill a banneton completely. The important thing is that the dough doesn’t spill. You may not get the full spiral effect of the banneton rings by using a slightly bigger size but the banneton will still be able to do its primary job i.e. hold the dough’s shape during the proof.
  • Finally, make sure that the loaf coming out of the banneton fits into your oven and fits into any Dutch oven or baking dome you may be using.

Proofing basket alternatives/substitutes

If you are looking for alternatives for proofing baskets, you could simply use a loaf pan to keep your dough in shape or improvise using a bowl lined with a flour-dusted lint-free tea towel. Alternatively, you could also try the all-rounder that is Lékué‘s silicone bread baker.

 

Guinness Bread Rolls Recipe

 

Irish stew is the order of the day, and what better accompaniment than some homemade Guinness bread rolls. Irish stew, by definition a simple dish, based on the few but substantial ingredients of lamb chops, onions, carrots and potatoes and flavoured simply with salt and pepper, is a superbly rich dish. My Guinness dinner rolls have a light crumb and exquisitely full-bodied flavours, divinely complementing the umami taste experience of the stew. I’ve also noticed that I’m spot on topic with this month’s #BreadBakers theme of ‘Irish Breads’, hosted by A Day In the Life On The Farm.

I’d baked bread with beer before and achieved some delicious results, but I’d never used Guinness. This Guinness bread recipe very subtly brings out the dark-roasted barley flavours.

Irish Stew Guinness Bread Rolls
Irish Stew with Guinness Bread Rolls

Guinness Bread Rolls Recipe

An Irish stew calls for bread rolls to soak up all the delicious juices and this recipe for Guinness bread rolls does the job perfectly. A wheat-based dough, enhanced with a little added rye and fortified by the ruby colours of that famous Irish stout, produces delicious Irish bread rolls.

Ingredients

  • 550g white bread flour
  • 150g white rye flour
  • 6g dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 440g Guinness, at room temperature
  • 75g water

How to make Guinness bread rolls

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl to form a dough
  2. Knead for about 10 minutes
  3. Let rest covered for about an hour until the dough has significanlty expanded in volume
  4. Punch down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface
  5. Divide into 16 equal parts, cover the dough parts with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for about 10 minutes
  6. Shape each dough part into a roll (I like to make rolls with pointed ends as the tips form a superb crust), place onto baking trays lined with baking paper, lightly flour the rolls’ surface and cover with clean kitchen towels. Make sure to leave enough room between the rolls to allow them to expand unless you like them to attach to each other during the bake, as I did in the photo above.
  7. Leave to rest for about an hour or more until proved
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until nicely browned and fully baked through
  10. Cool on a wire rack

Take a look at the Irish bread recipes from my fellow #BreadBakers!

Pumpkin Seed Bread Recipe

 

I recently discovered that Austrian pumpkin seeds are much bigger and darker in colour, have more substantial flavour and are creamier in texture than regular pumpkin seeds sold in the UK. Reason enough to bake one tasty pumpkin seed bread!

Pumpkin seed bread
Pumpkin seed bread

The largeness of Austrian pumpkin seeds makes them an attractive addition to many dishes. I love adding these pumpkin seeds into sourdough breads, but they are also great for snacking, salads or homemade granola. Take a look below, they look stunning, don’t they?

Austrian pumpkin seeds from Styria
Austrian pumpkin seeds from Styria
Standard pumpkin seeds
Standard pumpkin seeds

Austrian pumpkin seeds are grown organically in Austria, in the region of Styria. The Styrian pumpkin variety are grown for their hulless seeds alone, while the pumpkin pulp is used as fertilizer on the fields.

The seeds are also made into oil and make a popular foodie gift to bring back from an Austrian visit.

Pumpkin seed bread benefits

Austrian pumpkin seeds contain many valuable nutrients, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B1, B2, B6 and numerous minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Most notably they contain phytosterol. Several studies show that phytosterol helps with prostate and bladder conditions. 

