Thursday, June 19, 2014

CHALLENGE FOR FELLOW BAKERS - A BREAD FOR THE KNIGHT WITH THE IRON HAND


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Fellow bakers, many of you rose to my last year's challenge, re-creating a Vollkornbrot for Schlosshotel Cecilienhof in Potsdam ("When Taste Meets Tradition"). 

I fully trust you to come up with another loaf with a historical connection - a bread worthy of Götz von Berlichingen, the Knight With the Iron Hand. 

This is what it is all about:

My husband and I are romantic souls. We like to visit fortresses and castles, and whenever we travel in an area where those are plentiful, we check for hotels with turrets and moats, commanding views and a rich history.

On our recent trip to Germany we stayed two nights at Schlosshotel Götzenburg in Jagsthausen. The medieval Castle Jagsthausen is the birth place of Götz von Berlichingen.

Götz von Berlichingen (1480 - 1562)

This notorious knight spent his life as mercenary, engaged in the never ending feuds between Emperor, nobility, church, wealthy cities and farmers, losing his arm, being incarcerated, outlawed and re-installed in the process (amazingly, he nevertheless lived to a ripe old age!)

He would have been probably long forgotten, if not immortalized by Goethe in his drama "Götz von Berlichingen with the Iron Hand", who turned the belligerent knight into a pillar of integrity against a deceitful and decadent society - in other words: a German Robin Hood.

Goethe turned Götz into a German hero

When besieged by the Imperial Army and asked by its captain to surrender, Goethe had Götz say the famous (and, in the last part, often quoted) words of defiance: 

"Me, surrender! At mercy! Whom do you speak with? Am I a robber! Tell your captain that for His Imperial Majesty, I have, as always, due respect. But he, tell him that, he can lick me in the arse!"
 
My husband quotes Götz von Berlichingen

Schlosshotel Götzenburg doesn't only offer an lovingly restored medieval environment, beautiful views, and fine dining - its courtyard also serves as stage for the annual theater festival Burgfestspiele Jagsthausen.

One of its highlights, is, of course, the drama about the outspoken knight with the iron hand.

Scene from this year's theater production "Götz von Berlichingen"

The (comparatively moderate) price for our hotel room included breakfast (thankfully, something you still can expect in most German hotels!)

The ambiance - dark paneled dining hall, solemn ancestors looking down from the walls, body armor and tapestry - couldn't have been more appropriate. The dinner the night before had been fabulous, so we had high expectations for the breakfast.

Everything was fine - except for one thing that really matters for this bread loving baker: the rustic looking loaf on the table was sadly lacking - in crustiness as well as in taste!

Breads at the breakfast buffet - a mass produced disappointment

When I asked about it, I learned that it was not baked in a local bakery, but supplied by a whole grocer: hence its blandness and rubbery crust. Not at all worthy of the legacy of a fierce old knight! (He might have fed it to his dogs.)

Grumbling at the breakfast table, I pondered what to do. Whine about it to the manager? Or smite this nice hotel with a nasty comment at TripAdvisor? I had a better idea.

I WOULD GIFT THEM WITH A BREAD!

So, please join me, dear friends, in creating a special loaf, worthy of the noble Götz and his beautiful castle (which is, by the way, still owned by the Berlichingen family!)

Even though this loaf is meant for a medieval castle hotel - please, refrain from submitting an "Authentic Bread" à la Don Sadowsky. The tough old fighter might have had his share of those, while embattled, but he surely would not have served them to guests of his castle.

I won't give you a deadline, most of you are hard working people with little spare time, and if you want to participate, you will bake your bread as soon as you can, anyway.

With Sugarprincess Yushka's help I even managed to create a banner to download for you.

BannerFans.com


Every contribution will be posted and linked to your blog (if you have one). You can submit your link as a comment or email me at: drkarinanderson@gmail.com

I will present our results to Schlosshotel Götzenburg, and, hopefully, when any of us visits there next time (it is well worth it!) you'll find a bread that (like Cecilienhof Vollkornbrot) marries taste with tradition.

Schlosshotel Götzenburg


Update 7/29/14:  So far I have 16 amazing breads from Fresh Loafers and other baking friends...... more are promised....  the challenge is still on!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

REALLY (?) AUTHENTIC BREAD BY DON SADOWSKY


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After reading Don Sadowsky's guest post "The Hole Truth" on Barbara's wonderful blog
 "Bread & Companatico", I knew I had met a kindred spirit. 

