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Bauernbrot

Bauernbrot Recipe (German farmer-style rye bread)

(German farmer-style rye bread)

5
Average: 4.2 (26 votes)

Authentic-tasting German bread is easier to make than you'd think. Bauernbrot, or farmer's bread, is a hearty rye bread that is the standard loaf in many German homes, especially in the south. It was traditionally made from scratch in farm homes and baked in age-old, wood-fired ovens. It takes a few hours from start to finish, but most of that time is spent resting the dough or baking it. The final product has a dense crumb, full flavor and a chewy crust.

1 large loaf

Ingredients

Dough Starter

  • Bread flour -- 3/4 cup
  • Rye flour -- 3/4 cup
  • Honey or malt syrup -- 3 tablespoons
  • Water, lukewarm -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Instant yeast -- 1/2 teaspoon

Flour mixture

  • Bread flour -- 2 1/2 cups
  • Caraway seeds -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Instant yeast -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil -- 1 tablespoon
  • Cornmeal -- for the baking tray

Method

  1. Add the ingredients for the starter to a large bowl and mix together until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. While the starter is resting, mix together the remaining ingredients except for the oil and cornmeal. Pour the flour mixture over the starter. Do not stir. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set aside for at least two hours and up to five hours. The starter will bubble up through the flour mixture.
  3. Add the oil to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir the flour mixture into the starter. As the mixture comes together, remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough might be a little sticky. Knead in just enough extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  4. Set the dough aside to rest for about 10 minutes, then knead for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Set the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and lightly oil the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set in a draft-free area of the kitchen to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Punch down the dough and lightly knead it 3 or 4 times. Form into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and let rise for another 45 minutes or so.
  6. Preheat oven to 450°F and set the shelf at the lowest level. Put a small metal pan in the oven (you will use this later). Lightly press down on the dough and form it into a ball. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a baking sheet and set the dough onto the baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for another hour.
  7. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to slash the top of the dough in 3 parallel lines about 1/4-inch thick. Then slash with another set of 3 lines perpendicular to the first set. Use a spray bottle to mist the dough with water.
  8. Set the baking sheet in the oven and pour about 1 cup of water into the small pan to create steam. Shut the door immediately and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes. (An insta-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf should register 190°F.)
  9. Set the loaf on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Variations

  • For even better flavor, let the starter ferment for an hour a room temperature. Then set it in the refrigerator to ferment slowly for another 8 to 24 hours. Return it to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
  • Vary the proportion of rye flour and bread flour to your liking. Or eliminate the rye flour altogether and use all bread flour. You can also make a whole wheat loaf by replacing about 1/2 of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. You will need to add a little more water if you do.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, flaxseeds, cracked wheat, rye or spelt into the flour mixture for added texture.
  • For a darker crust, brush the dough with some buttermilk, yogurt or dark coffee just before baking.
  • Use a baking stone for even better crust development. Set the stone in the oven about an hour before baking to preheat it thoroughly. After the final rise, move the dough directly to the stone to bake.

Comments

This recipe is a KEEPER!! My bauernbrot came out beautifuly just like the picture. And tasted just like the brot my Oma would buy at our favorite German bakery.

Recently I was looking for some german bread recipes and I found this one. This is a keeper. I know the german breads real well. I grew up in germany.

Why do you pre heat the oven to 425 but let the dough rise for another hour?

To make sure the oven is good and hot and not still warming up. That's why they call it preheating. :) You can cut the preheat time to 30 minutes if you like.

Chef Brad

I just L O V E this bread, i can't thank you enough for putting this site up! i could make this bread every day and it's so worth the long time ..no more homesick to the great german bread :D

i recently got me a dutch oven to bake this bread in, i do the last rise in a colander(1/2 hour while the oven preheats to 450F, with the closed 51/2 quart dutch oven is inside)

I then sprinkle the top of the bread with corn meal (this will be the bottom later) ..after the rise i dump the bread in the dutch oven (careful, its very hot) make the cuts, lid on and in the oven closed at 450F for about 20 min, then i take the lid of and bake for another 15 - 20 min on 400F depending on how dark i want the crust...not only does the bread rise more in the dutch oven than on the rack, the crust seems to be so much more crunchier this way :)

Hi,
Many thanks for putting up your farmer's bread recipe at whats4eats.com.
I tried this recipe yesterday but the bread turned out wet and doughy like it wasn't cooked. It had a nice crust though. Putting it back in the oven for longer made no difference.
I used
Dough Starter
• Strong Wholemeal bread flour -- (95g)
• Rye flour -- (77g)
• Water, lukewarm -- 375ml
• rest of ingredients as per your recipe
Flour mixture
• Bread flour -- (318g)
• rest of ingredients as per your recipe

Any ideas as to what went wrong?
Thanks in advance.
James

I have been trying many different recipes to get a bread like this with marginal success. This is the best that I have found. It is absolutely delicious and the crust is superb. I've only baked one loaf so far, next time I'll increase the recipe and make 3 loaves at a time. I used a granite slab in the oven and that made the bottom really dark, almost burnt, which added to the flavour.I will also try using the starter after a few days to see if the is a further improvement. Thanks for the recipe.

I use Porter liquid malt extract instead of honey, comes out just like home. Wonderful! Wolfgang
You can get it at any homebrew store