Bauernbrot - German Farmer's Bread

German farmer's bread recipe

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  • Total: 5 hrs 40 mins
  • Prep: 4 hrs
  • Cook: 100 mins
  • Yield: 1 loaf (serves 6)

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. This bread freezes well.

Makes one, large Bauernbrot "Laib" or loaf.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • Optional: 1/4 cups sourdough culture

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.

    Ingredients for dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Mix flours, oats, salt, caraway, and instant yeast together in a large bowl.

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

    Mix together
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Add the sour milk, yogurt, and sourdough culture and begin mixing. This is easier if you have a stand mixer, but you can do this with a large spoon, too.

    Add sour milk
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Mix until dough forms a ball, adding water if needed. The dough should be slightly sticky.

    Mix dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Continue kneading, either with the mixer or on a lightly floured board for 5 to 7 minutes.

    Knead dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for 1 minute.

    Let the dough rest
    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 onto a lightly floured board and pat dough into a rectangle. Indent with fingertips down the middle.

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

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

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

    Roll over
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet or cardboard, dust top with flour, and let 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 lamé at least 1/4-inch deep.

    Score dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Bake the Bread

  1. Heat oven to 500 F for 1 hour prior to baking.

  2. Use a baking stone if you have it, according to 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
  3. 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 
  4. 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
  5. Turn oven down to 450 F and bake for 20 minutes.

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

  7. Remove and let cool 2 hours before slicing.

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

    Serve
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Tip

  • To make sourdough culture beforehand, use a great sourdough starter recipe. The sourdough culture used in this recipe was started with Goldrush sourdough starter fed and then refrigerated one day prior to use. It was taken straight from the refrigerator and mixed with the other ingredients immediately.