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Monday, August 8, 2011

“Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XIX: Kraftbrot—not a Sourdough Bread but one of the Trickiest to Make”

The Steve Miller Band’s fourteenth album, “Abracadabra,” came out in 1982, and managed to hit Platinum on the basis of the title cut.  A little bit bubblegummy you might say but still, the album had its moments and is still among our favorites.  It’s just interesting to see how Steve Miller began his career one way and then was reborn and became a megastar and then was reborn again as a touring phenom who put out albums of less-stellar quality with each new release. Still, we recommend that you buy it so by all means take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.  


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 501 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Vladimir Gdansk

END Commentary 08-09-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,621.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Tuesday, August 09, 2011 by Chef Vladimir Gdansk


 Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XIX: Kraftbrot—not a Sourdough Bread but one of the Trickiest to Make

Bakersfield, CA, 08-09-2011 T:  Today, we are going to make one of the more difficult breads in the repertoire: Kraftbrot.  Kraftbrot is bread that’s NOT a sourdough but is one that is made with both potatoes and oats, so it’s somewhat of a thick loaf, heavy bread that the Germans eat with their porridge.  I’m sure that nowadays, breads like this rank among their “soul foods” but probably don’t see much use anymore as they’re as spoiled as we are and as the older generations die off, the younger folks move on to other things.  But over the course of my career, I made an effort to educate myself in the ways of the classic bakers and that meant learning how to make the dogs just as much as learning how to make the ones everybody brags about.  That is the sign of the true yeast-bread-baker: being willing to take a risk and losing the applause when bread—authentic as it can be—is not as well-received but is still made. Anyhow, it’s worth giving it a shot so let’s get to it:


Yield: One 2.5# cylindrical loaf:

Tepid water

Fresh cake yeast

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt

Red potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed

Raw oatmeal

Tepid water

Bread flour
Egg white

Cold water

Melted butter

Oat groats (optional)


1.      Using an electric mixer, place the tepid water and fresh cake yeast in it and using a dough hook, rotate on slow speed until mashed and combined; stir in the bread flour, cover with a cloth, and allow it to sit in a warm place in your kitchen for ONE hour.

2.      When time’s up, mix in the rest of the ingredients up to the bread flour.  When you get to that point, continue scaling it in along the sides of the bowl, bit-by-bit, until it’s all used up.

3.      Now, due to the time of the year, the humidity, and the quality of the flour, it may take MORE flour to get to where we want: continue adding flour while mixing on low speed until the dough climbs off the sides of the bowl and onto the dough hook and remains there as it continues to rotate slowly about the bowl. If it pulls back onto the sides of the bowl, continue adding flour until it remains on the hook for about ONE minute—then stop mixing, and scoop the dough out onto a lightly-floured work bench.

4.      Rub your hands with flour and sprinkle more atop the dough and begin to knead it. Knead it firmly until smooth and elastic to the touch—about 4-8 minutes. This is firm dough so you have to knead it briskly but if too firm, knead in a little warm water on your fingertips but don’t go overboard and get it sopping wet.

5.      When it’s somewhat smooth and springy, form it into a ball and place inside a metal bowl or pot that’s about twice the size of the dough ball and flour lightly top, bottom, and sides. Cover with a slightly moist cloth and set it someplace that’s relatively warm and free of drafts so that it can proof. Take care not to shake it or to jiggle the bowl and allow it to double in size, about 40-45 minutes but keep an eye on it. Preheat your standard oven to 400°F and place a pot of water over a low flame. Have a couple of fire bricks ready but don’t place atop an open flame—yet.

6.      When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and re-round it into a ball and replace the slightly moist towel atop it and return it to its warm shelf of spot in your kitchen to rise a second time. The second proof will take about half the time of the first so once on the shelf, lower the heat to 350°F and place the bricks over an open flame on your stove top or lay atop electric burners. While you’re waiting, beat together the egg and the teaspoon of milk and push through a sieve to break up the albumin so it’s nice and homogenous.  In addition to this, spray a sheet pan with PAM and dribble a little salad oil on it and gently rub in. Sprinkle the pan with the cornmeal and have ready.

7.      When the dough’s risen again, deflate it and turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured tabletop and prepare for the final proof. Knead briefly and form into a ball. Cover with a slightly moist towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes—in this way, your dough develops an outside wall of gluten which will create marvelous bread.

8.      Now, with your hands, begin rolling the dough ball down from the top all the while scrunching the left and right sides inward and rolling the dough over it; what you are doing is forming a tight, cigar-shaped cylinder. Keep one hand on either side turn with your fingers while pressing the ends shut with your thumbs. When you’ve rolled up your cylinder, press the seam shut after moistening it with some cold water and fold it slightly over itself. Place on the prepared sheet pan and cover with a dry towel and return it to the proofing spot for one last, final rise.

