Hausbrot – Traditional Austrian Bread Recipe

 

At home in Austria for the week, I was keen to bake some traditional Austrian Schwarzbrot (black bread) with my family. It was a good team effort! My grandmother provided the recipe for Hausbrot, my mum prepared the rye sourdough and got the various ingredients ready and I did the dough work.

There are many different recipes for Austrian Hausbrot (‘bread of the house’) but all of them have the following ingredients in common –

  • A variety of flours whereby rye flour is always used but usually mixed with wheat or spelt flour
  • Sourdough
  • Yeast
  • Austrian bread spices
Rye-heavy Hausbrot Closeup
Hausbrot (Austrian rye & wheat bread) with a nice even crumb and a hearty crust

Typically, proving baskets/bannetons (called Simperl or Gärkörbchen in German) made of cane or rattan are used to rest and prove the bread and mould its final shape. These bread baskets come in round or oval shapes and different sizes. Proving baskets are perfect for soft and loose doughs and give your bread loaves uniform-ish shapes.

Hausbrot Austrian Schwarzbrot Recipe

A true taste of Austria, try this Austrian bread recipe (my grandmother’s authentic family recipe) with a creamy Austrian potato soup or hearty Goulash soup.

Hausbrot ingredients

Sourdough

Sponge (preferment)

  • 1g dried yeast
  • 150g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 150g water

Remaining dough ingredients

  • 150g plain wheat flour
  • 100g white rye flour
  • 8g salt
  • 3g dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 1 tablespoon Austrian bread spices

How to make Austrian black bread: Hausbrot

24 hours before the bake

  1. Prepare the sourdough and preferment in two separate bowls and cover. Keep at room temperature for about 16-24 hours.

Baking day

  1. Combine 500g of the sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the preferment, plain flour, rye flour, salt, yeast, fennel seeds and Austrian bread spices to make a soft dough.
  2. Knead for approx. 10 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky due to the high rye flour content in this recipe but should be manageable.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a bowl, cover and keep at room temperature until it has doubled in size (approximately 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature of the room).
  4. Prepare the proving basket by lightly dusting it with flour. If you don’t have such bread baskets to hand, you can also use a bowl lined with a kitchen towel and flour. This technique will support the shape of the dough and will ultimately avoid that the dough flattens when it expands.
  5. Give the dough another quick knead and form a loaf.
  6. Cover the dough surface with flour (I tend to do this on a floured work surface and with floury hands) and place it in the proving basket.
  7. Leave to rest for another 2 hours or so for the bread’s final prove. Again, this may take longer depending on your room temperature.
  8. 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 250°C. If you have a La Cloche baking dome, preheat this in the oven from cold at the same time. If you don’t have a baking dome, preheat a baking tray.
  9. Turn out the loaf from the proving basket onto the hot baking dome plate or baking tray (line the tray with baking parchment first).
  10. Score the dough with a bread scoring knife and cover with the baking dome if using.
  11. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 250°C and for another 50 minutes at 200°C.
  12. Cool on a wire rack.
  13. Wait until the next day to cut and eat the bread.
Austrian bread - Hausbrot
Austrian bread – Hausbrot

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.