German Farmer’s Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: U.S. About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

My First Overseas Baking Job was in Germany in 1977. The breads baked either in one of the bakery’s 12 steam-injected wood-burning brick ovens (six more were in the process of being built), or in the massive tunnel oven, where products entered the oven at one end, and were brought along on a chain-driven mechanism until they were removed at the far end, fully baked. One of the bakery’s signature breads was made with quark (a cultured milk product somewhat similar to sour cream). This formula is my approximation of the bread, and one I have been very fond of over the years. Although it seems almost too similar to the Whey Bread, a side-by-side bake would reveal differences in their characters (like siblings, the two are connected yet distinct), and for bakers unable to source fresh whey, this bread is a good alternative. Unlike many bakers, I am not opposed to making doughs that don’t utilize pre-ferments, as long as they receive adequate fermentation and a good bold bake. Baking the German Farmer’s Bread to a great depth of color, with varying brown and gold tones all over the loaf, as if it were a burnished Japanese teacup, brings a most enticing beauty, aroma, and flavor to the bread.

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 17.6 lb 8.8 kg 1 lb, 12.2 oz (6⅜ cups) 88%
Whole Rye Flour 2.4 lb 1.2 kg 3.8 oz (1 cup) 12%
Water 14 lb 7 kg 1 lb, 6.4 oz ( cups) 70%
Sugar .24 lb .12 kg .4 oz ( tsp) 1.2 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T) 2%
Yogurt 1.4 lb .7 kg 2.3 oz (¼ cup) 7%
Yeast .2 lb, fresh .1 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry (1 tsp) 1%
Total Yield 36.24 lb 18.12 kg 3 lb, 9.8 oz 181.2 %


  1. 1. MIXING: Place all the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix for 8 minutes on first speed. The dough will be fairly loose textured with modest gluten development. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  2. BULK FERMENTATION: 3 hours.
  3. FOLDING: Fold the dough twice, after 1 hour and 2 hours of fermentation. Bring as much strength as possible into the dough by folding with confidence and care; this will overcome the intentional lack of significant gluten development that occurred during mixing.
  4. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces (or larger). Preshape, and when sufficiently relaxed, shape into strong round loaves. Place in floured bannetons.
  5. FINAL FERMENTATION: About 1 hour at 75°F.
  6. BAKING: With normal steam, 460°F. Bake this bread until it achieves a full rich crust color. You may need to lower the oven temperature by 10°F for the last part of the bake. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds should bake for 36 to 38 minutes. A full bake is recommended.