Beginning with his nouvel interpretation of Munch's famous painting - how lame seemed my 12th grade essay on the same subject in comparison! - he mused on the holeyness of bread, going back to the caveman's gritty gruel and ending his discourse with St. Chad's holey grail at Tartine.

Eager to further this hole discussion I invited Don to share more of his eye-opening insights with a guest post on my humble blog. He graciously accepted, so I'm happy to present to you:

AUTHENTIC BREAD - YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!

I have a huge amount of respect for people like Daniel Leader. He treks all the way from the U.S. to Europe and dodges rolling boulders, booby traps and angry natives to find THE guy who makes the best kringenschmaltzenblinkenbrot in the world.

Daniel Leader's French Walnut Bread - not authentic?

Then he spends a decade cleaning out the stables so that the master will teach him the secrets to put in a cookbook for the likes of you and me. I’ve made some of his breads, and they’re fantastic. Authentic breads, people say.

You know another group I have great respect for? Bakers who take difficult ingredients that have been used since the dawn of time to make bricks, and manage to turn them into gorgeous, airy and perfectly shaped loaves better than anything I could make with the finest wheat flour and Peter Reinhart looking over my shoulder making helpful suggestions.

They’ll use 100% einkorn or barley to create a boule that’s better supported than a suspension bridge (and tastier too!).

100% Einkorn - solution to our crumbling infrastructure?

Well crafted, impressive breads? Certainly. Authentic bread like what folks ate in the old days? Not so much. Do you really think that most people dined upon lovingly baked loaves made with golden wheat from tall fronds waving in a gentle breeze and harvested on a sunny afternoon by a smiling Tuscan ragazza in colorful garb?

Snort. Real breads were made with rancid, weevily flour, badly milled and mixed with whatever powdery substance the baker had on hand, because flour was expensive and he had to sell the bread at the price that the local authorities dictated.

Only God and the baker knew what's in the bread

Chalk, sawdust, plaster, alum, clay, ammonium and hemp were just some of the unnatural additives used to bulk up both the breads and the profits of the baker. Yes, some people could pay black market prices for white unadulterated bread, but the lumpenproletariat majority had little choice in the matter.

Add the quest for authenticity to high wire experimentation with early progenitors of gluten-free ingredients and what do you get? Probably a disaster, but if a disaster was good enough for our ancestors, it’s good enough for us. So herewith,

DON'S AUTHENTIC BREAD

Ingredient             Weight*        Baker’s Percentage**
Plaster of Paris        100g                25%
Chalk***                   100g                25%
Clay                         100g                25%
Sawdust                   100g                25%
Yeast                            8g                  2%
Salt                               8g                  2%
Water****                   280g                70%

* Despite extensive searching (at least 45 seconds) I was unable to find authoritative accounts of just how much of each ersatz ingredient was typically used, because surprisingly bakers kept such information close to their flour-stained vests. Who knew? So I picked round numbers.

** Calculation of baker’s percentage caused me some consternation, since none of the dry ingredients are really flour. But since they were substituted for flour, I figured I’d count them as such.  Baker’s math junkies feel free to weigh in.

*** Pro tip: Pound the pieces of chalk into powder before mixing, unless your intent is to use the bread to write on a blackboard.

**** I did some googling and could not find any online sources of water guaranteed to harbor cholera. I hope you will excuse this egregious anachronism.

PROCEDURE
Step 1. Purchase the ingredients at your local baker’s supply store:

Your local baker's supply store has everything you need for authentic bread

Step 2. Mix. Toss everything together in that hideous bowl you got at your wedding which you’ve been meaning to throw out all these years but never did (you’ll want to after this). Stir. DO NOT AUTOLYSE – plaster sets.

Our flours, clockwise from top left: clay*****, sawdust, plaster, chalk

***** I can hear the whining already: “That’s not authentic clay, that’s Playdoh, you fool, and it’s made from wheat. You’re cheating!” Listen, I don’t know what kind of clay those bakers used – if they were willing to substitute clay for flour maybe their clay wasn’t real clay. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Anyway if you can make artisan bread out of actual clay and the rest of this trash, then I’d be happy to let you write this post instead of me.