Healthy pumpkin seed bread recipe

I use both wheat and a small amount of wholewheat flour in this pumpkin seed loaf recipe. Maize flour is added to give the bread a slightly yellow colour, a picturesque contrast to the green of the pumpkin seeds.

Sourdough bread with pumpkin seeds
Sourdough bread with pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seed bread
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Pumpkin Seed Bread Recipe

This delicious pumpkin seed bread recipe is a winner for any occasion. Delicious for breakfast with butter and jam, for a savoury platter of cold cuts and cheeses, or for dipping into your favourite soup.

Ingredients

Sourdough ingredients (Day 1)

  • 50 g wheat sourdough starter
  • 130 g wholewheat flour
  • 50 g strong white bread flour
  • 130 g water

Main dough ingredients (Day 2)

  • 343 g sourdough
  • 475 g strong white bread flour
  • 115 g maize flour
  • 11 g salt
  • 345 g water
  • 85 g Austrian pumpkin seeds

Instructions

How to make pumpkin seed bread

  • Prepare the sourdough on day 1 by combining the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for around 12 hours.
  • On day 2, dry-roast the Austrian pumpkin seeds in a frying pan until they start to pop and smell nutty.
  • Combine 310g of the sourdough starter (the rest goes back into the fridge for future bakes) and the main dough ingredients - with the exception of the pumpkin seeds - in a large bowl.
  • Knead for about 10 minutes, then add the pumpkin seeds.
  • Work in the seeds until evenly distributed.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for an hour or two until the dough has risen visibly.
  • Punch down the dough, shape into a round, flour the surface and place face-down into a pre-floured proving basket.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C half an hour before baking. If you use a La Cloche baking dome, preheat this in the oven from cold.
  • Once fully proved (after several hours in my kitchen but this will depend on the temperature in your room), turn out the bread from the proving basket onto the hot La Cloche plate.
  • Put the La Cloche cover back on and bake for 10 minutes at 220°C, then turn down the heat to 190°C for another 40 minutes. Take off the La Cloche for the last 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

Powidl Recipe (Austrian Plum Preserve)

 

Quite a few Austrian sweet dishes and puddings are filled with a jam-like plum spread called Powidl and I thought it would be useful to devote a quick feature to this delicious preserve. You’ll find Powidl in my recipes for Germknödel and Mohnstrudel but it’s also used to fill Pofesen, Buchteln and Powidl-Tascherl. A delicious preserve made purely from plums, this authentic Powidl recipe doesn’t use added sugar. It’s made by simply cooking and reducing plums to a thick, spreadable consistency.

Powidl Austrian plum preserve
Powidl Austrian plum preserve

Good-quality Powidl is not readily available to buy in shops, even in Austria, so I wanted to share the recipe for making Powidl at home.

In Austria, we use Zwetschken (prunus domestica subsp. domestica) to make Powidl. You can see some photos of our Zwetschken tree at home in Austria in this post here. Without access to prunus domestica subsp. domestica, it’s best to find damsons (prunus domestica subsp. insititia) instead of the huge round plums you’ll find in the supermarkets. Either way, ensure to use very ripe and very sweet fruit for making this Powidl recipe.

Powidl
Powidl

Powidl recipe

Please note again that real Powidl isn’t made with sugar and is therefore not a ‘jam’.

Powidl
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Powidl recipe

This authentic Powidl preserve contains the pure essence of plums and won’t taste of sugar like typical jams. As a rule of thumb, you'll end up with 20% of the initial plum weight when making Powidl, for example 5kg of plums will cook down to 1kg of Powidl. 

Ingredients

  • 2.5 kg Zwetschken/damsons/plums
  • 1 lemon grated zest only
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves and/or cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp dark rum

Instructions

How to make Powidl

  • Take a quantity of Zwetschken/damsons/plums (e.g. use 2.5kg to make 500g of Powidl), halve and de-stone the fruit. Add a few de-stoned dried plums if you like. It adds an additional layer of flavour complexity to the Powidl.
  • You can add grated lemon zest, a little bit of ground cloves and/or cinnamon and some dark rum (Stroh if you are going all Austrian).
  • Bring to a boil in a suitable pot and slowly simmer on a low heat for several hours
  • Stir frequently.
  • Continue until the plums have cooked down to a dark purple or brownish pulp - a viscous paste which is spreadable i.e. it shouldn't be too runny and not too thick.
  • Fill into jam glasses.

