Gerstenbrot - dark blackened sourdough bread | bitterbaker.com

Gerstenbrot – dark blackened sourdough bread

German bread is the best. Seriously. Everyone has tried a soft, german pretzel right? If not, get right on it is all I have to say. You don’t know what you’ve been missing out on.

When I lived in Germany I would get at least one a day. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. Every day I would say to myself “Yvonne, you don’t need one, not today.” And every day on my way to work I would make it past three, four, maybe even five bakeries without even looking through the window.

Gerstenbrot - dark blackened sourdough bread | bitterbaker.com
Looks pretty cool, right?

But when I walked in to the central station, where I caught the train every day, I couldn’t take it anymore. More often than not I ended up standing on the station platform with one of those freshly baked soft pretzels in my hand, feeling happy.

This bread might not be one of those that I’d be craving every day. But I would never feel guilty when eating a slice of this bread with tomatoes, black pepper and avocado on top. A dark bread is something I always like to keep in my freezer. This bread is something out of the ordinary, too, which makes it really fun to bake. If you have a flame torch it will be a piece of cake. If not, then just follow the recipe below and do what I did…

Gerstenbrot - dark blackened sourdough bread | bitterbaker.com
I usually slice these kinds of bread really thin. The crust is pretty thick so thin slices taste way better than thicker ones.

Gerstenbrot – dark blackened sourdough bread
Total time: 16-18 hours to let the pre-dough get active. Then another 3-4 hours to let the dough rise and baking the loaf. Makes 1 loaf. Recipe from Rustikale Brote aus deutschen Landen

Ingredients
Day 1

  • 40 g (1.4 oz) rye starter
  • 265 g (9.3 oz) dark rye flour
  • 265 g (9.3 oz, not fluid!) filtered water

Day 2

  • 275 g (9.7 oz) dark rye flour
  • 140 g (4.9 oz) bread flour
  • 180 g (6.3 oz, not fluid!) filtered water
  • 14 g (0.5 oz) sea salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast (+ 1 tbsp warm water)

Instructions
Mix rye starter, dark rye flour and water in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in room temperature about 16-18 hours.

Add dark rye flour, bread flour, water, sea salt and active dry yeast (activate the yeast in 1 tbsp of warm water for a few minutes before you mix it into the dough). Work the dough with a mixer for 7 minutes, by hand at least 15-20 minutes. Let the dough rest in the bowl, covered with a kitchen towel, for about 30 minutes. Knead the dough further about five minutes with the mixer (or 10 minutes by hand).

Grease a loaf pan and place the dough in it. Wet your hands with water and even out the top of the dough. Here comes the tricky part about this bread, if you have a flame torch, go right ahead and use that one! I don’t, so I turned my oven to broil and put the dough right underneath the heat for two minutes, until part of the dough was blackened.

After you have “burned” the dough, let it rise in room temperature covered with a kitchen towel for 70 minutes. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Spray some water on the bottom of the oven and bake the bread on the second to lowest rack for 15 minutes. Open the oven to let some steam out. Lower the temperature to 390°F and continue baking for 45 minutes.

Take the dough out of the loaf pan and bake another 10 minutes, this time at 355°F.

Let cool on a rack.

Gerstenbrot - dark blackened sourdough bread | bitterbaker.com
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