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Alpine

Tegernsee Christmas Loaf/Tegernseer Ketzapiren

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Baking powder
Start to Finish: 1½-2 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: One 2 lb./900 g loaf

Marking religious holidays and life events by enhancing everyday bread with rare delicacies goes back a long way in Europe. The tradition survives most clearly in the stollen of Germany, the panettones of Italy, Lithuania’s Kaledu Pyragas (Christmas Bread), the zelten of South Tyrol and in this richly fruited Ketzapiren, which comes from Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps, not far from the Austrian border. Keep Reading

“Little Breads” of Pustertal/Pusterer Breatl (Italy)

pust_slice

Rye %: 70%
Stages: Sponge, final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, yeast
Start to Finish: 17-20 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One dozen 3½ ox/100 g rolls

Not too long ago, one of my friends, a transplanted Berliner, announced that he and his wife were going on vacation in the mountains of eastern Austria. The news came as music to my ears, because for a long time I’d been trying to get my hands on blue fenugreek leaves, a spice that’s virtually impossible to find in the US. Known as Trigonella caerulea (blue trefoil) to botanists, it’s a key ingredient in the breads of South Tyrol, where it’s variously called Blauklee (“blue clover”), Schabzigerklee (“shoddy clover”), Zigeunerkraut (“gypsy herb”) and Brotklee (“bread clover”). I asked if he’d be kind enough to pick some up for me. Keep Reading

“Closing Time” Dark Caraway Rye/Dunkles Feierabendbrot mit Kümmel (Austria)

feier_slice

Rye %: 53%
Stages: Sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Yeast
Start to Finish: 15-17 hours
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Two 1 lb. (475 g) loaves

Ever since I acquired my copy of Der Duft von Frischem Brot (The Aroma of Fresh-baked Bread), I’ve been hooked on Austrian ryes, which, like so many Alpine ryes I’ve encountered, have wonderfully complex and interesting flavor profiles. This caraway rye is no exception. It’s a creation of third-generation baker Johannes Breuss, of Oberdorf, a town  nestled in the  high Alps of Vorarlberg, Austria’s westernmost region,  where it’s bordered by Bavaria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
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Wholegrain Franconia Rye/Vollkorn Frankenlaib

Frankenlaib for lunch

Rye %: 80%
Stages: 3-Stage sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 20-22 hours
Hands-on Time: 40-50 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb./650 g loaves

Frankenlaib sliced

Not too long ago I acquired a trove of freshly milled rye and heirloom/heritage wheat flours from Grist & Toll, a groundbreaking urban mill in Pasadena, just north of Los Angeles. After experimenting with the wheat flours, I started casting about for a rye bread that would let me showcase the subtle complexities of the G&T flours. After going through my recipe database, I settled on Franconia Rye/Frankenlaib, a subtle and complex Bavarian bread.

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Crusty Country Rye/Bauernkrustenbrot (Austria)

Crusty Country Rye_slice

Rye %: 66%
Stages: Sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Yeast
Start to Finish: 15-17 hours
Hands-on Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb./675 g loaves

Austrian rye breads are less well-known than their German cousins, which is a shame because they’re incredibly flavorful. I found the recipe for this well-balanced nutty-sweet-sour country loaf in probably the best of the Austrian bread books, Der Duft von frischem Brot (The Aroma of Fresh-Baked Bread) by Barbara van Melle. The recipe itself comes from Vienna baker Horst Felzl, who, had he been 2 cm taller, as the book states, and qualified for the police academy, would never have become one of Austria’s best bakers. Keep Reading

Swiss Rye Ring/Brasciadela/Kantonsbrot Graubünden

Brasc_slice

Rye %: 69%
Stages: Rye sponge, Wheat poolish, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 13-15 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: Two 1¼ lb. (575 g.) loaves

Graubünden is Switzerland’s largest canton, extending eastward between Austria to the north and Italy to the south. It’s also Switzerland’s most mountainous canton, home to several glaciers, as well as the 11,853-foot Tödi and 13,284 foot Piz Bernina. Not surprising, then, that its bread culture is based on rye. Like the circular breads of Scandinavia, Brasciadela’s ring shape made it easy to store the breads on poles hung from the ceiling during the long Alpine winter. Keep Reading