When you walk past the bakery early in the morning, you’re nostrils are filled with the wonderful aroma of freshly baked pastries making it difficult not to throw open the door and rush into the small building to ask for a bread roll or some other sweet treat that has been freshly baked there in the round wooden oven.
Dry beech, birch and a little pine wood are burned here as they are especially suitable for baking. The fire is lit late in the evening allowing the firebrick to slowly absorb heat throughout the night. The heat necessary for the baking process is then released slowly the following morning. Before we start baking in the morning however, some embers and ashes are swept out of the oven. This is what creates the typical, slightly smoky ‹stone oven flavour› of our products.
The demeter standard grain we use is stored above in the attic and passes down through our ‹East Tyrolean Stone Mill› into the bakery. It is then used as a wholemeal flour for most of our breads. For the finer dough however, a sieve machine is needed to separate this wholemeal flour into bran and fine flour.
The typical, slightly smoky
‹stone oven flavour› of bread …
Sourdough is prepared the afternoon before it is baked as it needs this time to rise properly. Yeast dough products however, are made directly before being baked.
Most kinds of dough are kneaded by hand – it’s only when we are preparing larger quantities that we use the kneading machine. The dough is then mixed well and made into their ideal shape. We use fermenting baskets (baking bowls made of rattan palms, which make the bread into wonderfully uniform shapes), the well-known method using box shapes (both containers are placed in the oven) to do so. Sometimes we also use a method of “free-fermenting” although this requires a little more skill from the bakers!
After the loaves have been made into the desired shape, a wooden slider is used to place them carefully inside the opening of the furnace. Each type of bread has its own individual fermentation and baking time. On top of that, when you use a wood burning oven you have to be aware of how the heat behaves. In the end this is what dictates how long it will take before the bread is finally ready. This is a sensitive process which must be accompanied by watchful eyes to ensure consistent quality. Not every day is the same in the bakery! When the wind blows past the chimney too much for example, the heat of the stove can be lost quicker than expected and the baker must be ready to make allowances for this.
When all the freshly baked loaves of bread lie on the baker’s table their heavenly aroma wafts through the room. Now they only have a short way left to go to reach their destination – once they have cooled slightly, they will embark on their journey to the farm shop. Here they will attract the attention of customers from their places on the shelves.
The Sammatz children call the wood fired bread “T-Shirt Bread” on account of its distinctive cross-section design… fresh from the oven it is devoured faster than cake! Wholemeal rye bread, carrot bread, Sunday bread – the bread alone makes Michaelshof worth a visit.
that must be accompanied by watchful eyes …
The wide array of sweet and savoury bread rolls and the delicate pastries such as poppy seed and nut rolls are also very tempting. Children are not the only ones who love the soft chocolate rolls! Every now and then we are lucky enough to have the kitchen team pay us a visit in the bakery. There is great demand for the stone-baked pizza they make which is baked for a short time at a high temperature.
The ‹Pizza-Day› – which so far has unfortunately only taken the form of a separate lunch – is very popular with everyone; including our volunteers, amongst whom even the Italians are (mostly) satisfied.