Friday, October 3, 2014
Two Boxes Full of Flour
Back in Tübingen, Germany, where I had lived for 20 years before moving to California, we had a special kind of bread stick called "Seele". Now, Seele is the soul - but also this super delicious breadstick that is popular all over Southwest Germany. If you have ever been to Stuttgart or the Black Forest you might have seen and even eaten them.
So far I haven't found a single German bakery here that bakes Seelen ("Seelen" is the plural of "Seele"). I decided to bake my own - I found several recipes on German websites, I tried them all, I combined them, made my own recipe... but the result so far has never been like the ones in Germany. I finally became aware that the flour is different (duh - that took me a long time).
After a lot of research, reading blogs by German bakers who live in the States and joining an artisan bakers group on Facebook I learned of the "00" type of Italian flour that is mainly used for making pizza dough. But it's also excellent for making German rolls and - I thought - Seelen.
Amazon had this flour in stock, and a box full of Italian flour arrived at my doorstep. So I went to work, mixing and kneading and baking. Despite the fact that I used a bit too much of fresh yeast - my Seelen looked like they were heavily pregnant - the result was the best I had so far. Still not perfect - next time I will try a mix of 00 flour and regular bread flour. I know that one day I will have the Seele that reminds me the most of the real German version.
The crumb looks good here with quite some air in the dough which I like.
It was still slightly harder than a real Seele. Quite important is the amount of salt crystals and caraway seeds on top of the breadstick.
I also came across the King Arthur Flour website where I bought some specialty flours that I don't necessarily find in our stores here. Pumpernickel flour is one of them, and the European style flour the other - perfect for baking Ciabatta which is next on the list. I might also try it for the Seelen.
These are my Friday Finds for this week!