My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Tag: bread

Brabantse worstenbroodjes – take two

A year ago, I already wrote a lengthy article about Brabantse worstenbroodjes or dutch sausage rolls as you would call them in english. They are a regional delicacy in the area where I live, and have a unique flavor due to use of freshly ground nutmeg and a sizable amount of white pepper. You can read that older blog article with the recipe and the historical background here. So why am I re-visiting the subject of baking these Brabantse worstenbroodjes?

Brabantse worstenbroodjes

Brabantse worstenbroodjes

The biggest issue I had with then was that half of the bread rolls would inevitably tear in the oven and the meat juices would flow out, leaving a less pretty impression to the end product and causing the meat inside to dry out. So when I promised my team at work to return from holiday with a bunch of home-baked sausage rolls, I had to dive into online information about what causes this bread dough tearing in the oven.
And that resulted in a slightly altered recipe. In particular, the proofing stages for the dough are altered significantly. When following the below steps, the resulting bread rolls come out of the oven intact and with the meat nicely cooked in its own juices.

What are the basic premises for prevention of tearing the dough while baking in the oven?

  1. The dough should be supple by adding sufficient moist ingredients (water, butter): at least 60-65% of the flour content.
  2. Allow sufficient time between the creation of dough balls (which tightens the gluten framework) and flattening/rolling them out (for which the gluten should be in a relaxed state).
  3. Allow sufficient time for the second proofing stage (after the meat sausage has been rolled into the dough): at least 60 minutes. This again relaxes the gluten.
  4. Introduce steam into the oven while baking, at least for the first 5 minutes.

Keeping this in mind, the original recipe changed into this:


Make and bake 30 sausage rolls of 70 grams each (35 gr dough and 35 gr sausage).


  • 650 gr flour
  • 12 gr salt
  • 24 gr sugar
  • 185 gr water (lukewarm)
  • 185 gr milk (lukewarm)
  • 12 gr fast-action yeast (or 35 gr fresh yeast)
  • 55 gr butter (softened)


  • 1000 gr mincemeat (traditionally a mix of beef and pork but I use 100% beef)
  • 1 large egg
  • 25 gr breadcrumb
  • 25 gr spice mix

Spice mix (together will be ~ 25 gr):

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp nutmeg powder (freshly ground from the nut gives the best flavour)
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder


