Wednesday, June 6, 2012

German Vollkornbrot (Seeded Bread)

Many years ago, before I was diagnosed with celiac, I spent two years living in Germany. And in a way, I'm grateful for the fact that I wasn't yet diagnosed. Sure, I felt awful most of the time and struggled with all kinds of symptoms that come with undiagnosed gluten intolerance. But on the upside, if I had to be dealing with all of that, at least I was surrounded by some of the best glutenful food I've ever tasted. The softest pretzels, the most delicious and refreshing (and largest) wheat beers, Bavarian potato salad I could probably eat a vat of, and bread. Oh, the bread.

The bread in Germany is of a very different strand than it is here in the U.S. We tend to enjoy softer, more pliable breads here; breads that will soak up your peanut butter and jelly, and cushion your club sandwich. But not German bread. German bread is unapologetically solid. It packs a punch and is often the wholest of whole grain and has a dense texture studded with lots of seeds and nuts.

I love it. 

So when this month's Gluten-free Ratio Rally challenge for bread rolled around, I knew just what I wanted to make: a replica of my favorite German bread, Vollkornbrot ("fully seeded bread"). I relied mainly on dark whole grain flours like teff and buckwheat, added apple cider vinegar for a sourdough-like flavor, and dumped a full cup of seeds in there - pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. And you don't have to stop there. Go wild. Add whatever you want. I'm pretty confident it will turn out to be delicious. 

A big thanks to Karen of Cooking Gluten Free for hosting this month's Rally!

Ruhlman's ratio for bread is 5 parts flour to 3 parts water, but I ended up needing to add a bit more water to mine, so that my ratio ended up more like 5 parts flour to 3.5 parts water. I made this in a bread machine, but you could certainly make it the traditional way and just let it rise for a good 30 - 45 minutes in a warm place before smoothing it into a bread pan and baking in a conventional oven.

This won't rise very much, but that's ok. That's the German way, at least for this particular style of bread. It's meant to be very dense and cut into thin slices. My German roommates and I used to sit around the breakfast table for hours, chatting away the late morning and cutting slice after slice. We would eat it with all kinds of wonderful jams, Nutella, slices of cheese with butter.... After this loaf came out of the breadmaker, I felt so nostalgic that I pulled out some of my homemade German Forest Berry jam to enjoy spread across a toasted piece.

I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Here's the recipe, and be sure to check below for the links to the rest of the fantastic bread creations that my fellow Ratio Rally friends came up with!

Breadmaker German Vollkornbrot (Seeded Bread)

100 g teff flour
75 g buckwheat flour
50 g sorghum flour
25 g potato starch
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. salt
1.5 tsp. xanthan gum
175 g warm water
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. rapid rise yeast 
1 cup mixed seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.)

Bread machine directions:
Combine the wet ingredients and the yeast into the bread machine pan. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except for the mixed seeds (which you will add later in the bread machine cycle). Pour them over the wet ingredients and set the bread machine to the gluten-free cycle. After the first rise (during the second knead) or whenever your bread machine tells you to do it, add the cup of mixed seeds and stir to mix well. Make sure to spread the dough out evenly in the pan. Let bake for the rest of the bread machine cycle. Remove from pan when done and let cool on a wire rack.

For conventional ovens:
If you are making this in a conventional oven, no problem! If you go this route, you'll want to proof the yeast before you add it. To do this, stir together about 1/2 cup of the water, the tbsp. sugar, and the 3 tbsp. yeast and let sit in a warm place until it doubles. Combine the dry ingredients, including all of the seeds and nuts, and then add all of the wet ingredients at once and mix well. Place into a greased bread pan, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 - 60 minutes, or until it's grown substantially in size (it may not double, but it should get marginally bigger). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to about 350 F. When the bread has risen, stick it into the oven and bake for 25 - 40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom and the edges are golden brown.

More Recipes
Check out these other wonderful options for some gluten-free breads to try from my fellow Ratio Rally friends!

