Rye Sourdough

In addition to the three-flour sourdough I always keep a standard Rye sourdough for all kind of wheat/rye based breads. The instructions to prepare and feed it are pretty much identical.

In a high plastic container or a sourdough or pickling crock add 60g of rye flour, a knife tip of active dry yeast and 100g of water.

Stir and put the lid on top leaving a small gap for air.

To feed it add 30g of rye flour 30g of water every 24 hours.

After day one you should observe small bubbles on top of the dough and a light sour smell.

Starting from day four you are ready to use the dough. It should have a nice sour smell and a creamy consistency.

Over time you’ll also develop a good feeling for the water-flour proportion. So add more water in case you think the dough is too dry.

Laugenbrez’n (Pretzel) with Three-Flour Sourdough

I have frequently been baking Pretzels for about 3 years now. The recipes I use have evolved over the years. Now I am pretty happy with the variants that are hitting our breakfast table every couple of days. My daughter loves them! So I am sharing the first out of three with you today.

Shake the flour through a strainer, add all the ingredients and knead a dough. Knead for five minutes on the lowest setting, rest five minutes and then knead another five minutes on a higher setting. Let the dough rise in a resting basket for at least 30 minutes.

Hand-knead the dough into a long shape and cut it into 100g (3.5 oz) portions. Then roll it into Pretzels twists, bread rolls, buns or pigtail shape.

Let the Pretzels rest for one to two hours. Then put them into the Sodium-Hydroxide solution for 5 to 10 seconds, shake the excess solution off and sit them onto a baking sheet. Skimmers and strainers make that process easier.

Sprinkle the Pretzels with salt.

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit and bake them for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let the pretzel sit in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Ingredients

References

Laugenstanden (Ploetzblog)

Dreikornbrezel (Ploetzblog)

Three-flour sourdough

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Three-Flour Sourdough

My daily-use sourdough for making Laugenbrez’n (Pretzels), Brötchen (Buns) and Langsemmeln (Long bread rolls) as well as all kind of lighter breads consists of three kinds of flours: Spelt, Wheat and Rye flour.

It is simple to make and lasts forever if it is fed every morning. The feeding process became part of my morning routine.

In a high container (preferably a sourdough a pickling crock, but a plastic container will do just fine) combine all three flours, add water and a knife tip of active dry yeast and stir. You can start with any amount, simply multiply. The proportion of Rye:Spelt:Wheat regarding weight is 1:2:2 for the flour and total flour:water 1:1.4. The amounts I start with are listed at the bottom. Fresh yeast (1g) would be preferred over active dry yeast, but I had a hard time finding it in the US and over time I got better at the converting required amounts of fresh yeast to active dry yeast.

Put the lid on top, but leaving a small gap so that it is not completely sealed. You could also just cover it with a wet cotton kitchen towel. I store mine in a kitchen cabinet. After 24 hours feed the dough with flour in the same proportion and add fresh water. Water:Flour weight proportion is now 1:1. Repeat every 24 hours. The amount you add to feed the dough depends on how much you are going to use it. If you feed the dough always the same amount you started with you will be baking frequently!

After the first day you should observe small bubbles on top of the dough should start observing bubbles on the top of the sourdough and a light sour smell.

Starting from day four you are ready to use the dough. It should have a nice sour smell and a creamy consistency.

Ingredients (Start)

  • 10g (0.35 ounces) of Rye flour
  • 20g (0.7 ounces) of Spelt flour
  • 20g (0.7 ounces) of Wheat flour
  • 70g (2.5) of Water
  • Knife-tip of active dry yeast

Ingredients (Feeding)

  • 10g (0.35 ounces) of Rye flour
  • 20g (0.7 ounces) of Spelt flour
  • 20g (0.7 ounces) of Wheat flour
  • 50g (2.5 ounces) of Water

Indoor Herb Garden

I was looking for an indoor herb garden solution that does not take up to much space. And I also wanted the option to move it to the garden in spring or summer. I checked out various options, for example this Vertical Garden. It looks fantastic, but it has a high price point and a large footprint.

So I ended up buying with this stackable solution. It’s affordable and made in the USA. There are two color options. Hunter green is a bit prettier, but the stone colored one allows me to label what I planted on the pot with a dry erase pen.

I added a herb seed kit and a seed starter.

Everything arrived faster than expected so after I picked up my daughter from daycare we went to home depot to get some herb and vegetable soil. We were lucky and got a great deal ($2.30 instead of $12 a pack) so we got a few since we plan to plant mint in a few days, too. Fall/Winter is a good time to purchase these things.

So we were good to go…

Great little helper
Planting the seeds
And now: Waiting!

USA – A country in burgers

Over the last 2+ years I have been traveling a lot through the United States and Canada. During that time I tried a lot of burger places. It took me a while to go through my photos, to sort and annotate them. Here are my top three locations. A lot of pictures and impressions are featured in the gallery below. I will continuously update this post, add new pictures and maybe expand the list of top locations.

#3 Paradise Pup, Des Plaines, IL [Facebook | Yelp]

I am not the first reviewer to rate this as a top location for burgers. Every time we landed at O’Hare International Airport we made sure to have cash since there are no cards accepted here.

#2 Octave Grill, Chesterton, IN [ Website | Yelp]

This place features craft beers on tap and one of the best burgers I have ever had. Loved the goat cheese on it. I can’t wait until I can come back. The only downside is that this place is not open every day during lunch hours. However, their sweet potato tots with the honey mustard sauce are unmatched.

#1 The Thurman Cafe, Columbus OH [Website | Yelp ]

Seriously the best burgers in North America. I went there several times and every burger I tried was fantastic.

Photo Gallery