[Sca-cooks] German Breads

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Mar 31 00:34:09 PDT 2008

AFAIK, there are no extant recipes for rye bread, but it was in fairly 
common use in much of northern Europe.  IIRC, there is an early 17th Century 
text that talks about rye bread and adding dill and caraway seed for 

Molasses might have been used during the 16th Century, but honey is more 
likely, as in Sabina Welser's lebkuchken recipes.  Malt syrup might also be 
used to replace the molasses as Needham (IIRC) gives a date of around 300 
BCE for its production in China; however, there is no evidence I know of for 
it's use in Europe much before the 18th Century.

I would think dark or medium rye flour would be more common than the light, 
but I haven't researched the point thoroughly.  Recipes that use flour, 
water, leaven and salt with perhaps a little sweetner and seeds would likely 
have been the norm.  Uncut rye bread holds moisture and stores well for long 
periods.  Milk, whey and fats like butter or lard add to the flavor, but 
they increase the chance of spoiling.

Maslin mixes of wheat and rye were fairly common, so I have no problem with 
the mixed flours.  The glutenin in the wheat creates longer gluten strands 
than the gliaden in the rye, better to trap the CO2 from the leaven.  Mixed 
loaves should be less dense than straight rye loaves.


> 've been asked to provide bread for an upcoming event.  It's a tavern
> event, and the theme is German.  The head cook would like some "hearty
> peasant bread".  I gather from searching the Florilegium, that rye
> bread was eaten, but couldn't find details.  I assume there are no
> extant recipes; I'd be happy just knowing what modern recipes come
> close.   I know molasses is out, but what about caraway seeds?  Light,
> medium, or dark rye flour?
> -- 
> Brighid ni Chiarain

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