Saturday, March 24, 2012

German Sourdough Bread

Last year, pretty much in the beginning of my vegan blogging, I've posted a few pics of my beloved bread, but I don't think I actually shared any recipes yet!? *oops*

Without further ado I'll get right to it, though bear with me, it'll be a somewhat lengthy recipe post! [It sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, once you've got the hang of it, it's so easy! I do this once a week!]

First step is to make a sourdough starter (which seems to differ a bit from the American way of making sourdough starters from what I've seen on the net!)

Here's how:

Sourdough Starter

Day 1. Mix 100 g rye flour* with 100 g/ml lukewarm water, cover with Saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24h.

Day 2. Add another 100 g rye flour and 100 g/ml lukewarm water to the mix from day 1, cover again and let sit for another 24h.

Day 3.  Add another 100 g rye flour and 100 g/ml lukewarm water, mix well, cover and let sit for 24h again.

Day 4. Your sourdough starter is now ready to be used! =)
* You can use any type of flour, rye, whole wheat, white.. I prefer using rye but have also used whole wheat. You'll learn to 'play around' a bit with the mix ratio. ;)
Since the starter will be quite a lot and you won't need so much, fill the rest in a glass jar, add water to cover the sourdough 'glob', close the lid (not too tightly though!) and put it in the fridge! It'll last there for months -as long as you keep 'feeding' it! [I'll get to that later!]

Now that you have your ready sourdough starter, we can move on to the recipe for one of my favorite breads! ;-)

~* German Rye Sourdough Bread *~

Day 1.
*50 g of the sourdough starter
*280 g rye flour
*220 g/ml lukewarm water
Mix everything together, cover with Saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15-24 h.

Now you have 550 g sourdough which you'll only need 500 g of; the remaining 50 g go into the jar with the sourdough starter! [So you see, you keep adding more and more of the sourdough, each time you make a bread and have 'leftover'!]

Day 2. Ready to make your bread!

*500 g sourdough
*420 rye flour [can also be whole wheat!]
*300 g bread flour [or whole wheat]
*420-450 g/ml lukewarm water
*1-2 tsp salt
*bread spices [in Germany you can buy it in stores or simply make it yourself -recipe follows**]
*sunflower seeds (optional). -Must be soaked over night otherwise they suck the moisture out of the bread and you end up having a super dry bread! I usually soak the seeds in the 450 ml water I'm going to use as it automatically gives off more flavor!

Mix everything together, knead well, form a ball and let sit covered in a bowl for 30 minutes.
Afterwards mix the dough again (if still too sticky, add a bit more flour!), form a loaf and put in a bread form or 'rising basket [German 'Gaerkoerbchen'].
Now the loaf needs to sit and rise between 2-3 hours!
The younger the sourdough starter, the longer it takes to rise!
You might even need to add a little bit of yeast to the first 1-2 batches of bread until the sourdough starter matured enough with his own yeast!
 Now that you've waited 2-3 hours, pre-heat your oven to 240 C (~450 F).
When the oven is ready at the desired temperature, put the bread in its form in the oven [or if you've used a 'rising basket', flip it gently on a baking tray and remove the basket!] and immediately spray the top with a spray bottle filled with water! 
[This method works best for me instead of putting a heat proof dish in the oven, filled with watenr, which is then supposed to give off steam!]

Close the oven after dousing the bread with a few spritzes of water and turn the temperature down to 200 C (~400 F).

Now the bread has to bake for a good full hour in which you'll do the water-spritzing routine at least 3x, so the top gets nice and crispy!

After 60 minutes (give or take, it depends on your oven and how brown the top of your bread is by then!) the bread is ready to be taken out! :)
[If you tap at the bottom -once it's out of the form!- and it sounds kinda hollow, the bread is done!]

Some say to immediately 'spray' the top of the bread with cold water to make the crust even crispier, but I mostly forget and still find the bread to be very crispy! ;)

Voila, there you go, your own authentic German bread! ^_^

These particular loaves were made from whole wheat sourdough starter and then with the ratio of 50/50 rye and bread flour.

One word of 'caution':
This bread not going to be fluffy as you might know any kind of bread made in your bread machine! It's really heavy and dense!

**Bread spice 
(This is what gives it the typical German bread flavor IMO!)

*2 Tbsp Fennel seeds
*2 Tbsp Caraway seeds
*2 Tbsp Anise seeds (1 only use 1 Tbsp)
*1 Tbsp Coriander seed

Mix the above in a coffee grinder (or similar item that grinds very fine) and put in a container tightly closed/sealed.
(I keep mine in the fridge!)

For a bread recipe of 500 g flour, one uses ~2 Tbsp of that bread spice mix! 
For white flour only a small pinch -if desired.
It's all a matter of taste in the end! ;)


Guten Appetit! =) 


  1. Thanks for posting this!! I know it must have been a bit time consuming. My hubby has been dying for some rye bread but I can't find a good recipe. One day I won't be so scared to try this! It looks intimidating ;) ... but so good!!

  2. You're very welcome, Christine! =)
    Honestly, I know, it looks intimidating with starting the sourdough starter and all...(I felt the same way before I finally took the 'plunge'!) but once you've done it, you'll see it's actually quite easy! ;)