German Style Gray Bread (Graubrot)

Four parts of plain wheat flour and one part of dark rye flour; the result is a pleasantly savory and flavorful loaf of bread, called Graubrot (gray bread) or Mischbrot (mixed bread) in German. To further enhance the aroma and improve the wholesomeness and digestibility, I like to add some bread spices to the dough. Bread spices usually contain caraway, black cumin, fennel, anise, and rosemary in various proportions. You can easily stir a batch yourself and add a tablespoon of it to your bread recipe. However, this step is optional.

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German Style Gray Bread (Graubrot)

Recipe by Anna BembryCourse: Breakfast, LunchCuisine: GermanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

1

loaf
Prep time

15

minutes
Baking time

45

minutes
Resting and Proofing

25

hours

A flavorful, full-bodied loaf of bread, perfect for savory sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 465 g / 16.4 oz plain wheat flour

  • 115 g / 4.1 oz dark rye flour

  • 390 g / 13.8 oz water, cold

  • 12 g / 0.4 oz salt

  • a hazelnut-sized ball of fresh baker’s yeast

  • 15 g / 0.5 oz vinegar

  • optional: 1 tablespoon of bread spices (in various proportions: rosemary, fennel, anise, black cumin, and caraway).

  • Equipment
  • a large cast-iron pot, Römertopf, or another heat-resistant dish with a lid

Method

  • Prepare the dough: In a large bowl combine both flours. From the measured out water set aside about 3 – 4 tablespoons and dissolve the yeast in it. Add salt to the rest of the water, dissolve the salt in it and add to the flour mixture. Finally, add the dissolved yeast and vinegar. Using your hand combine all ingredients by kneading the dough until it is smooth and slightly sticky. Knead and form the dough into a tight ball then cover the bowl airtight with a lid or aluminum foil (the surface of the dough is not supposed to dry out). Set the dough aside to rest and mature for 24 hours at room temperature (at least 22°C / 72°F).
  • Stretch and fold the dough: During those 24 hours stretch and fold your dough every 8 hours (first time after 8 hours of resting and again after 16 hours of resting). To stretch and fold your dough first dip your hand in water. It will prevent the dough from sticking to your hand. Then push your hand deep under the dough, pull the dough to you and fold it over the rest of the dough. Repeat the process from all sides until the whole dough is folded and lies round and tight in the bowl. After each stretching and folding cover the bowl again and set aside.
  • Form a loaf: Transfer the dough onto a flour-dusted workspace, and – depending on what kind of a pot you are using – form a round or oblong loaf and sprinkle it generously with flour. Place the dough, seam side down, in a proofing basket or a bowl lined with a dish towel and sprinkled with flour. Cover the basket with a clean dish towel and set it aside for 1 hour to proof.
  • Preheat the oven, with the pot in it, to 250°C / 485°F.
  • Take the hot pot out of the oven, let the dough fall out of the basket directly into the pot, cover the pot with the lid, and put it back in the oven. Reduce the heat to 240°C / 465°F and bake for 30 minutes, then take off the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove pot from the oven, take out the bread, and let it cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

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