Dough and Starter Calculator.


Graham's picture
Graham 2006 February 8

This calculator looks very useful Bill. Thanks for the link. It also brings attention to the authors sourdough home page at [url][/url]

Samartha points to Hofpfisterei's bakery in Munich [url][/url] as being a major source of inspiration.


FlourGirl 2006 February 8

An interesting site indeed. Using the typical German Detmold 3 - stage feeding of the leaven. it's a well tested combination of temperature, times and starter hydrations to optimise the taste and activity of the starter (typical German having to define everything in so much detail Every stage is supposed to support something different - one for the yeast, one for the mild lactobacilli. It was developed und published for bakeries in Germany.

The Hofpfisterei in Munich has a very good reputation. They are a (local) chain, but as opposed to most other chains they are organic and use natural leaven only (they state on their web site). Anybody I know who lives there is very happy with the breads they make.

When I was back home in Germany over Chrismas, I have to say that I was seriously disappointed how few bakeries still actually do the baking themselves and how poor the results of the other ones are. We do have a bread culture in Germany and it's a shame to see it so commercialised and quality going down.

cheers, -FlourGirl

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 February 11

Hi FlourGirl.

As artisan breads become more popular in Australia, some bread factories are trying to cash in on the reputation that small independent bakeries have created. Larger production bakeries tend to have a different philosophical base to the smaller bakeries (with some notable exceptions).

When you talked about the standard dropping in Germany, is it because bread is now being baked in factories where there is less of an "ethical artisan" approach and more of a "artisan by numbers" approach. ie. food technologists formulating artisan style bread rather than inspired artisans evolving a product with their knowledge, experience and personal artistic influences?

Professional German bakers appear to have a name and a technique for just about every style of traditional bread-making method. Have they got so damn good at making a traditional loaf "they way it should be made" that they have become bored with breadmaking? Are there fresh interpretations of the great German breads (in Germany), or perhaps these breads are so well-liked that they do not need re-interpreting?

(with apologies for all the generalisations in those questions)


Anonymous 2006 February 12

Hi Graham.

I will try to answer your questions, but please keep in mind, that I have never been involved in the trade/ industry and much of what I think is guessing from observations.

Just one example, Germans are VERY big on their Sunday morning fresh rolls. Nowadays, they are produced in factories, transported to the outlet before baking, there they are baked in an oven and sold fresh. The outlet could be anything from a bakery shop to a gas station. You can't compare these rolls to the real ones, that are crafted by the baker. It's getting harder and harder to find good ones. (and I was so looking forward to them, when I went over at Xmas ... - well, I am working on making them myself now, I am very slowly getting there).

I would think that the two main influencing factors are that the baker's trade is a hard one, with getting up very early and working really hard. The other is, that many Germans seem to become more and more focused on price.
Not being involved in the trade, I think that because it is such an old trade in Germany, that lot's is documented and taught in the apprenticeships. I would imagine that the artistic creation of bread is not happening much any more. I am not aware of any new interpretations of German breads within Germany.

Maybe it's got to do with, that bread is a staple for Germans and we only realise how much we like it, need it and how spoilt we are for choice until we go abroad. Even the supermarket breads come in a wide variety of white, rye, wholemeal, grainy breads etc. 'Extra soft' sandwich bread in a supermarket doesn't quite do it for us.

I've written a lot now and don't know that I have answered your question. But I think it's complex and I can only draw on my own experiences.

cheers, -FlourGirl

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 February 12

You have answered my questions and more so FlourGirl. The only other direct contact I have with Germany is with the guy I order brotforms/bannetons from. He is based in Wermsdorf/Ortsteil Mahlis. Funnily enough, we have not talked about bread yet! Knowing what can be achieved and recognising when you have achieved it is a large part of baking, or any art process for that matter. Your exposure to German varieties of bread would have given you a language of bread that many do not have. A toast to inspired baking. Graham

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