My little German kitchen no.6: Ode to Brot- German Brotzeit

Odetobrot copy by Pablo Neruda

Bread, you rise from flour,
water and fire.
Dense or light, flattened or round,
you duplicate the mother’s
rounded womb,
and earth’s twice-yearly
swelling.
How simple you are, bread,
and how profound!
….

An ode to Brot…or maybe more to ‘Brotzeit’. Most Germans aren’t really big on a cooked warm dinner. In contrast to the British, who eat a cold sandwich at lunch time and a warm dinner, the Germans would rather eat a nice warm meal at lunch time and have ‘Brotzeit’ (bread time) in the evening.

It’s a low effort meal, platters of cold or warm meats, cheeses, butter, boiled eggs, sour gherkins and radishes are being prepared and nicely arranged, so the whole family and friends can share.

Brotzeit gloryAt our past pop-ups we always had a Brotzeit option, which was surprisingly one of the most popular meals with you guys…we had warm pork roast with walnut bread and horseradish, leberkäs (a warm meat loaf) on bread topped with a fried egg, butter and chives and of course our homemade roll-mops.

Germany is famous for its different kinds of bread, bretzls, rolls (Semmeln), and many more…always crusty and full of flavour. And of course it is the star of any Brotzeit! Nice bread, nice Brotzeit…so as so many of you asked about our bread at the pop-ups we thought we should share one of our biggest secrets with you:

IAN’S WALNUT BREAD

 It took a few trial runs to get it as crusty and moist as it finally went onto your plates….so don’t give up at first! Our lovely Ian made quite a few attempts and came up with his very own recipe.

You need:

200 g strong white flour
200 g multi grain flour
225 ml dark ale or stout
60 ml walnut oil
75 g chopped walnuts
2 tsp golden castor sugar
2 tsp sal
1 sachet quick yeast

And then:

Mix the dry ingredients, leaving out the walnuts for now.
Gently heat the ale or stout (do not boil) and slowly mix into the flour, along with the oil. Knead the dough for ten minutes or so until it is smooth and put the dough in a large bowl to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. When it has risen, turn out and briefly knead again, this time adding the nuts. Shape into a loaf and set aside to rise again. When the dough has doubled in size again, bake for 35 mins at 180 C or until crusty and brown.

Sounds simple… and sometimes simple things like warm bread and bit of butter are actually the best.

GUTEN APPETIT!

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