Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Twisted Raisin and Hazelnut Breadsticks

I had a reason for a small happy dance yesterday ;)

About five years ago was the last time I was on holiday in the Netherlands.

One thing I remember very distinctly apart from the beach, the wind and having a great time kite flying are Twisters. Twisters? Yes, Twisters.
You haven't heard of them? I have to change that!!! The probably most common supermarket in the Netherlands, AlbertHeijn, sells twisted bread with raisins and nuts in them and I absolutely loved them. You can see them here, but we always bought baked ones to eat right away and not frozen ones like on that website. Sadly, I couldn't find a recipe anywhere for how to make them :(

Two years ago I gave it a try, but wasn't completely happy with it and the procedure was a bit too complicated be justified by the outcome.

After my recent sourdough experiments I decided to give it another try. Also, with me starting my job soon (yay!), I remember that it has proven to sometimes be more practical to be able to just grab a twisted bread stick from the freezer in the morning than to cut the bread loaf and butter the slices and wrap them up.

And surprise, surprise, even though I made the recipe up completely by myself without any references...

... using this chaotic note, but I'm quite sure that doesn't help anyone ...
... they turned out really well! I am so happy about that!

I've had one test eater confirm that and my Mum baked the Twisters herself today and she agrees. As As apparently you say round here .... Happy Days ;)

Twisted Raisin and Hazelnut Breadsticks

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Prep time: 18 hours
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 21 hours
Yield: 6 bread sticks


  • 125 g wheat sourdough
  • 125 g rye flour
  • 125 g water

  • 300 g wheat flour
  • water
  • 1 tsp dried yeast (or 8 g fresh)
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 8 g salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp cookie and cake spice (nutmeg, clove and cinnamon - you can mix this yourself*)
  • flour for dusting


  1. The afternoon/evening before (or 12 hours before you plan to bake) mix sourdough, rye flour and water in a bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 12 hours.
  2. Dissolve yeast and the ½ tsp honey in some warm water (max. 100 ml).
  3. Add wheat flour to your sourdough mixture. Also sprinkle salt on so that it is evenly distributed. Add yeast-water-mixture, honey, raisins, nuts, cocoa powder and cake & cookie spice. Start kneading. Gradually, if needed, add more water. Knead until you have a soft pliable dough that is not overly sticky.
  4. Put back into the bowl and let rise in a warm (!) place (preferably on a radiator or a warm cherry stone pillow) for about two hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper / foil or dust heavily with flour. Then knead the dough again and divide into 150 g pieces. This works better with wet hands.
  6. Have some flour ready and dust part of your work surface next to your kneading area. Roll the dough pieces into ropes of about 18 cm length. Then lay them one side down on the floured surface so that they have a lengthwise white stripe. Twist each one about three times and place on the baking sheet.
  7. Let the twisted bread sticks rise for half an hour in a warm (!) place. If necessary preheat your oven to 230°C (210°C if you have fan heat). During the last ten minutes place an oven-safe baking dish with a bit of water in the oven.
  8. Place the bread sticks in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 230°C (210°C fan heat). Then turn down the heat to 210°C (190°C fan heat) and bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. Take the bread sticks out of the oven and let cool on a rack or freeze immediately in freezer bags. If you do that let them defrost in the bags and after a few hours re-crisp on a toaster rack.
* If you do mix the spice yourself grind approx. two small cloves, add a pinch of nutmeg and top up the the teaspoon with cinnamon. DO NOT use equal amounts of the spices! Too many cloves can be quite....strong ;)

my Mum's baking =)

Friday, 21 August 2015

Sourdough & Yeast Bread with Seeds

Yesterday morning, after non-stop rain on Wednesday, I think I could have give a home to some gold fish in my bike's panniers. That's the downside of having waterproof bags, you see .. the water usually keeps out, but if it gets in, it stays in there ;)

My panniers do have a hole...unintentionally...but it doesn't seem to help much in this case.
In any case it is always surprising how much less heavy my bike is without these panniers and the D-lock on it. 

Well, anyway ... I hadn't planned on having a free morning today, but since I now have one, I am tackling the following very urgent issue now:

Finally ... after moving this note from my desk to the kitchen, back to my desk, being carried around on my phone as a photograph when showing a friend how to make this bread  ... I am now putting it into proper writing for you!

Oh, hold on. Maybe you can just use the note? ;) No? Oh, okay then =P

I've made two versions of this bread now; one with seeds, as my Mum's original version was, and one with left-over red lentils and sunflower seeds. I can recommend both versions or simply using whatever you may have on hand.

Sourdough & Yeast Bread with Seeds

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Sourdough yeast bread with seeds, grains, or pulses. Wholegrain rye and wheat.