 

Where to buy Powidl

Real Powidl can’t be bought in supermarkets. However, I did see that Darbo Powidl sells here. I would like to add that I have never tried and tasted this product. Please also note that Powidl such as this is made with the addition of sugar.

Galettes de sarrasin recipe (buckwheat pancakes)

 

I love pancakes and am very excited indeed about all the pancake recipes coming out of this month’s #BreadBakers theme, kindly hosted by Mayuri Patel blogging at Austrian Palatschinken to Indian Dosa, from sorghum flour pancakes to these galettes de sarrasin, a buckwheat flour pancake recipe from the North of France.

Galettes de sarrasin
Galettes de sarrasin

This recipe uses 100% buckwheat flour. The buckwheat flavours mingling with the ham, cheese, spinach and eggs are simply divine! For a lighter buckwheat pancake, take a look at my recipe for buckwheat groats pancakes, using a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour.

Galettes de sarrasin recipe

Prepare the batter the night before baking the pancakes. The galettes de sarrasin are easily assembled and make for a stand-out weekend breakfast!




For the batter

  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 5g salt
  • 225g milk
  • 115g water
  • 1 large egg
  • Butter for the frying pan

For the filling – per galette

  • 20g cheese, grated (use Comté for a more traditional galette de sarrasin; mature cheddar will also work well)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 thin large slice of good-quality ham
  • A few baby spinach leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to make galettes de sarrasin

  1. Make the batter in the evening before making the pancakes. In a medium bowl, combine the buckwheat flour with the salt, milk, water and the egg. Whisk thoroughly. The batter should have the consistency of pouring cream.
  2. In the morning, heat a large frying pan (I used a pan 30 cm in diameter) to a medium heat and add about 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan and use a pastry brush to spread it evenly. Don’t be shy about the butter, it ensures the pancake can easily move around.
  3. Pre-heat the grill to a medium heat.
  4. Pour a good ladle of batter into the pan, lift the pan off the heat and swirl to distribute evenly.
  5. Place the pan back on the heat, and when the top is no longer looking wet and runny, flip the pancake.
  6. Place the slice of ham in the centre of the pancake.
  7. Add the egg on top of the ham, ensuring the egg yolk settles in the centre of the pancake.
  8. Scatter over the cheese, add salt and pepper and the baby spinach leaves, keeping the egg yolk centre uncovered.
  9. Fold the 4 edges into the galette, keeping the egg and bits of the filling visible.
  10. Place the pan under the grill to make the cheese melt and to cook the egg to the desired consistency.
  11. Slide off onto a plate and repeat.

If you love the taste of buckwheat and want to bake more with this outstanding flour, take a look at my collection of the best buckwheat bread recipes.

Kletzenbrot Recipe – Austrian Christmas Fruit Loaf

 

My childhood memories of Kletzenbrot, an Austrian Christmas fruit bread, are somewhat limited as I was never a huge fan. The Kletzenbrot (which translates as ‘dried pear bread’) I was typically presented with was always just a little bit too full on for me, too fruit-laden and too overpowering in terms of spices. Kletzenbrot of this kind consists of a fruit-only centre with just a thin layer of dough covering the moist, squidgy mixture. I like a bread with plenty of dough, where the fruit plays an important but supporting role, hence the reason for my dislike! Baking bread at home has allowed me to create my own version of the traditional classic Kletzenbrot recipe. Here is my take on Kletzenbrot, the way I like it.

Kletzenbrot
Kletzenbrot

A variety of fruit is commonly used for making Austrian Kletzenbrot including dried pears, figs, dates and raisins. I’ve always found that the dried pears are a little bit lost in this mix and I wanted their taste to take centre stage. Kletzenbrot should be all about the Kletzen – don’t you agree?

