Using Dried Sourdough

On a recent visit to my local Polish shop I came across packets of dried sour dough.

I had never seen these before and bought a couple to try them out.

There was a recipe printed on the back of the packet and this is what I used.

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  • I have noticed many Dr. Oetker products in Poland and in England.
  • I thought the company name was made up but have found this is not so.
  • Doctor August Oetker was a German chemist and was one of the people who invented baking powder.
  • He started a company in 1891 and the first product sold was Bakin, which was a measured amount of baking powder to be added to 500g of plain flour when making a cake. 
  • His family still run what is now a multi-national company.

Ingredients

  • 150g rye flour
  • 350g strong flour
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet of dried sourdough
  • 1 tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 400ml of lukewarm water (approx)
  • *
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons of seeds eg – sesame, linseed, caraway
  • *
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame or caraway seed
  • 1 teaspoon of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of water

Method

  • In a large bowl mix the rye flour, strong flour, sugar, dried sour dough and the yeast.
  • Slowly add the water to get a soft dough that you can knead.
  • Knead dough for 10 minutes, set a timer.
  • Cover the dough – a shower cap is good – and leave in a warm place to rise.
  • This could be for an hour or more.
  • *
  • Line a long Continental style loaf tin – approx 10 by 30cm.
  • Use a single sheet and push the paper into the corners.
  • *
  • Add the oil and seeds to the risen dough and mix well in.
  • Knead to a smooth dough for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Push the dough into the tin and smooth flat.
  • Brush the top with water, seeds and flour.
  • Cut slashes with a knife in the top.
  • Cover and leave for an hour or more to rise.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 – 220°C.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Lower the temperature to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

 

Flour in Poland

  • If you go into a Polish shop you will often find a huge assortment of flours:
  • Mąka żytniarye flour
  • Mąka orkiszowaspelt flour
  • Mąka gryczanabuckwheat flour
  • Mąka ziemniaczna or mąka kartoflana or skrobiapotato flour
  • Mąka pszennawheat flour
  • Mąka kukurydziana – cornmeal – maize flour
  • Mąka razowa  – wholemeal flour
  • Mąka Grahama – wholewheat flour
  • Pelne ziarno – whole grain

Rye Flour – Wholemeal Wheat Flour – Wheat Flour

Some of my recipes baked with different grains

Wheat Flour

  • There is no self raising flour in Poland – Polish cooks add baking powder, which is often sold in little sachets, to flour as a rising agent.
  • *
  • Polish food regulations require the use of a numerical system expressed as typ.
  • Typ is expressed as grams of ash per 100 kg of flour.
  • Typ is calculated as the amount of ash that remains after the complete burning of the dry mass in a sample of the product at a specified temperature.
  • For example – typ 500 means that in every 100 kg of flour there is around 500g of ash.
  • The higher the typ number the higher the gluten content of the wheat.

Popular Wheat Flours

  • Mąka tortowa – this is a fine cake flour – typ 450 – excellent for buns, cakes and tort (gateaux or layer cake).
  • Mąka krupczatka – this is a coarse ground flour – typ 450- 500 – excellent for shortcrust type pastry and crumbles.
  • Mąka poznańska – typ 500 – excellent for noodles,  pierogi and a sauce thickener.
  • Mąka wrocławska –  typ 500 – excellent for pancakes and yeast cakes.
  • Mąka luksusowa –  typ 550 – excellent for yeast cakes  – similar to American all-purpose flour and English plain flour.
  • Mąka uniwersalnatyp 480 – all-purpose wheat flour

In the past in Poland to be called chlebbread had to contain rye, either on its own  or mixed with wheat or other flours.

White bread rolls – bułeczki – would be made with mąka luksusowa –  typ 550.

Nowadays you can find the kind of flour best for English style wheat bread – a strong flour – Mąka chlebowa  – typ 750 – but I have not used any of these yet.

Some of my recipes baked with various wheat flours

I have found that using the specified flour really does make all the difference.

Poolish Rye Bread

I recently posted about a wheat bread I made using the Poolish method.

As this was such success I thought I would try out a Poolish recipe this time using rye flour.

There are lots of steps and it takes most of the day, so it is best made when you are at home with other things to do in between.

