Greg's bread ideas
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This page is an old version of my bread page, as of 15 July 2010. It's mainly for historical interest; I've changed a number of things since then, significantly using much more rye, and sourdough instead of yeast.

After moving to Dereel in July 2007, we discovered that a number of foodstuffs we had taken for granted were no longer available. Even the bread wasn't as good as we could get in Mount Barker. So I started investigating the possibility of baking it myself.

Fairly early on I bought a bread machine, but was quite disappointed. It wasn't the most expensive, but the issues with bread machines seem to be typical. In particular, it annoyed me greatly that the kneading paddles remain in the bread during baking and leave holes in the bottom. So we returned the machine, and I now bake by hand, which isn't really much more difficult, though I suspect that there's more margin for difference from one loaf to the next.


The bread I'm aiming for is the typical German Graubrot, a mix of wheat and rye. This is important, because one of the things I had to learn was that rye needs much less water than wheat, and my initial attempts, based on instructions supplied with the flour, were far too soggy. I also put in caraway seeds, which seem to completely disappear; 30 g is just enough to make its presence felt.

I also put sesame seeds on top of the bread, though I've never seen anybody do that on this style of bread. I'm happy with the results, though. I've also taken the advice of many cookbooks to put a pan of water in the oven and spray the loaf with a fine water spray every 15 minutes.


quantity       ingredient       step
900 g       Bread mix ("Manhattan light rye")       1
100 g       Rye meal       1
20 g       Bread improver       1
20 g       Dried “instant” yeast       1
490 ml       Water       1
20 g       caraway seeds       1
10 g       sesame seeds       2


  1. Heat water to 40° (about 1 minute in our microwave oven). Knead for 10 minutes, leave to rise in oven pre-heated to 45°.

  2. Knead for 10 minutes, form into loaf and spray with water, then put sesame seeds on top. Leave in oven to rise until nearly the right size. Remove from oven, heat oven to 220° as quickly as possible.

  3. When the oven is hot, switch to bottom heat if necessary, and place a pan of water below the rack for the bread.

  4. Spray the loaf with water, insert into oven and drop to 200°.

  5. After 15 minutes, drop temperature to 180°. Spray again, and again after 30 and 45 minutes. Bake for a total of 55 minutes.

  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the side on a wire rack.

Other bread links

From Sue Blake. I haven't looked at these yet.

8 October 2009

From my diary:

Baking isn't completely simple either. I've more or less settled on my recipe:

  1. Mix 50 g starter, 100 g flour and about 100 ml water. Currently I'm using “Manhattan light rye” mix, which is about 87% wheat, mainly because I have a lot of it. At the moment I'm doing all the preparations at room temperature (round 20°).

  2. When the fermentation stops, add 200 g flour and about 180 ml water. The time seems to depend on the strain. I cultivated two separate starters from the dried starter that Sue Blake sent me in April. They're “interleaved”: each time I use the other strain, so I can compare them. They seem to behave differently; this one (which I'm calling “strain 2” for no particular reason) is slower, and it seems to create a more acid dough.

  3. When the fermentation stops, I do it again: 200 g flour and about 180 ml water. I suppose I should use less in the second step and more in the third, and I'll probably try that, but this is what I'm doing at the moment.

  4. Finally I save 50 g of the dough as the next-but-one starter and add 800 g of pure rye flour and about 400 ml of water, 15 g of salt and 15 g of caraway seed. My bread pan is most definitely not non-stick, so I cut baking paper to size (on our rolls, it's a length of 32.5 cm for the bottom, with 5.5 cm cut off one end, and two lengths of 12x15 cm for the ends of the pan). I lay out the dough in the pan, smooth down and leave it relatively wet, and leave to rise, which takes between 3 and 5 hours depending on the strain.

  5. Then I heat the oven to about 250°, spray the bread with water put it in the oven. Today I tried leaving it on the grill and spraying frequently to get an effect similar to the Hannover Gersterbrot. It took a lot of water, and somehow didn't have the same effect. That's not really surprising; the real Gersterbrot is flamed before it goes into the oven.

  6. After 15 minutes I drop the heat to 180° and bake for a total of 90 minutes, turning the pan through 90° and spaying with water every 15 minutes. The turning is to compensate for any irregularities in the oven temperature distribution.

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