Therefore, this is a Kletzenbrot recipe for purists – chunky bits of dried pear (no other fruit) baked into a lightly spiced rye and wheat dough. Try my version of Kletzenbrot – it’s a lovely fruit bread all year round.

Where to buy Kletzen?

I usually buy Kletzen in a local market in my home town in Austria. These are different from standard dried pears as Kletzen are made from specific old pear varieties which are grown on Austrian farms specifically for drying. These pears have a firm peel and pulp and a high sugar content but are not usually consumed raw. Instead, they are dried with the peel. If you would like to get the real deal but you don’t have access to an Austrian farmers’ market, you can order Kletzen online from this Austrian specialties shop.

Kletzen
Kletzen

Kletzenbrot Recipe

My Kletzenbrot recipe is prepared with a yeasted dough and, although there are quite a few steps involved, you can complete the bread in an afternoon.

If you prefer more fruit in your loaf, you can easily increase the fruit content. Use the same dough quantities but with more fruit (and nuts) to achieve a fruitier loaf.

Kletzenbrot recipe
Kletzenbrot

Kletzenbrot
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5 from 1 vote

Kletzenbrot Recipe

Make this delicious Austrian Christmas fruit loaf in the run up to Christmas or enjoy any time of the year as a breakfast bread. The Kletzenbrot recipe may seem complicated, but it'll all come together quite easily, give it a go!

Ingredients

Kletzenbrot Ingredients

    For the main dough

    • 350 g white rye flour
    • 150 g strong white wheat bread flour
    • 7 g dried yeast
    • 6 g salt
    • Spices: 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground anise
    • 325 g water use the water from the fruit and nut mix

    For the dough shell

    • 100 g wheat flour
    • 50 g rye flour
    • 2 g dried yeast
    • A pinch of salt
    • 90 g water

    For the filling

    • 250 g dried pears chopped into small pieces
    • 50 g hazelnuts cut into halves
    • 40 g rum

    For brushing

    • 65 g water
    • 3 g potato starch
    • 3 g sugar

    Instructions

    How to make Kletzenbrot Christmas Fruit Loaf

    • Place the fruit and nuts into a pot, add the rum and enough water to cover the fruit and nut mixture.
    • Boil up briefly and simmer on a very low heat for 45 minutes.
    • Strain and keep the liquid so you can use the fruity water for the dough.
    • Prepare the main dough using the flours, yeast, salt, ground spices and the fruity water. Add more water to make up the required quantity if you don't have enough sieved water.
    • Knead for about 10 minutes, then add the fruit and nut mix until evenly distributed.
    • Place the main dough into a large bowl, cover and leave to rest for about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
    • In the meantime, prepare the dough for the outer layer (see ingredients for the dough shell) by combining the flours, yeast, salt and water.
    • Knead for 10 minutes, then place the dough into a small bowl and leave to rest for about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
    • Go back to the main dough once risen, punch down and divide the dough into two equal parts.
    • 10. Shape each part into a flattish oval loaf and place them on two baking trays lined with baking paper.
    • 11. Take the dough you prepared for the outer layer of the loaf. This is going to be the outside hull which is going to be used to avoid the fruit from burning. Divide into two equal parts and, with a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 3 mm in thickness. Roll out with a view to wrap the two fruit loaves you prepared, then gently cover the loaves. The dough shell doesn't need to cover the fruit dough at the bottom, simply tuck in the outer layer so it doesn't peel off during the bake. Finally, make sure the outer and inner dough parts are well connected.
    • 12. Use a fork to make a decorative pattern on each of the loaves.
    • 13. Rest for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 190°C in the meantime.
    • 14. Brush the loaves with water and bake at 190°C for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to 170°C and bake for a further 25 minutes. Cover the loaves with tin foil in case they brown too quickly.
    • 15. Just before you take the loaves out of the oven, prepare the mixture for brushing by bringing the water, potato starch and sugar to the boil. Watch carefully and take it off the heat as soon as it has gelatinised.
    • 16. Brush on the mixture when the loaf is still hot.
    • 17. Cool on a wire rack.
    • 18. Serve with butter, it's delicious!