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

Ingredients – Poolish

  • 250g rye flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 15g fresh yeast (7g dried)
  • 300ml  lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Poolish

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 minutes.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave at room temperature to rise for about 4 hours.

Ingredients – Dough

  • Poolish
  • 200g rye flour
  • 100g strong flour
  • 125ml lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • *
  • Milk to brush loaves
  • Extra caraway seeds for sprinkling on loaves

Method – Dough

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Mix the flours and the salt.
  • Add the flour and salt to the Poolish  and mix.
  • You will have a soft and heavy, sticky dough.
  • Leave uncovered to rest for 5 minutes.
  • *
  • Add a little water if it feels too stiff.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • *
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Knock back the dough.
  • Roll into a ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead a couple of times.
  • Divide into two.
  • Shape each piece into a ball.
  • Cover loosely with a dry tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
  • Knead and fold and shape each ball into an oval.
  • Place the two pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • *
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf.
  • Brush lightly with milk or water.
  • Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 10 minutes.
  • Reduce to GM6 2O0°C  and continue baking for 25 minutes
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Poolish Bread

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

The origin of the term Poolish is that it is named after a method used by Polish bakers around 1840 when it was brought to France.

However – Poolish is an old English version of Polish and this term seems to be most used in France where polonais is the word for Polish – strange!

Fermentation is carried out at room temperature for some time – long enough for the Poolish to bubble up and increase its volume. This can take anywhere from 3 to 24 hours.

Using  Poolish is said to give a light texture to the dough, develop a sweetness of flavour and also give a good colour in the crust.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

The original amounts made two very big loaves so I the second time I made this,  I cut it down, to make two small loaves – these are the instructions below.

Ingredients – Day One

  • 25g wholemeal flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 10g fresh yeast (5g dried)
  • 175ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Day One

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 -10 minutes.
  • Mix the two flours together in a bowl.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave a room temperature for 20 – 24 hours.

Ingredients – Day Two

  • Poolish from day one
  • 125ml water
  • 250g strong flour (maybe a little more)
  • ½ tablespoon of salt

Method – Day Two

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Add 125g of the flour and mix it in by hand.
  • Add the salt.
  • Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Add more flour if necessary.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rise till double in size – around 3 hours.
  • When it looks nearly ready – line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper.
  • Knock back the dough with your knuckles to deflate it.
  • Cut the dough into two pieces.
  • Leave them to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Knead each piece for 1 minute.
  • Shape each piece and put it on the baking sheet.
  • Dust them lightly with some flour.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf (oops I forget the 2nd time!).
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Rye Bread 2

Recently I found my local Polish shop sold fresh yeast in small blocks, so I have been trying out lots of yeast buns and bread recipes.

This is one for Polish Rye Bread based on a recipe in the following book, which is easy to make and the bread is super.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 225g rye flour
  • 225g strong flour
  • 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 20g of fresh yeast (or 10g of dried)
  • 140ml of lukewarm milk
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 140ml of lukewarm water

Method

  • In a jug mix the milk, yeast and honey.
  • In a large bowl mix the flour, caraway seeds and salt.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the well.
  • Add the water and slowly mix the flour and liquid together until a dough forms.
  • Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes (set a timer!).
  • Place the dough into a bowl and cover (a shower cap is good for this).
  • Leave until this has doubled in size (around 3 hours if warm).
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knock back.
  • Shape into an oval loaf.
  • Grease a baking tray.
  • Place the loaf onto the baking tray.
  • Dust with some rye flour.
  • Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size (around 90 minutes if warm).
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7  – 220°C
  • *
  • Use a sharp knife to make 2 long cuts in the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool before cutting.

 

Pierniczki

Piernik is Polish honey spice cake – pierniczki are little honey spice cakes

My Polish friend in Leeds was in Poland in November and bought some new bombki *(Christmas Tree ornaments).  These have wycinanki – Polish paper-cut designs(folk art popular since the mid 1800s) as their inspiration.

*Bombki – Glass baubles – in the past these were often blown eggs decorated with glitter. There are also many straw decorations – angels or stars.

Glass baubles originated in Germany in the 19th century  but they were soon being made in Poland with their large glass blowing industry.  Many are made in small family run workshops, some now specialise in individual and unusual designs.