Step 3. Knead. Don’t let your precious Electrolux Assistant get anywhere near this pile of solid waste. Stretch and fold with your bare hands. Don’t be afraid to get them dirty, but do wash before and afterwards. A clean baker is a healthy baker (especially with ingredients like these).

Step 4. Ferment. Let rise between 5 minutes and 2 weeks, it really doesn’t matter.

Our dough, before and after fermentation. Looks like fine wine, doesn’t it?

Step 5. Shape. I think mud pies would be appropriate here.

Step 6. Proof. Don’t bother.

Step 7. Bake. To prevent hazardous fumes I decided to bake at 70° F/21° C. This temperature provides a number of significant advantages: no warm up needed, no chance of burning either my hands or the bread, and no cool down period necessary. In fact I really don’t understand why all breads aren’t baked this way.

To achieve the crumb structure I was looking for, I finished the loaf with my specialty crumb enhancement tool:

Crumb enhancement tool - also works for Swiss cheese

And voilà, rough authentic bread just like the townspeople used to eat!

Rough authentic bread (after crumb enhancement)

************* Do not try this at home. Sickness or miserable flavor may result.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

EINKORN WALNUT YOGURT BREAD - ANCIENT GRAINS FOREVER!


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Lutz (Plötzblog) announced the first Plötziade, and everybody came - to "build a bread" with 4 ingredients.

This challenge was so much fun that participation in the second Plötziade was an absolute must.


In support of an initiative to preserve ancient or heirloom grains, Lutz called his blog event: "Saat-Gut-Brot" (heirloom grain bread.) Worldwide 75% of all grains and vegetables have been lost - and in the EU even 90% - due to modern farming practices, and global agriculture corporations.

Ancient grain Einkorn
Monsanto & Co.'s sterile frankenfood GMO hybrids are responsible that farmers can no longer raise their own seeds, but have to buy it new every year.

Breeding heirloom varieties takes many years and receives little political support - contrary to highly subsidized Big Agrar Business. No wonder, the number of food plants is shrinking dramatically.

The second Plötziade calls for baking a bread with ancient (or ecologically bred new) grains. Pseudo-grains like buckwheat, quinoa or amaranth don't count - therefore I couldn't use our Maine albino buckwheat.

Having already baked with Einkorn (English Digestive Biscuits, Einkorn Hazelnut Levain), I like the nutty taste of this ancient wheat.

Instead of honey, often of dubious origin and adulterated here in the US, I took organic agave nectar for a hint of sweetness. With my Hamburg trip only days away I wanted to use up my yogurt, and I love breads with nuts. And for a delicate seasoning I added a little anise and fennel.

With help of BreadStorm I came up with this formula:

Stretching and folding the dough, the 100% einkorn was fairly easy to work with - even though the ancient wheat has less gluten. I loved the tasty bread with its tender, dark crumb and hearty, nutty taste, and will definitely bake it again!

Einkorn: grains, flour and meal


EINKORN-WALNUT-YOGURT-BREAD (PLÖTZIADE 2)
(1 Boule)

  38 g/1.3 oz einkorn meal (coarse)
374 g/13.2 oz einkorn flour
168 g/5.9 oz yogurt (plain or 2%)
136 g/4.8 oz water
  10 g/0.4 oz agave nectar or honey
    8 g/0.3 oz salt
    4 g/0.14 oz instant yeast (or 6 g/0.2 oz active dry yeast)
   1 g/1/4 tsp. fennel and/or anise seed
 50 g/1.8 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped

DAY 1
Mix all ingredients at lowest speed (or by hand) for 1-2 minutes, until all flour is hydrated. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead at medium-low speed (or by hand) for 6 minutes (dough should still be somewhat sticky).

Stretch and pat dough first into a square...
...then fold like a business letter...


...in three parts.
Repeat the folding from right...
...and left into a package.

Transfer dough to an oiled work surface. With oiled hands, stretch and pat into a square. Fold from top and bottom to the middle in 3 parts, like a business letter, then from both sides. Gather package into a ball and place, seam side down, into an oiled bowl.

Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat stretching and folding 3 more times at 10-minute intervals. After the last fold, refrigerate (well covered) overnight.

The dough has risen in the fridge overnight

DAY 2
Remove dough from the fridge 2 hours before using.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, shape into a boule and place, seam side up, in a well floured rising basket. Proof for 45-60 minutes, or until it has grown 1 1/2 times its original volume  (finger poke test).