    Kletzenbrot slice
    Kletzenbrot slice

    What to do with leftover sourdough starter?

     

    Starting the year with healthy and nutritious bread is a great way to improve your diet. In the same vein, minimising food waste should be another goal high on the list of food-related ambitions. 22.4% of all bread  (equating to 660,000t or £640 million of bread) is thrown away in UK homes every year. Bread is in the top three foods that Britons are throwing away uneaten, with potatoes and milk also making the shameful top three. Here are some tips to reduce bread waste, from storing bread in an ideal environment to using stale pieces of bread and ideas for leftover sourdough starter.

    Rye sourdough starter
    Rye sourdough starter

    Tips for storing bread

    Use a bread bin for storing bread to allow it to breathe and stay moist while shielding it from the worst of the dry air. Storing bread in plastic doesn’t let moisture escape so iwill get mushy. You can counteract this somewhat by wrapping the bread in a clean kitchen towel before putting it in a plastic bag as the fabric will absorb moisture. Don’t store bread in the fridge as it goes stale much faster. However, the freezer is a good option to go for if you’d like to keep your bread fresh for more than a few days.

    Tips for using stale bread

    I’m proud to report that I waste 0% of the bread I bake. Yes, we eat a lot of the tasty home-baked breads as long as they are fresh but, once a little bit stale, a splash of water and a hot oven can revive most breads to a deliciously soft state. Even really stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs, croutons or pangrattato, used in salads such as fattoush or turned into bread dumplings or bread and butter pudding. There’s an assumption that stale bread means that it’s fit for the bin. But in actual fact stale bread is a versatile ingredient and there are many delicious recipes stale bread can be used in.

    Another great way to use stale rye bread is adding some of it to your new bread dough. Old stale rye bread pieces add fantastic flavour to new loaves of bread. How to achieve this?

    • You can either keep old pieces of dried out bread. When ready to bake, soak  the stale bread in water and blend before using the ‘bread puree’ for new bread dough.
    • Alternatively, if you have a grain mill at home, cut rye bread into cubes and leave them to dry out. Put them through the mill and let the crumbs dry out again. Just before baking, combine some of the crumbs with hot water which gives a wonderfully fragrant old bread soaker to add to your new dough.

    Tips for leftover sourdough starter

    After this long preamble, what I’ve come to talk about specifically here is the topic of leftover sourdough starter.

    There are too many recipes which frustratingly encourage people to chuck leftover sourdough starter. Why should one toss a perfectly good portion of starter? Firstly, it’s perfectly possible to produce a sensible amount of starter to begin with, without having to discard mixture along the way. Secondly, there are many good ways to use any excess starter you might have, so don’t just put it in the bin. There’s never a reason to waste and discard accumulations of old but functioning sourdough.

    Leftover sourdough starter ideas

    1. Initiate your next production sourdough…
      Here is one recipe that requires a good amount of sourdough starter (100g) and I’ve added another (new) recipe below using 140g starter. Please note: A fluffy loaf of sourdough bread is best baked with a refreshed, active starter to provide fermentation and leavening power. There are other recipes, however, that do well with discarded starter.
    2. Pass it on…
      Give the gift of good bread to your friends and family!
    3. Use it as a natural bread improver…
      A small amount (up to 10% of the total dough weight) of old starter will improve any bread in terms of flavour, especially yeast breads that don’t involve any sponge, sourdough or long fermentation. Just mix the old starter in with all the other ingredients and enjoy an improvement to the dough structure, flavour and quality that comes from its rich store of organic acids.
    4. Improve the flavour of quick breads and bakes…
      Use leftover sourdough starter to improve the flavour of pancakes, muffins or crackers .

    Leftover sourdough bread recipe

    This is a new sourdough recipe I put together with the purpose of using some spare starter I had. Due to the large amount of sourdough starter used, it’s a very vigorous dough so will prove more quickly than other recipes using only a fraction of the starter.

