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Schrotbrot is something I would consider very German and very hard to tanslate. It seems there isn’t even a word for Schrot in English. Schrot is something like cracked wheat. It’s made during the milling process. The bran and germ are removed and the grain is chopped coarsely. Schrot is a bit smaller than cracked rye. You probably won’t find it at grocery stores, I usually make my own. Technically I have to mill some rye berries into chunks and then sift them, so that only the large parts are left. But I don’t do that as it takes too much work. I use what comes out of my mill as is.
Schrotbrot is a bread that is made without or only a small amount of flour. (Less than 10%). In a German bakery, I might not be allowed to call the recipe I am going to share with you a Schrotbrot. I made the dough with 50% schrot and 50% sprouted rye. This is still a bread without flour, so I think it is okay. Honestly, I am not really sure about the definition. For this recipe you will need a sourdough starter. You cannot make it with yeast. (Here you can find a recipe for the starter and you can read about why yeast won’t work.)
What is so special about Schrotbrot?
- A bread like this is very different from the open crumb wheat breads that are popular on Instagram right now. Schrotbrot is very dense and very moist. This bread is made with a ton of water. You have to soak all the grains to soften them. Also, rye generally absorbs more water than wheat. The water, as well as the sourdough, will help the bread stay fresh very long. It won’t be stale after a day. In fact, it’s best to let this bread rest for 24 hours before you slice it.
- Schrotbrot is a dark rye bread. There’s no colour added. Also no sugar.
- Since this bread is made with rye (and without any flour), you do not need to knead it a lot. Rye has gluten, but its structure is weak. It also has several components that make forming a crumb difficult. A sourdough starter will improve the baking process.
- A bread like this has to be baked in a bread pan. You don’t have to knead much, you don’t have to shape it. Most of the time you’ll spend waiting and being patient.
Bread like this is usually the main component of a meal. We often have bread for dinner in Germany. Traditionally it is served with butter, cheese, and all kinds of cold cuts, but I like to eat it with a savoury spread like hummus. It also makes a great base for hearty sandwiches that you can take to work. This bread is the opposite of white bread, it’s a healthy and nutritious food and I hope you try this recipe.
Tips and Notes
For this bread, you need to prepare a couple of things a day in advance. 24 hours before you want to bake the bread, soak 200 g of rye berries in 200 g of water. Cover and set aside. If it is very warm, these might even sprout a bit.
The evening before you want to bake, mix 50 g of active sourdough starter with 300 g cracked wheat and 200 ml water. Cover and set aside. The next day this mixture will probably not look like it has grown much, but it should smell quite sour. (You can also spoon out some of it and see air bubbles.) If nothing seems changed, your starter may still be very young. In that case, you can add some yeast to the dough when you mix in the other ingredients. (Yeah, I said no yeast. But with young starters you can take a little help.)
Drain the rye berries and add them to the sourdough mixture. Also add another 100 ml of water and 10 g of salt. Knead until everything is well combined and place in a loaf pan that is lined with parchment paper.
Now here’s a tip I recently got from my coworker. It works incredibly well and you won’t have any problems getting your dough to rise: Place the bread on a rack in your oven and put a large, deep baking tray at the bottom. Pour in a cup of boiling water and close the oven door. Let the bread rise for about 1 hours. (I let mine rise for one hour and as you can see in the first picture, I did overproof it a bit. (It sank slightly.)
200 grams rye berries
200 ml water
300 grams rye schrot (cracked rye berries)
50 grams active sourdough starter
200 ml water
100 ml water
10 g salt
24 hours before you plan to bake the bread, soak 200 g of rye berries in 200 g of water.
The evening before you plan to bake the bread, combine 300 g of cracked rye berries, with 50 g of active sourdough starter and 200 ml of water.
The next morning mix rye berries, sourdough mixture, 100 ml water, and 10 g salt.
Knead until combined.
Place in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Place a rack in your oven and a large shallow baking dish on the bottom of the oven.
Place the loaf pan on the rack and add a cup of boiling water to the loaf pan on the bottom.
Close the oven door and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
It should have grown and look a bit domed.
Carefully remove from oven and preheat oven to 220°C.
Bake the bread for 45 minutes.
Remove from pan and bake another 10 to 15 minutes.
Let cool completely.
I recommend to let the bread sit for 24 hours before you slice into it.
Variations: You can also add 50 to 100 g of roasted nuts or seeds to the dough: