June 26, 2012

Buntzen Lake and "Wurzelbrot"

The past weekend we finally got a chance to hike in an area we wanted to explore all spring and early summer long: The Buntzen Lake Reservoir. We started off on the Buntzen Lake Trail and continued on the Diez Vistas Trail, which offers amazing viewpoints that overlook Indian Arm and pretty much all of Vancouver. While the Buntzen Lake Trail leads you through the forest close to the water's edge and is more of a walk than a hike, the Diez Vistas is meant for more adventurous hikers and starts at the northern tip of Buntzen Lake. It was a nice day's outing, a perfect destination for a Sunday hike, and we finally got a chance this year to enjoy Vancouver's awesome surroundings.

Inspired by all the amazing trees and their incredibly beautiful networks of roots, we decided to bake a loaf originally known in German as "Wurzelbrot". It's a twisted, typical Swiss bread, that reminds one of roots (Wurzeln). Looking for a formula, we decided that we liked Bernd's the best, and gave it a shot. Unlike most other recipes for this kind of bread, the leavening agent is a sourdough culture as opposed to commercial yeast. We used our white culture, and added some whole wheat to the final dough, to give it a rustic touch. For flouring the work surface we used whole rye flour, which gave the crust a really nice rustic look and made it extra crunchy. 

Recipe for two loaves of "Wurzelbrot"

290 gr all-purpose flour (74%)
100 gr whole wheat flour (26%)
200 gr white sourdough culture at 100% hydration (51%)
250 gr water (64%)
9 gr salt (2.5%)

Mix to incorporate all the ingredients, except for the salt, and let it rest for 30 minutes for the autolyse. Now add the salt and knead to fully develop the dough. Bulk ferment for two hours, doing a stretch and fold every 30 minutes (four times). Then let it ferment for one more hour. Sprinkle some whole rye flour on a clean and dry work surface, divide the dough in half, and stretch gently lengthwise. Sprinkle more whole rye flour on top of them, then cover and let the pre-shaped loaves proof for about 45 minutes to an hour (Make sure there is enough rye flour, so that they won't stick to the work surface). After the final proof twist the loaves gently about three times, bake them right away for approximately 25 minutes on a hot stone in a pre-heated oven at 500 F. Steam the loaves right after you put them in the oven using your favourite steaming method.

We will submit this post to YeastSpotting.


  1. Wow. This looks wonderful and the hike sounds great. I hiked/walked Brothers Creek Loop a few weekends back and made a baumkuchen afterwards - likewise inspired by the trees.

    Please keep up your great posts! I'm inspired by your obvious love of bread to try harder at my own bread making.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! Indeed we love bread and baking it, and we have lots of fun sharing what we are doing here on this blog.

      I found pictures from the "Baumkuchen" you made; it looks fantastic!

      Cheers, Lisa

  2. Where do I read how to make sense of this ? 200 gr white sourdough culture at 100% hydration (51%) I don't understand the (51%) thanks

    1. I've tried to explain this in our Baker's Math post. I've also explained there that it's not always very easy and straightforward to understand. What it all means in this particular formula is this: there are 200 gr of a 100% hydration white sourdough culture (so, 100 gr of all-purpose flour and 100 gr of water); the amount of this sourdough culture (200 gr) represents 51% of the total amount of flour in the final dough formula (290 gr all-purpose + 100 gr whole wheat = 390 gr flour). Hope it all makes a bit of sense.

    2. Sure dose ,thank you