9.       Allow your loaves to almost double in size for about 15-20 minutes at most. When it has, lightly brush it with the “egg wash” mixture and then liberally sprinkle with the oat groats if using them. Finally, dip a sharp knife in melted butter or olive oil and slash 4-5 diagonal slashes approximately .25-inch deep cuts across the top. Into each slash, sprinkle a little kosher salt to add additional flavor.

10.  While the loaves are rising, place a roasting pan that’s about 4-inches deep inside your oven and place the HOT bricks within it. Taking care to avoid the rush of steam, pour about 2-inches of boiling water in around them and shut the door and allow the oven to steam.  When the loaf is ready to go, insert it into the steamy oven and let it rise quickly with the steam. After about 10 minutes, pull the bricks out along with whatever water is left and lower heat 375°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes OR until you can pick your loaf up in one gloved hand and rap on its bottom; if the loaf sounds hollow, it’s done and ready to go and if not, put it back in the oven and let it continue baking until it sounds hollow. The idea is to check it at about the 30 minute mark but you also need to know your oven’s temperature and the best way to do that is to buy an oven thermometer and place it inside. I cannot say how important this step is, if you don’t know how hot or how cool your oven is, you will never be able to bake a proper loaf much less a cake! 

11.  So, when the loaf sound a dull hollow, pull it out and place it atop a wire rack to cool on all sides. Drizzle with melted butter 3-4 times in order to achieve a gorgeous gloss and as you do so, the crust will soften naturally. This will make for truly fabulous loaves so good luck, my friends. Practice makes perfect and this loaf is one of the ones that is fairly easy to make and generally can suffer a lot of punishment so don’t be afraid, jump into it and go for it!

12.  When these delicious loaves are done, serve right away or finish cooling. A fresh loaf such as this can sit out for about a day covered by a towel or a cloth and then, you will have to wrap them up. Generally, if a loaf isn’t eaten within the first day, you need to slice it and wrap it up in airtight plastic bags and freeze. Bring out what you need and heat up quickly in your microwave oven 10-12 seconds at a time. Always eat as soon as possible as fresh-baked bread is only good when it’s utilized right away. We are not filling it up with all sorts of chemical preservatives so use your common sense and always do the right thing—your common sense won’t let you down!

13. To reheat bread, wrap in plastic wrap and heat in the microwave and if you can, avoid regular ovens.  One last word of advice: to slice bread properly, you need a good bread knife so invest in one as there’s no point in crushing or trashing a wonderful loaf of bread with a crappy knife. Pick one up at the local restaurant supply store when you pick up your oven’s new thermometer! If you don’t have a good restaurant supply store, order what you need from Amazon.com because they have everything!

Kraftbrot is specialty bread that takes some work and as I’ve explained with other breads at different times, you have to be able to adlib on occasion as sometimes more liquid is required and sometimes less just as with the flour.  What you need to do is to feel your way along and over time, it will become easier and easier. Anyhow, don’t be afraid to give it a shot!

As I said yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

This will do it for today but I think I will be returning tomorrow to make some more bread.  Making bread is almost a therapeutic act for me, it’s something I can do by myself, go in and turn the radio up and get lost in the baking process.  Being able to bake sourdough breads from scratch can lead to some marvelous jobs you might not otherwise be able to get so learn all that you can and don’t be afraid to get your hands (and feet) wet! Once you’ve become a baker, you will be one for the rest of your life! Enjoy!    

Thank you!

V. Gdansk

V. Gdansk

Cook IV, CWC, ACF, and the Washington State Chef’s Association

This is me back in the 1980's when I was the Executive Chef at a country club in the Napa Valley. I spent many years working in foodservice, having begun as a young boy working for my father in his restaurant over on the coast in Pismo Beach. Foodservice is in my blood and it's something I still do actively every day in my late eighties.


END Commentary for Tuesday, August 09, 2011 by Chef Vladimir Gdansk

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Vladimir Gdansk

Recipes created by Chef Vladimir Gdansk on May 24, 1983 in Pismo Beach, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!




This is #1049, a 20” x 24" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Canyon near Sedona." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures II
This is a shot of the Cook's Line at the Stockdale Country Club in 1988. This is typical of many kitchens, a long line in which 4-8 chefs can work in harmony and in unison. 

  This is a shot of meals going up in the window at the Stockdale Country Club in 1988. The hands holding the dishes belong to Chef Joseph Pesigan, a chef with more than 65 years' experience at the time. Joe passed away in early 2000. 

 This is another shot of the SCC Cook's Line at dinnertime. This photo, like the others, was taken sometime in 1988. 



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