She has included these and some angels in decorating a window in a chapel in Lancashire.

 

 

She also sent me a recipe for pierniczki – made with wheat and rye flour.

I tried them out – yummy – easy to make & cut out!

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 100g runny honey
  • 300g plain flour
  • 100g rye flour
  • 130g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed spice (or 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, cloves & cardamon)
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 large eggs – beaten
  • Icing made with water or lemon juice to decorate

Method

  • Put the butter and honey into a small saucepan and heat gently to melt.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Add the beaten eggs and the butter & honey mixture.
  • Mix together to make a soft dough.
  • The dough will be slightly sticky – do not add extra flour.
  •  Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.
  • Line baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
  • Divide the dough into four.
  • Use rye flour to flour the pastry board.
  • Roll out the dough to around 4mm thickness (no less).
  • Use cutters to cut out shapes.
  • Place them on the baking sheets with a little room between.
  • Bake for 9 -11 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a baking rack.
  • *
  • These piernicki should be soft.
  • They are only semi-sweet.
  • You can have decorating them with icing – I just did a bit of drizzling.

 

 

Mixed Grains Bread

I have been concentrating on a variety of rye breads and had gone to my local Polish shop to buy some more rye flour when I saw some mąka orkiszkowa which is spelt flour.

Spelt –  Triticum spelta – is an older type of wheat known to have been used from around 5,000BC

Modern wheat is Triticum sativum.

Ingredients

250g spelt flour

250g strong wheat flour

150g oat flakes

50g sesame seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

20ml of sunflower oil

250ml milk

150ml water

1 tablespoon of fresh yeast

1 teaspoon of sugar

Method

Mix the milk and water and heat them slightly to hand heat.

Add the sugar and the yeast and wait for the yeast to froth up.

Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture.

Use a large wooden spoon to mix everything together and then use your hand to bring the dough into a soft ball, kneading it lightly for around 3 minutes.

 

 

Leave to rise for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Grease a long Continental loaf tin (or a 2lb loaf tin).

Lightly press the dough into the tin.

Leave to rise – I found this took around 5 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C.

Bake for 35-40 minutes , checking after 25 minutes and cover with foil or greaseproof paper if it has browned too quickly on the top.

The base of the loaf will sound hollow  when it is cooked – put back for a few more minutes if not.

 

Once cool, I wrap the bread in a cloth.

 

 

I have found that the sliced bread, packed in a plastic box with a lid freezes very well.

Soda Breads with Rye

These are two variations of a classic wheat flour soda bread recipe.

I think the slow rise breads you get with sourdough or bakers’ yeast are better but they take time to make.

These are a quick bake if you want some bread for lunch or supper.

I use a yoghurt & whey mix as I nearly always have these in when I make yoghurt cheese, but you can adapt by using a milk & water mix or buttermilk if you have it instead of the whey.

I add caraway as I love the taste but you can experiment with other flavours using fresh or dried chopped herbs.

Version 1

Ingredients

150g rye flour

250g plain flour

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

150ml yoghurt

200ml whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it all together.

 

 

 

 

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star on the surface.

Bake for 5mins then turn the heat down to GM 6 – 200°C and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

Version 2

Ingredients

100g rye flour

250g wheat flour

50g rolled oats

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

150ml yoghurt

200ml whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it all together.

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star on the surface.

Bake for 5mins then turn the heat down to GM 6 – 200°C and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

 

Note

Soda bread does tend to go stale quickly but is is still delicious toasted and served with butter.

 

 

Tea plates are Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

 

Chleb – Bread

Today is the third anniversary of my blog – I started posting on 4 July 2015 and this will be my 155th post!

I am really enjoying the research, the cooking, the photography  and the writing and have many more recipes to share with you all.

Chleb – Bread

A wedding tradition in Poland is to greet the bride and groom on their arrival at the reception with bread & salt.

The bread is seen as a gift from God and is a wish that they never go hungry.

The salt is a seen as a gift from the earth and is a wish that they overcome the bitterness of life.

Rye

To be called bread in Poland the loaves or rolls must contain some rye.

Wheat loaves or rolls are called bułki or bułeczki but this is also the name  given to some cakes and buns – hence there is often some confusion!

Żyto is the Polish for rye.