  • Combine the water and the milk and heat until lukewarm. Heat the butter until it is soft but not yet molten.
  • Mix the flour with the water and the milk. Don’t knead yet, combining the ingredients into a shaggy mix is sufficient. Leave the mix alone for 30 minutes to allow the flour to incorporate the moisture. This process is called autolyse.
  • While you wait for the autolyse, proceed with the meat. Mix the breadcrumb, spices and egg through the mincemeat. Divide into 30 portions of 35 grams. Roll each portion into a sausage of appr. 10 centimeters long. Coat the sausages lightly with flour by rolling them through a bit of flour you’ve spread on your work surface. This will prevent them from sticking together. Stack the sausages on a plate, cover with clingfilm and place them in your fridge to cool while you continue with the dough.
  • After the autolyse, add the remaining ingredients for the dough to the mix of flour and water/milk. Avoid direct contact between the yeast and the salt before you start mixing the ingredients: salt inhibits the yeast.
  • Knead for at least 10 minutes to achieve a supple dough.
  • Cover a baking tray with clingfilm. Divide the dough into 30 pieces of 35 grams and roll each into a tight ball. Place the balls on the baking tray and allow for some distance between them because they will increase in volume during the proofing stage. Cover with clingfilm and place them in a warm moist place for 20-30 minutes. I use my oven for that: heat the oven on its lowest setting for just 2 minutes, turn the heat off, place a shallow tray containing hot water on the oven floor, place the baking tray into the oven and close the door.
  • Take the proofed dough balls out of the oven. Spread some flour on your work area. Using a small rolling pin, flatten the pieces of dough into oval shapes with their long sides being about the same size as the sausages’ length. The bit of flour that covers the ovals will prevent them sticking together when you stack them.
  • Remove the clingfilm from the backing tray and cover it with parchment paper instead.
  • Now we can create the bread roll by combining dough and meat.
    Take an oval dough piece. Place a sausage roll on top. Fold the short ends of the oval over the ends of the sausage by stretching the dough a little. Grab one of the long sides of the oval and move it over the sausage so that it meets the other long side. Take care not to stretch the dough to much. Pinch the seam with your fingers. Take care to keep your fingers clean: the fat of the meat will prevent the seam to close properly so keep a small bowl of clean water nearby (for your fingers of course). Check this or this video for visual instructions.
  • Roll the sausage roll under your two flattened hands to make the seam disappear and seal the meat into the dough completely. Place the bread roll on the parchment paper with the seam on the bottom. This will prevent the bread to split open at the seam when you bake it.
  • Create the remainder of the bread rolls the same way. Keep some distance between the rolls on the baking tray because they will increase in volume while resting.
  • Cover the rolls with clingfilm to prevent the dough from drying out. Give the rolls a second proofing of at least 60 minutes in a warm moist place. Start the proofing in the oven like I described before. You will then have to find another place 30 minutes before you want to start baking (on top of your oven will be OK).
  • Heat your oven to 230° Celsius. Place the baking tray with the bread rolls just below the middle of the oven. Introduce some steam into the oven by spraying water into the oven or pouring some water in a metal tray on the oven floor. Optionally let the steam escape after 5 to 10 minutes of baking, by briefly opening the oven door. Caution! The steam is hot!
  • If the bread rolls are coloring too fast, you can reduce the oven temperature with 20 degrees. Total baking time is 12-15 minutes, depending on the oven and the thickness of the rolls. The meat inside must cook sufficiently long. The top of the bread rolls must be colored light-brown.
    Bigger bread rolls (70 gr dough, 70 gr meat) must bake for 20 minutes.

Let the worstenbroodjes cool for 30 minutes before eating them. They will still taste fine when completely cold but you can heat them again in the oven, at 170° Celsius for 8 minutes.

Optionally they can be frozen if you can’t eat them all at once. Heat frozen worstenbroodjes up again in an oven at 170° Celsius for 13 minutes.

Sourdough weekday adventures

 Time for another lesson in baking a tasty sourdough bread. Sourdough breads are all the breads I eat nowadays.
My son wanted me to “score” the bread in a smiley pattern but it turned out more like a Hallowe’en monster…
Anyway, this sourdough loaf was created using another rhythm than my usual “bake one sourdough bread during a weekend day” routine.
This is how I fit it into my work routine.
The 100 gr sourdough starter (100% hydration meaning equal weights of flour and water) which I used in the bread, was grown from a single tablespoon of starter. I mixed that with 50 gr flour and 50 gr water at 18:00 in the evening and let it ferment for 6 hours until midnight:
The dough for the bread (adding 250 gr whole-wheat flour, 150 gr Waldkorn mix, 50 gr all-purpose flour, 330 gr lukewarm water, 15 gr vegetable oil and 7 gr salt) was then created using this starter at midnight. What I did first was combine all ingredients except oil and salt and autolyse this mix for 25 minutes. Then I added oil and salt and hand-kneaded the dough for 10 minutes.
The kneaded dough ball was left on the kitchen counter at room temperature, covered by plastic wrap in a bowl  (I had a good night’s sleep) until 08:00 the next morning at which time it had about tripled in size.
The dough was deflated carefully, pre-shaped, bench-rested for 15 minutes and then shaped into a boule and put into a basket. The basket went into the fridge inside a sealed plastic bag.
Off to work.
I came back home at 18:00 that evening, transfered the basket from the fridge to the kitchen table (the dough had doubled in size during the day inside the fridge) and set the oven to pre-heat to 250C for an hour, with a pizza stone inside.
At 19:00 I turned the basket over and dumped the dough onto a silicone mat. I scored he bread with a smiley pattern and shoved it onto the pizza stone.
Baked during 20 minutes at 240 C with steam, then 20 minutes at 210 C without steam.
The result: impressive oven bloom, yummy bread with subtly more tones of sourness than my usual weekend breads that ‘only’ take 10 hours from start to finish.