Prep time: 12 hours
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 18 hours
Yield: 2 loaves


  • 245 g rye flour
  • 280 g water
  • 50 g ready-to-use sourdough-starter (before feeding)

  • 120 g mixed seeds, soaked in
  • 105 g water OR
  • 1 cup cooked lentils/grains

  • 350 g wheat flour
  • 60 g rye flour
  • 16 g salt
  • 2 tsp dried yeast (or 10 g fresh)
  • honey
  • 50 g water

  • water
  • seeds or flour for decoration


On the day before:
  1. Mix rye flour, water and sourdough in a bowl. Cover and place in a warm place overnight.
  2. Mix seeds of your choice with water and leave to soak OR make sure you have your grains/pulses cooked for the next day. You can also cook them on the next day, but since you wouldn't want them to be hot it is easier to have them ready. You can also add in grains/pulses and seeds.
On the baking day:
  1. Dissolve yeast and honey in lukewarm water.
  2. Mix wheat and rye flour with salt. Add to the dough you started the day before along with the yeast mixture and the seeds/grains/pulses.
  3. Knead until the dough comes together in a ball and keep on kneading for a bit until you have a soft and pliable dough. Knead into a ball, as described here in the kneading instructions and place back into your bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for two hours.
  4. With wet hands remove from the bowl onto a wet surface. Divide into two equal parts and knead into loaves.
    • Either: Place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick backing foil or dusted with a very generous amount of flour. Wet the loaves thoroughly with your hands. Dust with flour.
    • Or: Wet the loaves thoroughly with your hands. Dip, upside-down into a plate full of seeds. Turn back around and place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick backing foil or dusted with a very generous amount of flour. 
  5. Let the loaves rise in a draught-free place for half an hour and pre-heat your oven to 260 °C. If using fan heat only use 240°C. After 20 minutes place an oven-proof dish filled with water in the oven to let steam develop.
  6. With a wet, sharp knife cut into the loaf to determine where it will break up. You can choose the pattern. I did a cross-wise grid sort of pattern, as I remembered too late that I used to make my Mum cut hearts into the surface ;)
  7. Bake for
    • 15 minutes at 260 °C / 240°C fan heat
    • 15 minutes at 220 °C / 200°C fan heat
    • 15 minutes at 190 °C / 170°C fan heat
  8. Remove from the oven and check if the loaves sound hollow when you knock on them to confirm that they are done. Let cool on a rack until completely cooled, then wrap in a dish towel and store in a paper bag at room temperature OR freeze immediately, when still hot, in a sealed freezer bag.
  9. Enjoy :-)

Friday, 7 August 2015

Swabian Farmers' Bread

Life has been weird this week ... our house has profited from that in any case, since my housemate and I had a home-improvement DIY day today!
We managed to put up the IKEA shelf we'd been meaning to put up since January and the whiteboard we'd meaning to put up since last year October. ... A small excuse is that we didn't have a drill until May =P Now we've made it and it is nearly straight. For that being the first things we ever hung ourselves that's pretty good, isn't it?
And, well, in fact it must be pretty straight, since the teapot on the shelf is not practising for winter skiing, but is staying in its place :)
Yes, the shelf is now the tea shelf and we were both quite amazed about it until our other housemates came back and told us it was exactly in the walking line and the corner of the shelf really dangerous ;)
So, I guess we'll hang something in neon colours on the edge, but it is not THAT dangerous.

And to keep you up to date in case one of you has started a sourdough here comes the recipe for the first mixed yeast & sourdough bread I made!

Swabian Farmers' Bread

Recipe by Ines Feucht

Swabian farmers' bread with sourdough and yeast.

Total time: 18 hours + sourdough
Yield: 1 bread


  • 160 g rye flour
  • 200 g water
  • 40 g sourdough

  • 160 g wheat flour
  • 140 g rye flour
  • 80 - 160 g water, lukewarm
  • 1 tsp dried yeast (or 8 g fresh)
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 10 g salt
  • bread spice (fennel seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds, anise seeds)
  • flour


  1. Mix together the first three ingredients (rye flour, water and sourdough). Take the sourdough from your sourdough starter ready for use. Don't forget to feed the remaining starter. Let this sit, covered, in a warm place overnight or for about 8 hours.
  2. Grind up bread spice and mix with flour and salt. Add to the dough. Dissolve yeast and honey in a part oft the water. Add to the dough and start kneading. Add water as needed.
    • It is considerably easier to knead this with a kneading machine, since rye dough tends to be very sticky.
  3. Knead until the dough comes together. Cover and let rest in  a warm (!) place for half an hour. Don't hesitate to use a cherry stone pillow or some other gently warming device.

  1. Knead again and form into a dough ball (on a wet surface with wet hands, form into a ball by folding in the sides and rotating the ball of dough until the bottom side of the dough is smooth). Take a bowl and line with a dish towel. With a fine sieve dust the towel in the bowl generously with flour. Place the ball of dough in this bowl, the dough end facing up. With something pointed, such as knitting needles, poke the dough a couple of times. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to as high as it goes. Place an oven-save dish filled with water in the oven so that steam can develop.
  3. Generously dust a baking sheet with flour. You can also use a non-stick baking. In one swift movement turn out the bread on the sheet. Poke the bread again a couple of times. With a sharp knife slice the bread in a grid pattern. The cuts should be about 1 inch/ 1 ½ cm deep. Wet your hands and wet the bread. dust it with more flour.
  4. Place the bread in the oven. Bake, turning down the oven over time:
    • for 15 minutes at 260 °C (or as high as your oven goes) - this develops the crust
    • for 20 minutes at 220 °C and
    • for 15 minutes at 190 °C.
  5. Remove from the oven and check for doneness by knocking on the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow the bread is done.
  6. Let cool on a rack or freeze immediately.
    • Store, wrapped in a dish towel, in a paper bag at room temperature. OR
    • Freeze in a freezer bag, then defrost overnight at room temperature (within the bag) and, if you wish, reheat and crisp up briefly in the oven.