Saturday, 26 November 2011

Waldkorn Bread

This bread is mainly eaten in Holland and Germany. It originates from the Schwarz Wald (Black Forest) in Germany and contains loads of fibres and seeds. In Europe you can buy Waldkorn Bread-mix that's ready made, however it is really difficult to find out how to make it from scratch. It's original recipe is a well kept secret, however I believe I cracked the code!

This bread turned out to be one of our favourites and is on the daily menu in our house hold. The good thing about this bread is that because of the many fibres and seeds, you only need a couple of slices to fill you up and it'll keep you going for hours. To make it really posh, I sometimes make bread rolls for a Sunday brunch by forming the dough into triangles.

This bread is quite heavy because of all the seeds and grains, therefore it needs time to rise. Don't speed things up with this recipe otherwise you'll end up with a low and dense bread that feels very heavy on your stomach.

I will now unveil the magic secret ingredients of the original Waldkorn to the rest of the world for everybody to enjoy this delicious earthy bread.

- 100g High Grade (strong) flour
- 250g Wholemeal flour
- 150g Rye Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 150g mixed grains (oats, linseed, soy seed, broken corn kernels, barley, wheat, kibbled rye, white sesame seeds, you name it!) I buy the mixed grains at a local shop, which makes life much easier...
-  10g ground Barley (optional)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 450g water, lukewarm
- 25g fresh yeast

For garnish:
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp linseed
- 2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
Combine all three ingredients in a small bowl or cup.

* If using a bread starter made from white (strong) flour, add 300 grams of starter and 3/4 tsp fresh yeast. Use 400 grams of water instead of 450 grams, otherwise your dough will become very wet.

* When you don't have the option of using fresh yeast, go for the (instant) dried yeast. Take about 100 ml of the 450 grams of water and pour this into a small bowl or big long drinking glass. Add 1 tsp of caster sugar and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle one sachet (7-8 grams) of the dried yeast into the water and stir for several seconds. Cover with clingfilm and let the mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes or until it will become frothy. That means that a big layer of foam will form on the surface. If nothing has happened after 10 minutes, that means that either the temperature of the water is too warm (yeast doesn't like that. You might have killed it...) or the dried yeast is too old and has become inactive.

In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. In another big bowl, add the water with the yeast and stir to combine. (If using a bread starter, add the starter and 3/4 tsp fresh yeast to the water and mix until combined. When using dried yeast, pour the frothy mixture in with the rest of the water.) Add the mixed grains, sunflower seeds and barley (if using) to the water-yeast mixture, stir. Next, add the flours to the liquid and dive in with one hand! (Keep the other one clean, just in case the phone rings...)
Squeeze the mixture through your fingers until all the liquid is combined with the dry ingredients. Scrape the dough from your fingers with the back of a spoon and cover the bowl with a tea towel for 10 minutes.

To make the kneading a bit easier, pour one teaspoon of olive- or canola oil on your work top and spread it out with one hand. This prevents the dough from sticking. Scrape the dough out of the bowl on the bench top and wet the palms of your hands with a bit more oil. Knead the dough for about 15-20 seconds and form a round ball. Don't knead too long as the dough will start sucking up the oil. This gives an unpleasant texture of the bread and is much harder to knead. Clean and dry your bowl and rub the inside with a bit more oil. By doing this, the dough won't stick as much to the sides. Put the ball of dough back in to the bowl and cover. Again, leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Make sure your work-surface is still oily enough (if not, add a bit more oil) and repeat the kneading for another 15-20 seconds. Shape into a round ball again and place back into the bowl. Cover and leave the dough to rest for one hour at room temperature (21º-25ºC). It can happen, especially in winter time that your house is a bit colder than 21ºC. If you place the bowl close to your hot water cylinder you'll create the same effect. Another good place is your windowsill when there is a bit of sun shine. Make sure there is no draught as the yeast won't like you for that.

After one hour you can shape it in every form you like. For our daily bread, I shape it in a big rectangle by folding the ends underneath the bread and place it in a loaf pan. If making rolls, divide the dough in 12 evenly sized pieces and shape them in squares. (This is the original shape, but nobody will tell you off for making round rolls!) I like to shape the pieces into triangles with one end sticking out a bit longer then the base, just like when slicing a piece of cake. You can also use a mini loaf tin to impress guests of course.

At this stage you can sprinkle some of the garnish on top of the breads, however I feel that it is best to do it just before they go into the oven. It's up to you.

Now it's time for the final rise. Cover the bread, or rolls with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in height. If you feel the dough might stick to the tea towel, just sprinkle some plain flour over the top and cover.

Preheat the oven to 200º-210ºC. Carefully remove the tea towel and brush a bit of lukewarm water over the top of the bread. (If using cold water you scare the warm bread and it might collapse or shrink.) Sprinkle the garnish mix over the top and place the bread in the middle of the oven.

Bake a whole bread for about 45 minutes, or until the looks are to your liking (a nice dark crust, but not too brown). I always tap on top of the bread. If it sounds solid then you know it's ready. You can also insert a skewer to make sure the inside is cooked. If it comes out clean, then you know it's right.
If making rolls, doesn't matter what shape, bake for about 25 minutes at the same heat.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes before taking out of the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely. This bread freezes really well. We slice a whole bread in half and freeze the halves. When needed we take one piece out of the freezer the night before and let it slowly defrost in the fridge. The following morning you have fresh bread that still tastes good.
Another tip when planning to make this (or another bread) for daily consumption is to bake 4-6 breads at once. It takes almost a whole day, but will free you up on other days. You can also use a bread machine, however I'm not really familiar with the settings and everything. But a machine will save you time as well.


  1. how big a loaf does this make? 1 or 2 pounds? :) I am gonna try it in the bread maker I got for my birthday!