Bauernbrot: German Farmer's Bread

German farmer's bread recipe

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 4 hrs
Cook: 100 mins
Total: 5 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
450 Calories
3g Fat
90g Carbs
17g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 450
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 753mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 156mg 12%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 443mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe is one of the easiest for recreating the German bread experience. It uses half white and half whole-wheat flours, some sourdough for taste, and caraway seeds. Two rises make this bread light and easy to slice. It's perfect for serving with soup or for Abendbrot, or "evening bread" where a spread of sandwich fixings is laid out for the family to enjoy. This recipe makes one large bauernbrot "laib" or loaf and freezes well.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or white bread flour

  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 1/4 cup sourdough culture

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water, optional

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this German farmer's bread is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    German Farmers Bread Dough Ingredients
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Mix the flours, oats, salt, caraway seed, and instant yeast together in a large bowl.

    German dough dry ingredients
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska​
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the milk and vinegar to create a sour milk.

    German Bread Sour Milk
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska​
  4. Add the sour milk, yogurt, and sourdough culture and begin mixing. It is easiest with a stand mixer, but you can also use a large spoon.

    German Farmers Bread Dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska​
  5. Mix until the dough forms a ball, adding the water if needed. The dough should be slightly sticky.

    German Farmers Bread Dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska​ 
  6. Continue kneading either with the mixer or on a lightly floured board for 5 to 7 minutes.

    Kneading German Farmers Bread Dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska​
  7. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for 1 minute.

    German Farmers Dough Resting
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska​
  8. Form into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the top.

    Roll ball
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

    Cover with towel
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Shape the Dough

  1. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board and pat it into a rectangle. Indent with fingertips down the middle.

    Shape dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Fold a third of the dough to the middle, lengthwise, pulling dough taut on the bottom. Press the seam a little to seal.

    Roll dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Fold the other third to the middle (pulling the dough taut) and pinch the seam closed.

    Fold over
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Roll over, the dough seam-side down, and rock gently while rounding the ends to make the loaf either longer or fatter, whichever you prefer.

    Roll over
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet or cardboard, dust the top with flour, and let it rise until doubled.

    Shape dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. About 30 minutes before you plan on baking, slash the top with a sharp razor blade or lame at least 1/4-inch deep.

    Score dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Bake the Bread

  1. Heat the oven to 500 F for 1 hour prior to baking. Use a baking stone if you have one, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Otherwise, place an old pan on the bottom rack and set the second rack in the middle.

    Oven
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Place the bread on the middle rack (still on the parchment or floured baking pan), pour 2 cups of hot water into the old pan, and close the door.

    Bake bread
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  3. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the sides of the oven after 2, 5, and 7 minutes.

    Spray bread
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Turn the oven down to 450 F and bake for 20 minutes.

  5. Turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a temperature probe measures 190 F to 200 F or the loaf is brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

  6. Remove and let cool 2 hours before slicing.

    Remove bread
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Enjoy along with your favorite soup or sandwich.

    Serve
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Sourdough Starter Tips

  • Make the sourdough culture beforehand; feed and then refrigerate at least one day prior to use. You can take it straight from the refrigerator and mix it with the other ingredients immediately.
  • If your sourdough starter separates (a clear liquid with a layer of flour), simply stir it to recombine before using.
  • If the starter smells bad, is an off color, or shows signs of growing mold, throw it out.