The bread has grown 1 1/2 times its original volume

Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC (including steam pan).

Place loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet (or bake directly on a baking stone). Score as desired.

Score before baking

Bake at 350ºF/175ºC (with steam). After 20 minutes rotate loaf 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and continue baking for another 25 minutes, until dark golden brown (internal temperature about 200ºF/93ºC).

Let cool on wire rack.

A very tasty bread!

Submitted to      Yeast Spotting
and Panissimo:  Bread & Companatico                                       
                           Sono io, Sandra
                                       
 






 



Saturday, May 3, 2014

ENGLISH DIGESTIVE BISCUITS WITH EINKORN


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Our ABC May project didn't sound too enticing to me - English Digestive Biscuits. My digestion is not something that usually comes to mind when I bake cookies.... (further comments on this subject were deleted by my in-home censor: "You Germans with your scatological humor - gross!")

But when I looked at King Arthur's recipe, I learned that these biscuits were historic cookies, first advertized in 1851 as "brown meal digestive biscuits" in London. They were even patented, claiming to be "nourishing food for people of weak digestion"!
 
Einkorn - an ancient wheat
Historic breads and pastries (or those with a connection to history) always interest me, therefore I decided to bake the biscuits - even though none of us was suffering from weak digestion (nor, for that matter, from undernourishment!)

As several reviewers recommended, I reduced the sugar (from 85 to 50 grams), exchanged the confectioners' sugar for light brown sugar, and added a bit of salt. And, since I like its nutty taste, I used Einkorn flour instead of whole wheat.

The food processor made mixing the dough a matter of a few minutes. Rolling it out was easy, too, and the dough quite forgiving, even with re-rolling the scraps several times the consistency didn't suffer.

My cookie-loving husband snatched a biscuit, soon as they came out of the oven, claiming it was a "malfatti" (misshapen), and, therefore, had to be eliminated. I insisted on a more civilized approach to consumption - the cookies were Victorian, after all! - so we had them with our afternoon tea.

The digestive biscuits were really nice, delicately crumbly, with a buttery, slightly nutty taste. The censor decreed they were MUCH better than store-bought ones ("cardboard-y"), and I felt like the perfect Victorian housewife!

Deliciously nourishing and good for you!

ENGLISH DIGESTIVE BISCUITS WITH EINKORN (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
(about 30 biscuits)

  57 g/2 oz all-purpose flour
170 g/6 oz Einkorn flour (or whole wheat)
    5 g/1 tsp. baking powder
113 g/4 oz unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  50 g/1.75 oz light brown sugar
 1/8 tsp. salt
 1/4 cup/60 ml cold milk

Preheat oven to 350°F/175ºC. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (or Silpat mat).

The food processor makes mixing the dough a cinch

Place flour, sugar and baking powder in bowl of food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and milk, and mix until dough comes together and is smooth.

Plastic foil prevents the dough from sticking to the roller pin

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface or silicone mat. Roll out to a bit more than 1/8"/4mm thick, and cut into desired shape. (I used a round cookie cutter with scalloped edge, 2 1/4" - 58 mm).

I used a round cookie cutter with scalloped edge

Place biscuits on prepared cookie sheets and prick evenly with a fork (they should stay flat.)

Pricking the biscuits with a fork keeps them flat

Bake until pale gold, between 15 and 20 minutes, rotating sheets 180 degrees after half the baking time for even browning (mine took 20 minutes, convection mode).

Victorian Lady - she would have loved the biscuits!

If you would like to join the Avid Bakers and take part in our monthly challenge, click here. New members are always welcome!


Monday, April 21, 2014

OSTER-PINZE - AUSTRIAN EASTER BREAD WITH A BLESSING

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Looking for a seasonal specialty for my customers at A&B Naturals, I came upon an Italian Christmas bread, Pinza, that, after crossing the border to Austria, switched holidays - and turned into Easter bread, Pinze.

After a solemn blessing in the church, this lovely Styrian Easter bread (often adorned by a red egg, and cut three times, to symbolize the Holy Trinity) is served with the meat on Easter Sunday.

There are several versions for Pinze, and it is either seasoned with vanilla or anise. The anise can be steeped in wine or cooked in milk to extract its flavor. 