Adina | Gluten Free Travelette  Seedy Sandwich Bread
Angela | Angela’s Kitchen  Our Family’s Basic Gluten Free Dairy Free Bread
~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) | Honey From Flinty Rocks  Chia Millet Bread
Brooke | B & the boy!  Buckwheat-Oat Bread
Charissa | Zest Bakery  Cherry Pecan Pot Bread, Gluten Free  
Claire | This Gluten-Free Life  German Vollkornbrot (Seeded Bread)
Erin | The Sensitive Epicure English Sandwich Bread (gluten-free & egg-free)   
Jenn | Jenn Cuisine  Gluten Free Boule
Jonathan | The Canary Files Gluten-Free, Vegan Mediterranean Soda Bread
Karen | Cooking Gluten Free!  Gluten Free Sandwich Bread/Gluten Free Naan
Meaghan | The Wicked Good Vegan  Vegan Gluten-Free Bread
Meg | Gluten-Free Boulangerie  Ciabatta (gluten-free, egg-free/vegan)
Monika | Chew on This!  amaranth skillet flatbreads, amaranth mini pita rounds
Morri | Meals with Morri No Knead Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Flatbread (yeast free/grain free) 
Pete & Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem  Gluten-Free Challah
Rachel / The Crispy Cook  Gluten Free Chickpea Sandwich Bread
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies  Gluten Free White Bread
Tara | A Baking Life  Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread & Boule


Rachel said...

I liked learning about German breads in your post. This looks like really good peasant food, my favorite!

Claire Berman said...

Yes, it is good peasant food for sure! That's a good way to describe it. Simple and hearty :)

~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) said...

This looks so good! Yum!

Karen said...

My son lived with a family in Germany last summer and his "mom" made gluten free bread for him that he was quite happy with--I will have to show him your post to see if it is similar--in any case this will be a fun summertime thing for us to do together. Especially as we prepare for our German exchange student who will be visiting again soon.

Morri said...

Ah, the rolling hills of Germany and the amazing breads that come from their bakeries...

I have come to really appreciate thinly sliced dense breads, and this looks like one I could consume wholeheartedly with some honey on top.

It looks so delish. Great job.

Jenn said...

It's beautiful!! I love the tip about adding a little vinegar to get a sourdough like taste, I will have to remember that!

charissa (zest bakery) said...

Fascinating! I love using vinegar in baked goods. It's kind of a sourdough (taste) shortcut!

Jonathan said...

I love that opening photo! Tantalizing and mouth-watering. Wonderful post!

Claire Berman said...

Karen: Oh, I'd be interested to see the recipe your son's German "mom" made to try it out myself - does he know how she made it? I hope he likes this version, in any case. I've been plowing through it :)

Morri: Me too! I loved the bread in Germany so much. I'm sure this would be wonderful with honey on top.

Jenn and Charissa: I was so happy to discover this shortcut myself! I'll surely be using it often in the future.

Jonathan: Thank you! I am so glad you stopped by to read/see it :)

windycityvegan said...

What a gorgeous bread - can't wait to make something along these lines as soon as my braces come off.

And you are so right about German breads being "unapologetically solid." I had a German grandmother and know exactly what you meant!

Claire Berman said...

Windycityvegan: Yes!! I'm so glad you know what I'm talking about. German bread is just amazing, and it knows it. :)

Tara Barker said...

"Unapologetically solid" - what a great way to describe it. I love the mix of seeds you used in this bread, and the memories it brought back for you, of sitting around the table with friends, eating and talking. (And now I want your recipe for German Forest Berry jam!)

Anonymous said...

So is that 175 g of water or milliliters?

Claire Berman said...

Great question - it's actually both! 175 grams is the same as 175 ml, so measure it however you like. I hope you enjoy the bread!

mtom said...

Your blog is amazing dude. i love to visit it everyday. very nice layout and content “

Maheen said...

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more! best bread maker