Sourdough Rhubarb Kuchen

Rhubarb Kuchen

I have a passion for those delicious German cakes that consist of a base of rich bread dough, a lovely layer of fruit, and a sweet crunchy buttery topping. I’ve made some delicious versions over the years – Nigella Lawson has a really good Apple and Blackberry Kuchen in Nigella Bites, for instance – but I’m so into making naturally leavened bread these days that I really wanted to create something with a sourdough base. I was also curious to see if it was possible to make an enriched sourdough, using egg and milk in the dough. I think it works very well – but here’s my recipe – have a go and tell me what you think.

Sourdough Rhubarb Kuchen

(these are the totals – check the recipe to see how much you need to use at each stage)

  • 100g wheat sourdough starter (mine is made according to the instructions in Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley)
  • 100g plain wholemeal flour
  • 200g strong white flour
  • 1 egg
  • 80g milk
  • 3g salt
  • 250g rhubarb
  • 100g plain flour
  • 75g butter
  • 100g granulated sugar

Stage 1
First you need to wake up your sourdough starter. Put 100g of starter in a bowl and add 50g of strong white flour and 50g of plain wholemeal flour and 60g of lukewarm water. Cover and leave in a warm place for 3-4 hours.

Stage 2
Mix together 150g strong white flour, 50g wholemeal flour, 3g salt, 1 egg and 80g milk and knead until you have nice soft dough (7-8 minutes, or quicker in a mixer with a dough hook). Then add all the leaven from the first stage and knead together until soft and elastic. If the dough is very sticky after a couple of minutes kneading then add an extra spoonful of flour. Now cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest and relax for an hour.

Stage 3
Whilst your dough is resting prepare your toppings. Wash and slice 250g of rhubarb thinly (0.5cm slices) on the diagonal, then put aside. In a small bowl rub together 100g plain white flour (or wholemeal if you prefer) and 75g butter until you have a lovely lumpy crumble-type mixure. Stir in a generous 100g of sugar – granulated is fine here and gives a nice crunchy texture. You do need quite a bit of sugar to counteract the sourness of the rhubarb – if you are using a sweeter fruit (dessert plums would be delicious for instance) then use less sugar. Line a large baking tin or tray with baking parchment. I use a roasting tin that measures 30x25cm that works really well – I push the dough right up to the edges.

Stage 4
Chuck your dough onto your prepared tray and press it out so you have a rectangular shape that measures around 30x25cm – it really helps to wet your hands first! Cover the surface with rhubarb and then sprinkle your crumbly topping over the top. Put the tray into a large carrier bag (making sure the bag is nowhere near your kuchen or you will have a very sticky incident) and leave for about 2 hours to rise and become puffy. About 90 minutes into the rising time pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5/190C.

Stage 5
Bake for around 40 minutes until the bread base is cooked through and the crumble topping is golden brown.

Leave to cool and then slice into squares & store in an airtight tin. This is delicious for breakfast and keeps well for 2 or 3 days.

One thought on “Sourdough Rhubarb Kuchen

  1. Hello, I have just mixed up the sourdough starter and the flours, have looked at the recipe and it all makes sense. Someone to whom I promised bread gave me some rhubarb this morning, so it’s all coming together. Hopefully the bread will turn out to be delicious!

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