Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gluten Free Vollkornbrot





When people think of Germany, bread is usually one of the first things they picture in their heads. For most people, it’s salty pretzels, crusty Kaiser rolls, chewy Mischbrot, or tangy rye Bauernbrot that spring to mind.

Few people think of Vollkornbrot. It’s the very dense, strongly-flavored, seed-studded, brown almost black bread that crumbles easily. For the health-conscious Germans, it’s actually an Abendbrot staple. It’s usually paired with savory foods like tangy cheeses such as Swiss cheese or Bergkäse and meats like wurst or cold cuts. It’s less commonly eaten with jam or honey.

I’ve been missing Germany a lot lately, and was craving some Vollkornbrot. It’s not readily available here in the US, and forget about finding a gluten free version! This isn’t the darkest and seediest (hah) of the Vollkornbrot out there, but it’s tangy and grainy enough to count. And it makes the perfect Abendbrot spread with mustard and topped with swiss cheese and ham and served with sliced cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes.


Gluten Free Vollkornbrot

500g whole grain flour mix (recipe below)
50 g buckwheat flour
2 tsp. salt
150g (about 1.5 cups) mixed groats, seeds, nuts, and/or flakes (try oats, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, sesame seeds, rice, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, or very finely chopped nuts). Flaxseeds, raw millet, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are most traditional.
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (I assume chia would work fine here as well)

2 packets (14g) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar (I used brown sugar because I like the malty flavor it gives a dark bread)
30 ml warm water                                                   

1 tbs. vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil (or other oil or butter of choice)
600 ml warm Wasser

Oil for greasing the pan
Cornmeal for dusting the pan

Butter or oil for brushing
Extra sunflower seeds for the top

Make the 500g of flour mix by whisking the following together thoroughly:
50g potato starch, 50g tapioca starch, 50g cornstarch, 105g buckwheat flour, 140g brown rice flour, 55g sorghum flour, 40g oat flour, 9.6g xanthan gum. Make sure to whisk very thoroughly. You want an even mixture of starches, protein, and xanthan gum for best results.

Combine the flour mix, buckwheat flour, salt, seed/groat/flake mix, and the ground flaxseed. Whisk thoroughly together.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the yeast. Crumble the sugar on top, and then cover with 30 ml of warm water. (Warm tap water is fine –it should be warm but comfortable to touch. Too hot and it will kill the yeast). Leave the yeast for 10 minutes or so to get frothy, bubbly, and developed.

When the yeast is ready, pour the rest of the warm water, the vinegar, and the olive oil over the whole mixture. Mix thoroughly with a beater or mixer for 5 minutes or until you have a cohesive, but soft dough. Gluten free breads will always be wetter than normal breads, so don’t worry if your mix looks too wet to knead. It should be!

While it’s mixing, prepare your pan. Lightly grease a bread pan with olive oil and toss cornmeal to coat. Scrape your prepared dough into the pan and let rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes. (I like to set my oven to “warm” and pop the dough in there with the door open. It works perfectly for me every time).

Once the bread is 150% of its original size, crank your oven up to 450 and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 400 and bake for another 50 minutes. 10 minutes before the end, brush the top of the loaf with oil or butter and sprinkle with more seeds.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. Enjoy whichever way you prefer your Brot. My favorites are:

-German mustard, a thin slice of swiss cheese, and a slice of ham.
-Butter and salami.
-Flavored cream cheese –I like smoked salmon sprinkled with dill and chives.
-Mashed avocado and sliced egg with a sprinkle of garlic salt.
-A thick spread of butter and a little jam or honey.

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