Tuesday, July 29, 2014

No Götz no Glory - Hot Blooded Buns

"Hearty, smokey rolls with a thin crust. With a swirl of spiced smoked paprika and dipped in a seed mix consisting of both brown and blond flax seeds, black and white sesame, black and white poppy seeds and millet." 

"Are you sure about this?"

That's never a good question to ask an adolescent. 

On the table is a pile of bulky, slightly dusty books. German plays and poetry. Goethe, Schiller and something Dutch I don't remember.

The high school librarian, a lovely blond woman, takes small strips of cardboard stamped with dates out of the sleeves of the books, swings her date stamping device into striking position and keeps it there. Hovering in mid air. She looks up at me, ready to strike. 

"Not a lot of people take out these books, you know." 

Languidly drifting away on waves of adolescence just seconds before, now suddenly a hovering stamp demands immediate attention. I quickly translate what the librarian just said into adolescent;

"Are you crazy? What are you reading dusty German poets for? Don't you read thin books, like the rest of your kind? 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagul' and such?"

"Yes, I'm sure" I respond. 

Down comes the stamp, with all it's force. 

I have a small date stamp like that, at home. Not a 'professional' one, like the librarian is using here, but the same principal. Mine runs until 2016. I got it as a kid and made a promise to myself to use it the 31st of December 2015. I still own it and will keep that promise and stamp something, anything, deo volente.

"I think it's a first for Götz here. It's never left the building" 

She stamps a blank strip of card board and puts it back in the sleeve of the copy of 'Götz Von Berlichingen'. And smiles.

I was very Sturm und Drang at the time. Actually, I still am. Happily suffering along with the likes of young Werther, Götz or any other romantic, hot blooded, ratio declining character in world literature trusting their guts, so to speak.

After six years of reading the school library to bits, I was ready to take my hot blooded romantic self out of my small hometown and move to Amsterdam for some serious coming of age.

Kiss my ass
I walked straight into a big life lesson. Something that I had never seen coming. As I stepped out into the world on my own, I found people didn't quite recognise me as a young Werther, or a Götz. I pretty much got stamped the opposite, whatever that meant.

It made me ask myself this question; What am I to do? Put my guts to rest and be who people expected me to be? Or stick with it?

Although 'Götz Von Berlichingen' somehow never made it to my personal library, the most famous line in it has become one of my life mottos. 

Any one of you who knows the work can guess that motto. For those who don't; please engage in an interactive blog moment and listen to this Mozart canon.

If you just thought that, although you don't speak a word of German, the first line in that Mozart song sounded quite familiar, you are right. Trust your instinct.

Leck mich im Arsch. Kiss my ass!

I stuck with myself, as you might have guessed. I am who I am, I gotta be me and all that. By now I have reached a  stage in life where I'm not too bothered about impressions and perceptions. My mooning days are over. I stopped shouting 'kiss my ass' long ago. Nowadays a confident glance works the same magic.

Castle Business

Now then. Down to business. What do we want? 


When do we want it?


My constant source of inspiration Karin Anderson lured me, quite effectively, into cooking up a nice little something for the Götz Von Berlichingen castle she recently visited. The magnificent surroundings deserved a better bread then what she was served. 

This is my suggestion;

If Götz first saw the world in that castle, it deserves a bread that reflects the Sturm und Drang movement his story ignited much later on in history. Goethe took Götz' story and made it his, I read Goethe and added my perception of Götz to it. And now you are reading this and adding yours. Poor Götz; drowning in perceptions. Or maybe he got away lucky, being remembered a hero he himself never really was...

Himmelhoch jauchzend oder zum Tode betrübt; a romantic hot blooded hero appreciates some heat in his buns, some Sturm und Drang! These are hearty, smokey rolls with a light thin crust. On top and inside they have a swirl of spiced smoked paprika , and after being formed they are dipped in a mix of seeds consisting of both brown and blond flax seeds, black and white sesame seeds, black and white poppy seeds and millet. Paprika was around in Götz's days, and he most certainly would have been familiar with smokey foods. 