Rye   – Secale cereale  is a grain and is used for bread and for making some of the best vodkas.

It grew  wild in Turkey and  since the Middle Ages it has been cultivate widely in    Central and Eastern Europe.

Rye grows well  in poor soil and in cold and harsh conditions.

Nowadays rye is grown primarily in Eastern, Central and Northern Europe and the top three rye producing countries are Germany,  Russia & Poland.

Poland consumes the most rye per person at 32.4 kg/capita (2009) followed by Nordic and Baltic countries. (From an article in Wikipedia).

Sour dough

This method of bread making uses the natural yeasts that are found on the grain and in the atmosphere.

I had never tried using a sour dough method before.  I have now tried it out twice –  even as a former science student  – it felt like MAGIC! – the results were wonderful!

This recipe is adapted from one in found in my American book – Polish Heritage Cookery by Robert & Maria Syrybel.

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It takes around 3 days to make 2 loaves.

I suppose I could halve the recipe but I am quite happy to cut and freeze any surplus and the bread keeps for several days and can always be toasted.

Whey

This recipe uses whey which I often have if I have made any twarog – curd cheese.

If I do not have any whey I make a mixture of around 2 parts yoghurt to 1 part water instead.

Method

Day 1

At around 5 pm mix 150g of  rye flour with  250ml of hand hot water in a bowl.

Cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours.

Day 2

Again at around 5 pm,  mix 150g of  rye flour with  250ml of hand hot water and the mixture from the night before in a bowl and leave overnight or around 12 hours.

 

Day 3

In the morning

Ingredients

350g rye flour

350g (strong) plain flour

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of caraway seeds

450 – 500ml  of whey  or a mixture of 2 parts yoghurt & 1 part water

Plus the starter mix from the days before

Method

Combine all the ingredients together.

Aim for a “wet” mix – it is harder to handle but gives the best results.

Knead for around 5 minutes – longer if you can!

 

Shape the dough – cut  it in half and make 2 oval-shaped loaves and place them on greased baking trays or you can put them into tins – I used  a round – loose bottomed tin – 20cm in diameter in my second bake.

Leave to rise  for around 5 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Place some water in a roasting tray at the bottom of the oven.

 

They take around 50 minutes to bake – I swap the two trays around after about 20 minutes.

 

Delicious with just butter – Well worth the wait!

 

Piernik – Honey Spice Cake – Using Rye & Wheat Flour

Piernik is a cake which has been known in Poland since the 12th century.

The very first recipes used just honey, wheat or rye flour and spices (see notes in previous piernik post for spices)

I have tried a recipe which did just use honey, rye flour and spices – I did not like the result at all, so will not be including that one!

I also tried one which used wheat and potato flour which also did not turn out well.

I then went on to make the recipe below which also uses wheat flour, egg yolks and icing sugar.

I tried this out twice as the first time it did not rise very much, so I doubled the amount of bicarbonate of soda and was pleased with the result.

Piernik with rye & wheat flour

Ingredients

110g rye flour

160g plain flour

160g runny honey

2 egg yolks

100g icing sugar

1 teaspoon of piernik spices (cinnamon : cloves : cardamom – in equal parts)

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons of cold water.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3 – 160°C

Line the tin with aluminium foil, grease the foil and then coat with dried breadcrumbs.

Or

Grease & line  a 2 lb loaf tin or use a paper liner

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a large bowl mix together the rye flour, plain flour and the spices.

In a small saucepan heat the honey to boiling point & turn it off the heat & allow to cool slightly.

Pour the hot honey over the flour and mix well.

 

 

Beat the yolks with the icing sugar until  they are pale and fluffy.

Add this to the flour and honey mixture.

 

Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water and mix this in.

Put the mixture into the prepared tin & smooth the top.

Brush the top with cold water.

 

 

Bake for around 40 minutes in the long tin & 1 hour  in the loaf tin. Check earlier and cover with greaseproof paper to stop burning if necessary.

 

This piernik is not very sweet and could be split in half and sandwiched back together with powidła  – Polish plum spread (see notes in previous piernik post) and covered in a chocolate coating made from melted butter & dark chocolate.

I just had it sliced and spread with powidła (Polish plum spread) or sour cherry or raspberry jam.

Served on La prune by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.