    White rye sourdough bread
    White rye sourdough bread

    Ingredients

    For the sourdough

    • 140g leftover/spare sourdough starter
    • 200g light/white rye flour
    • 200g water

    For the main dough

    • 50g piece of stale rye bread (+hot water to soak)
    • 280g light/white rye flour
    • 220g strong white bread flour
    • 305g water
    • 15g salt

    How to make bread with spare sourdough starter

    Day 1

    1. Combine the sourdough starter, rye flour and water in a medium bowl, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for about 16 hours until ripe and bubbly.

    Day 2

    1. An hour before you start making the dough, take a small bowl to soak the piece of stale rye bread in water. Make sure all of the old bread is covered. Leave to soak.
    2. Drain all the water from the bowl, then puree the bread until completely lump free.
    3. In a large bowl, combine the sourdough mixture from day 1 (all of it) with the main dough ingredients, including the pureed old bread.
    4. Form a dough and knead for a good 10 minutes. The dough will be quite soft, so you may want to knead it in a stand mixer.
    5. Place back in the bowl if you had taken the dough out onto your work surface and cover. Rest for about an hour at room temperature. You should see a good rise from the bread in that time.
    6. Oil a large bread baking tin and fill the punched down dough into the form.
    7. Dust with flour, cover with a polythene bag and prove for a few hours at room temperature until fully proved (e.g. if it filled your tin by half, it should now come almost to the top).
    8. Preheat your oven to 230°C in time for baking, then bake for 10 minutes at 230°C and a further 40 minutes at 190°C.
    9. Cool on a wire rack.

    Amaranth bread recipe

     

    I’ve finally got hold of amaranth! After putting down my thoughts on healthy bread last week, I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to another health-related topic and highlight the benefits of the nutritious amaranth plant, its seeds and flour. The amaranth plant, once a staple of the Aztec and Inca diet, produces seeds packed full of protein and nutrients. Amaranth seeds contain even more protein than oats and are brimming with iron, calcium, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. This is therefore another healthy bread recipe for the start of the year; my amaranth bread recipe based on long fermentation, enhanced in its nutritional value by added pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

    Amaranth bread
    Amaranth bread

    Baking with amaranth flour and seeds

    Amaranth is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants which means it’s a relative of beets, spinach and quinoa. For this reason, some of its nutritional characteristics are more related to these vegetables than cereal grain foods, which are members of an entirely different plant family.

    • The word ‘Amaranth’ is derived from the Greek term ‘amarantos’ meaning ‘unwithering’. Amaranth is also known as ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’ due to its brightly coloured flowery head.

    Amaranth flour recipes

    Both amaranth seeds and flour can be used for baking. Due to its mild, nutty flavour amaranth flour produces relatively plain breads and I’ve enhanced my amaranth bread recipe with both pumpkin seeds and walnuts. If you fancy a quicker recipe, try these crackers for a healthy snack. I’ve seen the amaranth flavour described as ‘lightly reminiscent of corn with grassy tones’ which I think is pretty much spot on.

    Amaranth Seed recipes

    Amaranth is quite versatile and can be simmered like other grains. It has a porridge-like texture and goes well with curry dishes. If you are growing the plant, you can even use the green leaves as an addition to your curry or salad. I’ve also used amaranth to prepare healthy salads and it works well. Alternatively, you can make a dessert by using amaranth seeds to prepare a fruity amaranth pudding.

    Where to buy amaranth?

    I got the amaranth flour and seeds from BuyWholefoodsOnline.co.uk, which has proven to be a brilliant source for high quality whole foods difficult to find elsewhere.