Rye Honey Sourdough Bread

Not everybody follows the Google+ community “The art of bread”, so I will duplicate my post about a great bread I baked last week.

Last year during the christmas holiday, I started my bread baking hobby – basically everything created out of yeasted dough. In the beginning I used the regular “fast-action” yeast – commercial granulated yeast available in small sachets. But then I discovered the health benefits of “wild yeasts” and created several “sourdough starters” to experiment with those. It turns out that the breads I bake from my sourdough starters have so much more depth of flavour than the breads I bake with the fast-action commercial yeast… so that’s what we’ve been eating almost exclusively since spring season.

I felt it was time to create a rye sourdough starter this year’s christmas holiday period, to see how different the breads would be using this new starter compared to the wheat based starters I have used so far.
My first attempt to bake something with that new starter (a buckwheat and dried cherry sourdough bread) failed miserably because the dough collapsed just when I wanted to bake it (was it overproofed? Too much buckwheat?). I still baked the sticky mess in a dutch oven to keep it together somewhat… and the result was a very nicely tasting clump of very dense bread.The second attempt went a lot better:
My wife gave me a book on sourdough by the Swedish baker/writer Martin Johansson. Using his recipe for Rye and Honey sourdough, I ended up with the big loaf in the picture. I never had a sourdough grow so much in volume during its bulk fermentation and proofing stages, it was amazing! This time, the dough kept its strength and structure and gave a perfect result. The added honey creates a beautiful dark and tasty crust, and the crumb is soft, with a delicious blend of the rye and acacia honey.
I never cared much for the rye bread we can buy in the shops here in the Netherlands, but I had been adding 10% rye to my whole-wheat sourdough breads lately and that really improved the flavor of my breads. I am glad I finally tried increasing the rye percentage.Here’s the recipe I followed (slightly adapted from the book).The night before you bake, create a levain – mix the following ingredients and leave them to develop overnight (covered under plastic wrap or a towel):

  • 50 gr rye sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 150 gr water
  • 65 gr rye flour (I used stone-milled whole-grain flour)
  • 35 gr whole wheat flour

The next day (in my case, appr. 10 hours later), mix the following together and leave to autolyse for 30 minutes:

  • yesterday’s levain
  • 30 gr honey
  • 165 gr water (tepid)
  • 325 gr strong white flour (I used  200 gr wholewheat and 100 gr plain flour instead)
  • 75 gr rye flour

After the 30 minutes autolyse, mix into the dough:

  • 8 gr salt

Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes, then leave it in a covered bowl for its bulk fermentation stage. The recipe estimates this to be 3 to 5 hours, but after 3 hours my dough had expanded to more than double the original volume so at that point I decided to continue with the recipe.

Gently press the air out of the dough and fold it into a ball: stretch a bit of the dough to the side and fold it back to the center. Repeat this while rotating the mass of dough. This brings some tension into the skin of the dough ball you are forming.

Dust a round proofing basket with flour (or use any kind of bowl lined with a tea towel and sprinkle the towel generously with flour), and place the dough in the basket with the seam down (the seam-side will be facing upward in the oven, thus creating opportunity for the bread to crack open while baking). Cover the basket (or place it inside a big plastic shopping bag) to prevent draught from messing with it and leave it alone in your kitchen for a further 1.5 hours of proofing.

In the meantime, place an oven stone or pizza stone roughly in the middle of your oven (if you have one of course… the srone adds heat mass which is beneficial for common household ovens), and a metal tray on the oven floor. Pre-heat the oven to 240 C,

When the dough has proofed sufficiently (and roughly doubled in volume again), turn over the basket onto a silicone mat or a sheet of baking parchment, and shove that onto the baking stone in the oven.
Pour a cup of cold water into the metal tray on the oven floor – that will produce steam and develop a great crust.