The sturdy seeds  protect and envelop the swirl. Like the bark of a tree protecting its guts. Keeping the fire within alive.

It would work with anything meaty on the breakfast buffet. With salmon or a variety of cheeses they'd make a tasty bun. Or as an accompaniment to a nice salad or soup. With eggs and omelettes in all possible sunny side ups and downs! And the chicken itself would work as well.

I can only hope Karin, who is somehow reading over my shoulder while I write this, agrees with me on this; the slower you let your breads rise, the better it tastes. If however, you are adding a pronounced flavour to your dough, by enriching it with anything that isn't water or salt or yeast or flour, retarding your dough isn't really the trouble any more. The butter, the sugar or in this case the smoked paprika, will blow the flavour benefits of retarding right out of the water.

Nevertheless, I often retard an enriched dough to fit my schedule, or sometimes use a bit of fresh yeast together with the wild yeast to speed up the process. In this recipe I use a little fresh yeast. Feel free to leave it out and expect longer rising times.

Multiseed wild yeast smoked paprika buns

makes about 9 buns of 80 gr.


for the dough:
450 gr. bread flour
50 gr. white rye flour
50 gr. wheat levain (@100% hydration)
1 gr. fresh yeast (use 0.4 grams instant)
290 gr. water (60%)
8 gr. salt
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika powder
⅛ - ¼ teaspoon of chili powder

for the seeds:
3 tablespoons of each golden and brown flax seeds, black and white sesame, black and white poppy seeds and millet. Any other seeds like quinoa or chia work as well.


Mix together the flours and the salt. Stir the levain and the fresh yeast ino the water. You can also choose to leave out the fresh yeast, the rise will take longer then. Roughly stir the yeast mix into the flour. Knead on low speed for about 4 minutes, and then 3 more minutes on second speed. If you are kneading by hand; this dough should pass the window pane test. The dough should feel slightly tacky, but not sticky.

first rise
Form the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled container. Cover it and let it rise at room temperature for about 2½ hours or until it has risen sufficiently. One way to check if your first rise is ready, is to stick a floured finger into the dough. When the imprint keeps its shape, the dough is ready to move on to the next level. If it springs back, you might want to give it another 15 minutes or so. 

Lightly flour your work surface. Turn out the risen dough. Punch it back with the palms of your hands. Flatten the dough ball into a rough rectangle. Roll out the dough to 35 x 30 cm. If the dough resists, cover it and leave it for 5 minutes before going on. Brush or dust a thin and even layer of smoked paprika onto the dough. Then roll the dough as tight as possible into a log, starting on widest side. Pinch the seam shut.

Leave to rest for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the seeds onto a baking tray.

Cut the log into 8 or 9 pieces. Carefully close the seam  on one side of each piece of dough. Brush the sides with water, then gently place the dough in the tray to cover the lower half in seeds. Lift the dough pieces out and arrange them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.

second rise
Cover the baking sheet and leave the dough to rise until nice and fluffy. For the second rise, the poking method also works, but slightly different. In the second rise, if you poke the dough and it doesn't spring back at all, you probably went a bit too far with the proofing. A second rise is done, and a bread ready for the oven, when the dough springs back slowly after being poked. If it springs back with enthusiasm, give it more time. Expect a rising time of about 1½ - 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 230°C. If you are using a baking stone, make sure to preheat your oven early enough to give your stone the heat it needs.

Just before putting your baking tray right on the stone in your oven, spray some water in your oven to steam it up.

Bake the buns at 230°C for about 12 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 200°C and bake for about 12 more minutes until the tops turn golden. This will fade the attractive paprika swirl to almost invisible as well, but it still hides inside, and will be a surprise when the bun is sliced open. If you are using a fan oven, turn the tray around halfway the bake for even browning.