    The individual products sourced were:

    Amaranth sourdough bread
    Amaranth sourdough bread

    Amaranth bread
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    5 from 6 votes

    Amaranth bread recipe

    My amaranth bread recipe includes 20% amaranth flour (based on overall flour content) and an additional portion of amaranth porridge made from amaranth seeds and water. It is therefore not a pure amaranth flour bread recipe, but using around 20% amaranth flour in a loaf of bread will provide a good texture and the amaranth taste will come through nicely.
    Prep Time 1 day 8 hours
    Cook Time 50 minutes
    Total Time 1 day 8 hours 50 minutes
    Calories 219

    Ingredients

    Amaranth bread ingredients

      Sourdough

      • 30 g rye sourdough starter at 100% hydration
      • 75 g wholemeal flour
      • 75 g water

      Seed and Nut Soaker

      • 50 g chopped walnuts
      • 50 g chopped pumpkin seeds
      • 80 g water

      Amaranth Seed Porridge

      • 80 g amaranth seeds
      • 160 g water

      Main dough

      • 450 g strong white bread flour
      • 110 g amaranth flour
      • 325 g water
      • 12 g salt

      Dusting

      • Some extra flour I use rice flour

      Instructions

      How to make amaranth bread

        Day 1

        • Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 - 24 hours.
        • Dry-roast the chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds until fragrant, then add 80g of boiling water to soak. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 - 24 hours.

        Day 2

        • Toast the amaranth seeds in a small pan until they become aromatic and light brown. Add the water and bring to a low simmer. The amaranth should soften in about 15 minutes and the water should evaporate by then. If it dries before the seeds are ready, add more water as needed. Remove from the heat to cool when done.
        • In a large bowl, combine 150g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest should be set aside for your next bake), the amaranth seed porridge and the main dough ingredients to form a dough.
        • Knead for at least 10 minutes until you have formed an elastic and smooth dough.
        • Add the seed and nut soaker from day 1 and kneed for a further few minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky, so work with your dough scraper to help things along.
        • Place back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for about an hour or two at room temperature until you can see the dough has risen slightly.
        • Deflate the dough and give it another quick knead on your work surface.
        • Shape into a loaf, cover with flour in a flour bath and place into a lightly floured proving basket.
        • Cover with a polythene bag to protect the moisture and prove at room temperature. In my wintery Edinburgh kitchen, this process takes a good 6 or 7 hours. However, if your kitchen is warmer, the process may be much shorter.
        • Preheat the oven to 220°C and preheat your baking dome or Dutch oven at the same time.
        • Turn out the loaf onto the baking dome or Dutch oven (or otherwise a baking stone or baking tray lined with baking paper).
        • Score the top with a pattern of your choice. Use a scoring knife for best results.
        • Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes and at 200°C for a further 40 minutes.
        • Take off the lid of your baking dome or Dutch oven for the last 10 minutes if using to firm up the crust.
        • Cool on a wire rack.
        • Enjoy an amazing loaf of amaranth sourdough bread 🙂

        Nutrition

        Calories: 219kcal
        Amaranth bread recipe
        Amaranth bread loaf

        If you’d like to make this amaranth bread recipe without the use of pumpkin seeds and walnuts, you can simply omit the seed and nut soaker ingredients as well as step 4 above.

        Healthy whole grain bread recipe

         

        New Year’s resolutions abound and healthier living and eating aspirations are plentiful with the beginning of the New Year. I’m hoping that for many, a healthier bread diet constitutes part of their New Year’s resolutions. For you special people, I have put together a healthy bread recipe to get you on the right track. If you are in an energetic, I-will-eat-better-in-2017 phase right now, give it a go!

        Healthy Bread Recipe
        Healthy Bread Recipe

        What constitutes healthy bread?

        Here is my checklist for the make-up of a healthy bread.

        • Organic ingredients

          As beautifully described by Andrew Whitley in the book Bread Matters (see page 43), “when we choose a loaf of bread,… we can also choose how its basic ingredient is grown. We can opt for bread made with organic flour, milled from wheat grown in soil kept fertile by compost, crop rotation and green manures… Bread’s roots are in the soil.”

        “In bread we gain access to the vitality of the seed.”
        Andrew Whitley

        • Naturally leavened

          The process of slow fermentation and using sourdough makes the nutrients in wheat flour more available for digestion and the simple sugars less available, which helps with blood sugar control, particularly for people with Diabetes.

        • Wholemeal flour

          White flour is made from heavily refined and processed wheat grains, while wholemeal flour is made from grains that have not undergone heavy processing. Wholemeal and white flours differ in their nutritional value, with wholemeal containing additional fibre and vitamin content as well as a lower GI (Glycaemic Index) value.

