Author: Desislava Georgieva
Published On: 15/12/2023

EcoVarna’s travelling eco-workshop docks this weekend at Club Daedalus. Ilian Iliev from the Public Center for Environment and Sustainable Development, under the expert guidance of the master baker Chef Kosta Zhivkov, presented techniques for making healthy homemade bread. Apart from the traditional white wheat bread, young and old lovers of healthy eating mixed up Chef Zhivkov’s favourite rye-wheat bread, corn somun, as well as dough for focaccia and pizza.

All of them were made with starter made the day before from flour, dry yeast and water. All starters, except the rye starter, can be prepared two hours before kneading. During the workshop, Kosta Zhivkov and Ilian Iliev demonstrated the technique of kneading dough, as well as the subtleties for a delicious and crispy crust. Very important for retaining moisture during baking is, besides the leaven, the “sealing” of the bread with a special mixture during its rising. It is made from a little flour and water, and a lot of stirring. About 50 g of flour is whisked with a little lukewarm water until it forms a homogeneous mixture. It is then scalded with about 250 g boiling water, stirring constantly. The flour becomes transparent and thickens. It takes on the aroma of steamed dough. It becomes a sticky mush. It is used for all kinds of breads and is spread during the rising process. The dough may not be turned afterwards, but must remain warm. “Especially for a thin and nice crust, you have to spread this dough,” says Kosta Zhivkov, who learned the technique from his first teacher in Bulgaria. He carried it over to Germany, where he now works in a luxury bread bakery. He took up the craft in 1992, initially making pies and snacks. Now he makes wholemeal sommuns, for which Germans pay €6.

For the readers of EcoVarna we reveal the recipe for the favorite bread of chef Zhivkov – the rye-wheat bread. For 1 kg you need rye flour type 1150, white flour type 550, dry yeast – three packets, salt and water.

How is the rye starter prepared?

Ingredients for 750 g:

Rye flour type 1150 – 250 g.

250 g of dry yeast – 7 g

Water – 500 g.

Stir the ingredients in a deep container. Let the mixture rise for 24 h at room temperature.

For the dough:

Rye flour type 1150 – 250 g

White flour type 550 – 500 g

Rye starter – 750 g

Dry yeast – 14 g

Salt – 20 g

Water – 200 g

Mix all the ingredients together with the starter. Knead the dough and leave it to rise. Divide into parts. Place in moulds lined with baking paper and leave to rise. When it starts to rise, spread it for a crust. Bake for about an hour at 200 degrees (the temperature and time may vary according to the type and characteristics of the oven).

Bread spread for crust

Ingredients:

White flour – 50 g

Water – 300 g

Preparation:

Stir the white flour with warm water to make a homogeneous mixture. Pour 250 g boiling water over the mixture, stirring constantly until homogenised. The final product should have a slightly yellowish colour.

It can be stored in a jar in a refrigerator or chamber for longer.

The traditional stop of the EcoVarna Healthy Bread Workshop is at the EcoCamps in s. Ezerets in late August and early September. There, the somuns are baked without electricity, in an oven in the ground.

If you would like a live demonstration of the techniques for making homemade healthy bread, you can invite our travelling workshop to visit. Arrangements for the visit are to be negotiated further.

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This material is created with the financial support of the European Union, in the framework of project Climate action by European citizens delivers for development CSO-LA/2018/160048-1/23. Only the authors are responsible for the content and in no circumstances, it can be treated as the official position of the European Union.