Introduction: German Bread for Beginners
We all know that feeling - bored in quarantine in a global pandemic and wondering how we can get our minds off all the stuff going on. Well, it's probably not exactly innovative to start baking. But as a result of baking all different kinds of bread for the last few months I can now proudly present:
The recipe that works - and tastes good - and doesn't take days to make.
What I personally love about that bread the most is the crust. It not only tastes good but also has the right sound. You will know what I mean when you try it.
Heads up: For Germans (like I am) it is a white bread. But Americans have a little different understanding of that, so please let me know how you would call this.
- 750g wheat flour (type 1050)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp bread spice (ingredients and instructions in optional step 2)
- 1-2 Tbsp salt
- 1 pack dry yeast (7g)
- 3-4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ca 450ml warm water
- a bit of oil for the bowl
Step 1: Preparing the Dough
Take a large bowl for the yeast dough to rise in (for me a metal bowl works best). Note that the bowl should withstand temperatures of up to 40 degrees celsius. Grease the bowl with some oil (not just the bottom, the dough will rise more than you think!) and set aside.
In another large bowl or kitchen aid, combine all dry ingredients.
Put the balsamic vinegar in a measuring cup and add warm water until you hit the 450ml mark. Add this to the dry ingredients.
Knead until well combined and the dough comes off the sides of the bowl. Then take the ball of dough out of the bowl and continue kneading in your hands by folding the eadges inside so you have a smooth surface facing you. Place the dough in the greased bowl with the smooth side up.
Step 2: Optional: Bread Spice
Ingredients (for 3-4 breads):
- 1 Tbsp coriander
- 1 Tbsp caraway
- 1 Tbsp fennel
- 2-3 star anise
Combine all ingredients and grind. Store in a sealable jar.
Step 3: Let It Rise
Place the bowl with the dough in the oven and just turn the lights on. Don't set a temperature.
Let the dough rise for approx. 2 hours.
Now the dough should have at least doubled in size. Take the bowl with the dough out of the oven, cover it with a kitchen towel (or similar) and place it somewhere warm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius convection.
Take an oven-proof dish, put water inside and place it on the bottom of the oven.
If you don't have a convection oven, you should set the temperature a bit higher (I will try it out myself and edit this step as soon as I figured it out).
Step 4: Baking the Bread
When the oven has finished preheating, get the dough and tip it over onto a baking sheet without putting any pressure on it.
Cut a nice pattern into the dough so it can rise even more. But be very careful while doing so - we don't want the dough to flatten!
Place the baking sheet on a rack ca. 20cm above the bottom of the oven. Try not to leave the oven open for long that the steam doesn't escape.
Let the bread bake for 10 minutes, take out the dish with water and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Take the finished bread out of the oven and let it cool off for about an hour.
Then it should be cold enough to touch it without getting hurt, but still a bit warm and smell "freshly-baked". It now tastes best with a bit of butter and salt.
You can eat and store it like any other bread. Enjoy!