Bake for 20 minutes on 240 C with the steam, then lower the temp to 210 C, open the oven door slightly to let the steam escape, close the door again and bake for a further 20 minutes.

The smell! The flavor! One of my best.

Waldkorn sourdough bread

Baking with sourdough has its consequences. You have to fit it into your work and life schedule – the fermentation/rising/proofing times are so much longer than when using  commercial fast-action yeast! You have to plan for a 9-hour time span from start mixing to pulling the baked bread out of the oven. Baking after-work is out of the question, so the weekends remain unless I want to get up very early or stay awake all night… not a long-term viable option.

In order to find a way that allows for work during the day, and baking sourdough bread at night, I changed this routine. I did the “bulk fermentation” (the first rise after kneading the dough into a ball) in the fridge at 4 degrees centigrade instead of at room temperature, and it turned out to be a success!


Fermentation is actually a better name for the process of rising – the yeast consumes sugars and produces alcohol and CO2. The bacteria in the sourdough not only produce lactic and acetic acids but also develop the flavours in the dough. The longer you ferment the dough, the more flavour it gets! Chances are that your bread will become somewhat more sour as well, but I found no evidence of that in my breads.

That is why fermentation in the fridge is not a bad idea at all. The yeast’s metabolic rate is of course a lot lower in the fridge compared to room temperature, therefore the dough can be left alone for much longer when it sits in your fridge. That extra resting time enables me to divide the baking process up. I kept the dough in my fridge for 22 hours (!) and then took it out to warm up to kitchen temperature for two hours.

100 gr sourdough starter (100% hydration meaning it consists of 50 gr AP flour and 50 gr water)
250 gr cold water
50 gr  AP flour
100 gr whole wheat
300 gr Waldkorn mix (a trademarked dutch multi-grain mix)
25 gr olive oil

7 gr salt

After the 8 o’clock news, I mixed the ingredients to incorporate all the moisture, and hand-kneaded it for 10 minutes (I love hand-kneading… never use a machine).
I then placed the ball of dough in an oiled bowl covered with cling film. That went into the fridge for 22 hours.
Next evening, I took it out of the fridge and left to acclimatize in the kitchen for 2 hours. Then I flattened the dough gently, and shaped it and put it in a flour-dusted proofing basket (a birthday present from my wife), and left it there (covered with cling film) for another 2 hours at room temperature.
I turned the risen dough over onto a baking tray covered with a silicone mat (ideal material for baking a bread, it does not stick), slashed the top and baked for 45 minutes (first 20 minutes at 235 degrees C with steam in the oven, then 25 minutes at 220 degrees C without steam).

The taste of the bread is great! it has complex and subtle flavours and, only the slightest hint of sourness despite the long fermentation time. The typical nutty-sweer flavour of the Waldkorn bread mix is altered by the sourdough’s own flavouring process. My son was not yet sure if he likes this better than the version I usually bake – using fast-action yeast instead of sourdough. Certainly, this sourdough bread is a lot smaller in size… which I like better than the “fluffiness” of the bread baked with commercial yeast.

It’s a win/win: the long fermentation time results in great flavour, and I can now bake sourdough at every day of the week if I want to 🙂


The finished bread, together with my two sourdough starter cultures

Recipe: foccaccia

I have enjoyed the BBC’s Great Brithsh Bake Off series a lot. My wife has been watching these episodes longer than I have – she is the real cook – but I got increasingly interested because of the sympathetic presentation by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Always amazing what these amateur bakers can come up with…way out of my league.

In the second series, which aired in 2011, Paul Hollywood set a technical challenge to the contesters: to make an Italian Focaccia bread. Ever since I went to Italy with my girl friend (now wife) and ate a real freshly baked focaccia bread, I have been spoiled by that event. I never got an appetite for the factory-baked ones you can buy in the local supermarket. I remember that the original bread tasted great because it was almost soaking with olive oil and was full of mediterranean flavours.