Steiermark - Styria, home of the Easter Pinze
All recipes include lots of eggs and egg yolks, so keep the Lipitor at hand, but I'm sure it is good for you, since it comes with a blessing.

I tried a Pinze version with anise, soaked in wine. Though the bread turned out quite nice, I couldn't detect much anise aroma.

Therefore I decided on Petra's Easter Pinza (from her Chili und Ciabatta blog), substituting some of the white flour with whole wheat.

The bread, made in 3 steps with 2 pre-ferments, was wonderful. The only problem: its time consuming schedule would not work for my little bakery, unless I pulled off an all-nighter. So I turned to my favorite method: stretch & fold plus overnight stay in the fridge.

Eggy goodness
That way I could work the dough all at once, and let the folding and cold fermentation do the rest.

No pre-doughs needed, very little hands-on time, and no standing around, waiting for pre-ferments and dough to rise.

In other words, the baker could hug her pillow, while the yeasties did their job!

My overnight version was just as good as the original, more involved one!

The Easter Pinze is a soft bread with a wonderful flavor. Though slightly sweet, it can be served with Easter Ham, like in Austria. Or, as we did, enjoyed simply with some good butter, or jam.


Gorgeous Easter Pinzes

OSTER-PINZE - AUSTRIAN EASTER BREAD  (adapted from Petra Holzapfel's Chili und Ciabatta)
(3 small loaves)

Dough
463 g/16.3 oz all-purpose flour
52 g/1.8 oz whole wheat flour
8 g/0.3 oz instant yeast (for yeast conversion see here)
150 g/5.3 oz milk
70 g/2.5 oz sugar
50 g/1.8 oz egg yolks (ca. 3)*
75 g/2.6 oz eggs (ca. 1 1/2)*
75 g/2.6 oz butter
5 g/0.2 oz salt
4 g/1 tsp. vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
15 g/1 tbsp. lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

*if your eggs or yolks weigh a little bit less than the recipe amount, add some of the remaining egg whites to reach the weight.

Egg wash
1 egg
1 tbsp. milk
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch salt

DAY 1
Heat butter with the milk, until melted. Remove from heat and stir in first egg yolks and eggs, then the yeast.

Add egg milk to other dough ingredients in mixer bowl, and mix for 1-2 minutes at low speed, until all flour is hydrated. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then continue kneading at medium-low speed for 6 minutes. Dough will stick to bottom of bowl, but pull (mostly) back from the sides (don't worry, and don't add more flour!)

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface and, with oiled hands, pull it into a square. Fold dough from top and bottom like a business letter in thirds. Repeat folding from both sides. Gather dough into a ball, and place, seam side down, into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Repeat stretching and folding 3 more times, at 10 minute intervals. After the last fold, place dough, well covered, in the refrigerator overnight. (I usually portion it at this point, and put it in individual containers.)

Nicely risen overnight - you can see the gas bubbles on the front side

DAY 2
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using. It should have almost doubled.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide it into 3 equal parts (about 325 g each.)

Brush breads with egg wash

Shape pieces into rounds, and place them, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush breads with egg wash, spray with baking spray, cover and let rise for about 45-60 minutes, or until doubled and almost fully proofed (finger poke test).

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375°F/180°C. (No steam).

Re-apply egg wash and cut the Pinze pattern

Re-apply egg wash. Using scissors, make 3 deep cuts into the loaves, to create the typical Pinze pattern.

Bake breads for 12 minutes, rotate them 180 degrees, cover them loosely with tin foil, then continue baking for another 13-18 minutes, or until they register 190ºF/93ºC.

Let breads cool on a rack.

TIP: Pinze keep fresh for 2-3 days, wrapped in plastic foil. You can also freeze them, wrapped in foil and placed in a freezer bag.

Submitted to      Yeast Spotting
and Panissimo:  Bread & Companatico                                       
                           Sono io, Sandra
                                       
 






 



Sunday, April 13, 2014

PAIN À LA BIÈRE - ALSATIAN BEER BREAD

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Alsatia is famous for its happy marriage between French and German cuisine, as shown in Choucroute, Zwiebelkuchen and Alsatian Apple Torte. It produces top Rieslings, but brews lots of beer, too.

It's also home of one of my favorite authors: Tomi Ungerer, known for his quirky, illustrated books for children and adults, whose heroes are no mild mannered goodie-two-shoes, but usually just the opposite - like the stubborn little tom cat in: "No Kiss for Mother".

