29 July 2012

Swabian Farm Loaf – “Eingnetztes”

‘Eingnetzes’ is a crusty wheat bread typical for the region of Swabia. The dough is relatively soft and it is left to rise in the mixing bowl. The loaf is baked without a tin so its shape varies from time to time. As its surface is not cut before it is put into the oven it rips open at one side, forming a characteristic 'knobbly bit' (called Knauzen in Swabian). The Knauzen is particularly crusty and is seen by many as the best bit of the bread! The word ‘Eingnetztes’ derives from the German verb ‘benetzen’, which translates as ‘to wet’ or ‘to dampen’. This makes sense, because the bread is lifted onto the baking stone or hot baking sheet with wet hands. It is also brushed with some more water for the last few minutes, which gives the loaf its typical shiny crust. Traditionally, the dough was turned out directly onto the stone oven from a wet bowl or large ladle.

The bread is fairly easy to make but the main issue is getting hold of the right flour. Before I started getting into baking ‘serious’ bread I tended to use only plain wheat flour and in some instances wholemeal wheat flour. In Germany the types of flour sold differ considerable from those available in the UK. The main difference – and most relevant for baking bread – is the availability of many different ‘flour types’ (Typen) in Germany. The lower the type number, the whiter the flour or, in other words, the higher the flour type number the more percentage of the whole grain is left in the flour. Regular UK plain flour corresponds roughly to the German flour Typ 405. For baking bread a higher and more rustic type of flour is usually used. Wheat flour used for baking non-wholemeal bread is usually Typ 1050 and rye flour Typ 1150. These are darker than plain white flour, but not as dark as wholemeal. Occasionally I ask visitors to bring me a few bags of Typen flour from Germany or I bring some back when I have been on a visit to Germany myself. However, I have found that a mix of plain and wholemeal flour available in the UK has given me more than acceptable results. All the breads posted in this blog, for example, were baked with regular plain and wholemeal flours.

If you can get your hands on Typen flour I suggest using a mix of Typ 1050 and wheat wholemeal flour. If not, just follow the recipe below. This makes one large loaf. The pre-dough and sourdough keep the bread fresher for longer and they also improve its flavour a lot. It takes a while to make, but it is certainly worth it!

For the pre-dough:

100 g plain flour
100 g wholemeal wheat flour
10 g fresh yeast
200 ml lukewarm water

For the sourdough:

100 g wholemeal rye flour
100 g lukewarm water
1 tablespoon rye sourdough starter

Other ingredients:

300 g plain flour
300 g wholemeal wheat flour
15 g salt
1 tablespoon honey
300 ml lukewarm water

For the pre-dough: dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and mix in the flour. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a lid and leave to rest at room temperature for an hour and then in the fridge overnight or for about 12 hours. For the sourdough: mix all three ingredients, cover and leave to rest in a warm place (28 degrees are ideal – placing the sourdough in a coolbox with a warm hot water bottle works a treat!) overnight or for about 12 hours.

When you are ready to bake mix the pre-dough and sourdough with all the remaining ingredients and knead well for about 10 minutes. The dough is relatively soft (but nothing like as sticky as pure rye sourdough). Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up fold the dough in the bowl. It is easiest to do this by moving your hand under the dough, grabbing a bit, pulling it up and folding it over. Do this about 4-5 times moving clockwise (or counter clockwise) around the bowl. Leave to rest again for 30 minutes, then fold again and leave to rest while you preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven to about 240 degrees. If you have a bread baking stone you should heat this up in the oven. If not, place a strong baking sheet in the oven to heat up. When the oven is hot take the ball of dough out of the bowl with very wet hands and place it on a chopping board covered in baking paper. Pull the loaf onto the hot baking stone or baking sheet with the paper and spray some water into the oven. Bake at 240 degrees for about 15 minutes then decrease the temperature gradually to 200 degrees. The bread needs to bake for about one hour. You can pull out the baking paper after 20 minutes so it doesn’t burn.

When the bread is done briefly take it out of the oven and wet it with water (you can use a brush or just your wet hands, if you are hard like me). Put it back into the hot oven for about 2 minutes. This makes the crust nice and shiny. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. This freezes very well.

For fun and a bit of blog networking I am submitting this post to Yeastspotting.


  1. I like the looks of the recipe. I've never thought about a bauernbrot type recipe with the hydration level of a ciabatta, but obviously, it's doable. This may take some practice.

  2. Hi - definitely give it a go! I was worried a bit the first time I baked this, but it is actually not too bad at all. Certainly compared to rye bread this dough is almost easy to handle. It tastes really good - it's my favourite bread at the moment.