Germany is famous for its many bread varieties and as a German I must admit: I love bread! I love the dark, grainy versions with their malty flavours but also fluffy white bread. I love rye bread as much as wheat bread or a mixture of both or spelt bread or really extraordinary types like potato bread. Or pretzels. And so on. I have a standard bread I bake usually. It’s a rye and wheat sourdough bread with yeast as well. It’s very easy to make, just needs a bit of time, but the result is more than satisfying. I love the whole process: kneading the dough, watching it rise, shaping it and finally baking it. The smell which wafts through the kitchen then is heaven to me. Not to forget a fresh, warm slice, cut really thickly…
I’m planning to publish a bread tutorial at some point, but I have to experiment a little more first. So this recipe takes for granted that you already know how to use your own sourdough.
For the dough you need:
- 150-200 g rye flour (type 1150)
- 300-350 g wheat flour (type 550)
- 70 g sourdough (liquid)
- 20 g fresh yeast
- 10 g salt
- 300 g water
For the filling you need:
- 1 big red onion
- approx. 250 g dried tomatoes
- approx. 500 g mushrooms
- a few stems parsley
- salt and pepper
- any oil/fat for frying
Combine both flours in a bowl. Measure the water, crumble the yeast in and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the sourdough and stir again. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour mixture and begin wo make the dough by stiring vigorously with a fork. As soon as your mixture looks more or less like the one in the left picture below, add the salt (now it won’t disturb the yeast from working) and go on stiring. Once the dough starts coming together you can start using your hands (or a kneading/kitchen machine, but I believe it’s part of the process using your hands and really feel the dough). Don’t forget to put flour on your working surface/in your bowl and to dust your hands with it as well, so the dough won’t stick to anything else but itself. When you think ‘Oh, that’s becoming a proper dough now’ don’t stop kneading! It takes about 8 minutes of ambitious hand work to get the right elasticity and consistency (Picture in the middle). After that the dough needs a rest. Dust it slightly with flour, put it back into the bowl or leave it on the work surface but make sure it’s covered with a fresh kitchen cloth, so it won’t dry out. Let it rise until the volume has doubled (that takes about one hour, picture on the right).
In the meantime you can make the filling. Chop the onion, the dried tomatoes and the mushrooms into small but not too small pieces. Heat a frying pan and heat the oil/fat of your choice. Throw in the onion and sweat it for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and let them shrink until they release no more water. You might want to put a lid on the frying pan at some point, so they won’t burn. Chop the parsley and when the mushrooms are done add both parsley and dried tomatoes to the fungi, leave them on the heat a few moments while stirring. Take off the heat and leave until the dough is ready.
Now it gets to getting the filling inside your bread. Flatten the dough with your hands and role it out to a rectangle about let’s say 40 cm x 30 cm. That’s if you want a long thin role, if you prefer a different size, feel free to use any rectangle shape you like. Brush the dough with water, that’ll help the filling sticking to the dough, and spread the filling all over but leave a 5 cm strip free. Role the dough up so that you role towards the free bit. Push the endings of the role downwards and place the role on a baking sheet with the closing bit facing the baking sheet. Put the cloth over it and let it rest for another 30-40 minutes.
Place a oven-safe dish filled with water in the oven and preheat the oven to 250 °C / 480 °F. Push the bread into the oven and bake for ten minutes, then down-regulate the temperature to 210 °C / 410 °F and bake for about another half an hour. Take the bread out and leave to cool (knock on the bottom part to tell the bread is done: if it sounds hollow, it’s perfect!).
And then, cut a slice, and enjoy.
It’s nice with a herb-infused butter or margarine but also on its own.