And even in his wonderful illustrations for a book of German folk songs ("Das grosse Liederbuch") he always manages to smuggle one little nasty detail in his otherwise idyllic scenes and landscapes.

Like me, Tomi Ungerer loves cats and good food, and is no tee-totaller. And maybe Mother Paw even might have got a kiss for this bread (topped with a juicy mouse.)

Jacquy Pfeiffer, also from Alsatia, and one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs of America, published this recipe in The Art of French Pastry, a high-calorie cookbook that makes you gain weight by just looking at it -  and sigh wistfully.

The potatoes add moisture to the loaf, and the beer crust, together with the "old" dough, gives it a unique taste - and an attractive tiger pattern.

Since the breads are quite small, I recommend baking a whole batch of them.


PAIN À LA BIÈRE - BEER BREAD   (adapted from Jacquy Pfeiffer*)
(4 small loaves)

Pâte fermentée
200 g bread flour
   4 g/1/2 tsp salt
0.8 g/1/4 tsp instant yeast
126 g/1/2 cup water

Final dough
 60 g instant potato flakes (or 130 g mashed, unsalted, cooked potatoes)
200 g water (to soak potato flakes, if using)
all pâte fermentée
250 g bread flour
170 g rye flour (whole or medium)
  10 g salt
  4 g/1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
240 g water

BEER CRUNCH
50 g rye flour
90 g beer
2 g salt
1 g/1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
rye flour, for dusting

*For this recipe I combined two slightly different formulas, one (not in great detail) from a magazine for professional bakers "Modern Baking", the other from Pfeiffer's book. A Fresh Loaf member, who had participated in one of Pfeiffer's baking class, gave me the description of how the dough consistency should be.

DAY 1:
Stir together all ingredients for pâte fermentée and mix on low speed for 1 minute, adjusting flour or water, as needed, so that dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff.

Knead on medium speed for 4 minutes, dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky, and register at 77-81ºF/25-27ºC.

Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl, rolling it around to coat with oil. Cover and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour, or until it swells to about 1 1/2 times its original size.

Knead lightly to degas, cover and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).

Pâte fermentée means "old dough"

DAY 2 :
Remove pâte fermentée from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

In a small bowl, mix potato flakes with water. Set aside.

Combine all dough ingredients (except potatoes) in mixer bowl. Knead on low speed for 3 minutes, add potatoes and knead for another 3-4 minutes (dough should be a bit sticky, if necessary, adjust by adding teaspoons of water). Set speed to medium-low and continue kneading for another for 2-3 minutes (dough should be still somewhat sticky).

Time for the dough to rest

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, roll around to coat, cover, and let rise for about 1 1/2 hour, or until almost doubled. It should be very soft and still a bit sticky.

Pre-shaped into taut balls

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and divide into 4 pieces (àbout 315 g). Cup each dough piece with your hands, and, while pressing down on it, turn it around clockwise, until a taut ball is shaped.

Not exactly an Alsatian beer - but good!

Cover pre-shaped dough pieces and let them rest for 20 minutes. In the meantime, combine ingredients for beer crunch in a small bowl.

First fold top side to the middle...

....then 2 sides to make a triangle

Fold each dough round from 3 sides to the middle to make a triangle. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Generously spread beer paste over loaves, also from the sides, then dust with rye flour. (Don't cover, or the foil will stick.)

Brush triangles with a thick layer of beer paste

Proof breads at room temperature for about 1 1/4 hours, or until they have almost doubled in size. The crust should show distinct cracks.

Preheat oven to 445ºF/230ºC, including baking stone and steam pan. 

Bake for 10 minutes, steaming with 1 cup boiling water, then rotate breads 180 degrees and remove steam pan. Continue baking for about 15 minutes more, until breads are dark golden brown, sound hollow when thumbed on the bottom, and register at least 200ºF.

Let cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before cutting.

The beer bread freezes well. Wrap in foil and place in ZipLock bag in the freezer. Let thaw, then crisp for about 1 minute in preheated oven at 445ºF.

My first trial at the Beer Bread - no tiger crust, yet
Completely re-written and updated (first posted 12/2011)

Submitted to "Yeast Spotting
and Panissimo:  Bread & Companatico                                       
                           Sono io, Sandra