I am so pleased to have returned to the Village Baker, the best bread cookbook I’ve ever read, to finish out the book’s recipes with a series on Germany, a country I know very little about. For example, who knew there were over 2,600 breads unique to Germany? And among the five or so that are included in the The Village Baker, there are such strange ingredients that I had to go to the health food store to stock up on things like millet and soy beans and whole barley and rolled wheat and pumpkin seeds. This first one uses an interesting technique called rye sour which is the best way, in my opinion, to put rye into a bread recipe—to spongify the rye changes the flavor profile completely.
Pumpkin Seed Bread
Adapted from The Village Baker
½ C unhulled sesame seeds
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 C. pumpkin seeds
Rye sour (sponge):
1 cup sourdough starter
2½ C. warm water
1½ C. organic dark rye flour
1 C unbleached organic AP flour
All of the rye sour from previous step
2½ C. unbleached organic AP flour
1 Tbs. salt
All but ¼ the seed mixture
To make the seed mixture:
Toss the sesame seeds with the soy sauce until well coated and toast them in a 350°F oven for between 15 and 20 minutes until just browned. Toast the pumpkin seeds dry in a separate pan at the same temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring around a couple of times for even browning.
Let all seeds cool down completely, and then grind half the sesame seed mixture and one-third of the pumpkin seeds until you have a medium powder. Add that to the whole seeds, mix together and set aside.
To make the rye sour (sponge):
Mix all the ingredients together, cover with plastic and let sit overnight at moderate room temperature for 12 hours.
To make the dough:
Transfer the rye sour to the bowl of your stand mixer, but begin the process by hand with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the flour, a handful at a time and stir vigorously after each addition. When you still have about a cup of flour left, add the salt. dough will be moist and sticky. Flatten the dough on your board and add all but ¼ cup of the seed mixture. Incorporate by kneading and folding into dough.
Place in lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise until doubled.
Remove to lightly floured board and roughly pre-shape. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for half and hour. Shape into an oval. I probably should have kneaded mine more, it had a tendency to blob, not much structure. It sprawled in the proofing. At this point, allow to rise once more on a piece of parchment or in a banneton.
Just before baking, glaze the top with 1 whole egg whisked with 1 Tbs. milk, then sprinkling with the seeds. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Massive, absolutely massive. Soy sauce, I’ve decided, is not a flavor I enjoy in bread at all, so I would probably not make this again, or if I did, it would be with a topping that is not roasted in soy. Otherwise, the bread was a Bavarian pleasure.