        • Whole grains

          For the same reasons, I like to add whole grains to my healthy bread recipes. While wholemeal flour undergoes some processing, whole grains are as good as it gets when it comes to adding cereal into your bread; they come with lots of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

        • Seeds

          Seeds contain protein, essential fats, dietary fibre and micronutrients and I particularly like adding sunflower seeds to bread. Toasted, they taste amazing and add significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.

        • Spices

          Bread spices such as fennel, coriander, caraway and anise seeds provide properties which are beneficial to the digestive system and plenty of flavour. Take a look at my post on bread spices and prepare a batch for your next bake.

        • No sugar

          Baking breads at home allows you to avoid hidden sugars found in some shop-bought loaves. Read my post about sugar-free baking for additional information.

        • DOn’t let ‘Gluten-free’ deceive you

          Gluten-free bread isn’t ‘a healthier option’ if you don’t suffer from coeliac disease or other gluten-related disorders. The majority of flours and starches used to make gluten-free breads are high glycaemic with little fibre. Shop-bought varieties often contain certain industrial type binders such as xanthan gum which is highly processed and far away from the basic ingredients (flour, water, salt) of bread. If there is no medical reason for eating gluten-free, I would discourage you from seeking gluten-free bread options for health reasons. Healthy bread is based on natural ingredients and slow fermentation – rarely something connected to gluten-free nor supermarket-bought breads.

        Baking Sourdough Bread: The Traditional Art of Sourdough
        Source: Fix.com Blog

        Healthy bread recipe

        Here’s my healthy bread recipe for your new healthier lifestyle! As per my notes above, use organic ingredients throughout.

        Healthy Bread
        Healthy Bread

        First of all, a summary of all ingredients for my healthy bread recipe:

        • 50g rye sourdough starter (make from scratch or use a starter you have previously prepared)
        • 250g wholemeal wheat flour
        • 50g cracked rye kernels
        • 175g wholemeal rye flour
        • 100g sunflower seeds
        • 10g salt
        • 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
        • 415g water
        • A splash of sunflower oil
        Healthy whole grain bread
        Healthy whole grain bread

        How to bake my healthy whole grain bread

        If you don’t already have a sourdough starter, start by preparing this from scratch. Follow my guide to make a rye sourdough starter – with all organic ingredients. You’ll only need to complete this process once, so don’t be put off by it taking a few days to complete. It’s worth it! I’ve had my starter since January 2012 and have not looked back since.

        Day 1

        Step 1 – Refresh your sourdough starter

        • In a medium bowl, combine 50g of your rye sourdough starter with 50g wholemeal wheat flour, 50g cracked rye kernels and 100g water.
        • Cover with a lid or plastic foil and leave to stand at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours.

        Step 2 – Prepare the seed and grain soaker

        • Dry roast 100g sunflower seeds in a frying pan releasing the wonderful nutty flavours.
        • Place the toasted seeds in a bowl and cover with 125g boiling water.
        • Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours.

        Day 2

        Step 3 – Prepare the production dough

        Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl and form into a dough

        • 200g of your refreshed starter mixture from day 1 (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake)
        • The sunflower seed soaker from day 1
        • 200g wholemeal wheat flour
        • 175g wholemeal rye flour
        • 160g water
        • 10g salt
        • 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed

        Knead for 10 minutes, then place the dough back into the large bowl, cover with a lid and leave to rest for about an 1 hour at room temperature.

        Step 4 – Prove the dough

        • Once rested, give the dough another quick knead.
        • Prepare a loaf tin for baking and lightly oil the tin using sunflower oil and a baking brush.
        • Prove for several hours at room temperature until the loaf has risen well.

        Step 5 – Bake

        • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
        • Bake for 10 minutes at 220°C and a further 40 minutes at 180°C.
        • Cool on a wire rack.

        I’m in good company with my healthy whole grain bread recipe this month. Check out the healthy breads that my fellow #BreadBakers have baked:

        #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

        We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

        BreadBakers