So I promised myself to bake a focaccia one day. However, I was discouraged by the fact that making a good focaccia dough seems to be quite difficult to make. Also, I wanted to use my hands, not a kneading robot to make the dough.

That is why I carefully watched the Brithsh Bake Off Masterclass session where Paul Hollywood showed how he makes his focaccia, and I used the recipe as outlined in his book “How to Bake“. I split the amounts in half because I wanted to end up with a single bread for a 2-3 persons side-dish.

Time required:

2.5 hours for preparation, 30 minutes for baking.


  • 250 grams of strong white flour
  • 1 sachet dried fast action yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 200ml cold water (straight from the tap)
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • coarse sea salt
  • fresh (preferred) or dried rosemary for sprinkling on top


  • Prepare a bowl for proving the dough, by oiling its inside generously. Put aside for later.
  • Use a kitchen scale to measure the flour and tip it into into a large mixing bowl. Empty the sachet of dried yeast on one side of the bowl and add the salt on the opposite side of the bowl. They need to be separated because the salt will kill the yeast if the two come into direct contact too soon. Then, add the olive oil, and three quarters of the water. Cold water is better than warm water according to Paul Hollywood. Cold water will activate the yeast more slowly and that will have a positive effect on the flavours that will develop in the bread.
  • Stir the ingredients into a dough with a wooden spoon. Instead of using a spoon, you can also use the fingers of one hand to pull the flour into the mix gradually.
  • When the water is absorbed you can gradually add the remaining water bit by bit. Knead until all the water has been absorbed before adding more. Focaccia dough is very wet: the ratio flour to water is almost one to one. The more water, the lighter the bread’s inside will be!
  • Rub your hands with a bit of olive oil and start kneading the dough in the bowl for around 5 minutes. It will be annoyingly sticky. If needed, you can wash your hands, rub them in olive oil and continue kneading.
  • Spread some olive oil on your work surface and dump the dough from the bowl onto the work surface. Continue kneading for another 10 minutes.
  • At this point I was getting quite depressed and despairing… because the dough did not turn into a silky non-stick substance (which is what usually happens after kneading a bread dough for a period of time). Focaccia dough will keep sticking to your hands no matter how long you knead it. Just accept that and move on.
  • Scrape the dough off the work surface and off your hands, and place it into the oiled bowl you had set aside earlier. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or clingfilm and leave it in a warm place to prove for at least an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Line a rectangular baking tray (roughly 20 cm by 30 cm in size ) with parchment paper and rub the inside with oil. Gently slide the dough into the tray. Use your fingers to gently stretch and push the dough into the corners of the tray. You do not want to push all the air out!
  • Cover the baking tray with clingfilm or a tea towel and leave it to prove for another hour.
  • Just before the hour is over, pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees centigrade.
  • Remove the towel or cling film. Dip one of your fingers into some flour so that it will not stick, and then firmly push it into the dough, all the way to the bottom of the tray. Repeat this until the focaccia dough has a nice outline of dimples all over its surface.


  • Sprinkle the focaccia generously with sea salt and rosemary. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of olive oil on top (or hold your thumb to the aperture of the olive oil bottle and drizzle the oil through the narrow gap you leave open).
  • Bake the focaccia at 220 degrees centigrade, middle of the oven, for about 20 minutes. It should turn an even brown colour.
  • Lift the bread out of the tray using the parchment paper as a handle, and put it on a wire rack. Remove the paper from beneath the bread. Sprinkle with some more olive oil which will get soaked into the bread. Use a high-quality green olive oil if you have that – it will greatly enhance the flavour.
2013-11-03 17.05.20

I almost ate all of it before thinking of taking a picture.

The result is a flat bread with a lovely crispy brown crust, and yet light on the inside. The focaccia has lots of air pockets or various sizes- the sign of a good bake. It tasted great! A real mediterranean treat.

The focaccia should be eaten right out of the oven, or while it is still warm, for the best experience.


© 2024 Alien Pastures

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