By Greg B. I’m writing this after the fact, and we all know the Ravens blew it (though I personally suspect the Ravens had a legit touchdown with 16 seconds to go, but the Refs disagreed). In preparation for this game, I decided to try to my hand at baking some German bread, perhaps, the best bread around. Brotchen. And for my effort, I decided to try Rye Laughenbrotchen, as a great counterpoint to a venison chili. And what better compliment to the Laugenbrotchen than to eat it with some great mustard, a stone ground maple whole grain mustard. It was an epic day, stomach aches from the game, stomach pleasure from the food!
For the brotchen recipe, I found a great sounding recipe from this website, that I used as my base recipe, with slight changes. The recipe is pretty straightforward, and oh man does it produce a great roll! For this, you’ll need
- 2 cups white flour
- 0.5 cup rye flour
- 1 tablespoon butter, diced
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 package yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- **pot of water, half gallon, not measured
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
Mix the sugar, water and yeast and let rise for 10 minutes. Once the yeast are happily bubbling away, mix them with the flour and kneed a good 5+ minutes, until everything is incorporated and the dough is firm, yet not sticky. Add the salt, kneed another minute, then set the dough aside to let it rise until doubled, about an hour. Break into 50gram balls and set onto a sheet, letting them double in size as well. Once doubled, boil the water and heat your stove to 415F. To to boiling water, add the salt and the baking soda. Then one at a time, add the small rolls, being sure to roll them in the salty mixture so both sides are bathing in the water. Do this for 30 seconds, remove, and proceed with the next roll. This recipe yields 8 rolls. Once all rolls have been in the bath, cut a cross on top, add kosher salt or sesame seeds and bake for 20 minutes.
This produces a fantastic, crunchy crust, moist interior salty and flavorful brotchen, it’s amazing. It’s a great counterpoint to the food, which we’ll get to in a moment.
The chili was a pretty standard chili, except it was made with super tasty sika deer meat, from my hunting buddy Bart’s fall harvest. Tomato paste, onions, crushed tomatoes, kidney, pinto and great northern beans were simmered with garlic, green peppers and a mixture of cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, chili powder. The chili, of course, was damn tasty. And it’s just what you want to eat when watching some football on an icy and chilly winter day. We topped it with some reduced fat cheddar from Cabot, one of my favorite cheddar. It was a great chili, hearty, thick, and real rich and deep with the sika deer meat in it. I dipped the rye laugenbrotchen in and savored the hints of rye, the salted brotchen and the hearty, rich chili. Delicious.
But, before the chili was ready, I had freshly baked rye laugenbrotchen, still slightly warm from the oven and I needed to chow down. It was, after all, the start of the game. So I popped the cap on a tasty brew, Dogfish Head’s Raison d’etre, grabbed a couple of the brotchen, and cracked the lid on a jar of some awesome mustard from Vermont, a jar of Maple Whole Grain mustard from Green Mountain Mustard. It’s a great balance of sweet and tart, with a hint of that rich maple syrup we all know and love from Vermont (their website says they use the very flavorful grade B syrup, which is also my personal favorite for brewing purposes). The wholegrain texture also adds a great element to the mustard. In short, if you’re in range (they sell to 70+ stores and counting, throughout Vermont) to sample this mustard, I recommend it! It was another good pairing with the rye, where the mustard paired so nicely with that grainy, slightly ‘spicy’ flavor of the rye with the sharpness and sweetness of the mustard. Wash it all down with a swig of great beer, and you’ve got yourself a great snack!