The heritage of the Alte Mühle and the best bread in the world

In the weeks before Thanksgiving, our neighbours often stick their noses in the air, sniff and ask: "What's that good stuff in the oven? The answer comes promptly: Well, our Bauernbreatl! We'll tell you a little later what it's all about and how you can bake it at home, but first we'd like to quote our boss, who can't take a joke when it comes to culinary quality and can get quite heated when a salesman tries to sell him frozen rolls for our breakfast buffet: "Go to hell with your Böselwerch! In good German that means: "You can eat your own unhealthy chemical rolls. And Sepp is right, what kind of old mill would we be if we didn't bake bread? 

A delicious piece of history

If you know our house and its history a little, you will of course already know that our hotel was in fact once the village mill. If you like, you can find out more about it here. In the days of our great-great-grandfathers, a village mill was quite an important place, because it was here that grain was processed into one of the most important staple foods of all: Flour. And that, in turn, did not keep indefinitely, especially in those times. The sometimes harsh climate and the remoteness made the South Tyroleans true masters of preservation: By boiling, preserving, drying, salting or baking, they were able to preserve food for a long time and keep their hungry (and usually numerous) children fed during the hard winter months.

To each valley its bread
Keyword "full": Anyone who thinks that in South Tyrol one loaf of bread is like another is very much mistaken. As with the dialect, the regional art of baking is extremely multifaceted. First of all, there is the crispy Schüttelbrot, for which you need pretty good teeth and which probably originated in Vinschgau. The Eisacktalers like their Schüttelbrot a little thicker. And we here in the Ahrntal bake the Bauernbreatl. What all types of bread have in common: They can be baked excellently in stock and have a long shelf life. Because there was a lot of other work to do, in the past they only baked two or three times a year on the farms. But don't worry, nowadays we reach for the fresh bread dough much more often. We think there is nothing more delicious than a slice of fresh bread with alpine butter and Beatrice's homemade jam. We put both, jam and bread, together with other delicacies in our Thanksgiving basket and bring it to the consecration. For those who are so richly blessed by nature and agriculture may well say thank you to the Lord God, mayn't they? And now it's your turn! Here you will find our best recipe for the Ahrntaler Bauernbreatl:

Ingredients for Ahrntaler Bauernbreatl:
500g rye flour
500g wheat flour type 0
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons gipsy herb
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon aniseed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
30g salt
1l lukewarm water
50g yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
50g room temperature butter

This is how to prepare the dough:
Prepare a pre-dough with the yeast, the sugar and some lukewarm water. Stir well! Then add the rest of the water and the butter. Then it's time for the flour, salt and spices before kneading the dough for 8 minutes on medium speed. If you don't have a food processor, you can also knead the dough by hand, which takes a little longer and saves you the weight training. Then it's time for a break. Cover the dough and let it rest for an hour. Then form two balls from the dough, place them on a baking tray dusted with flour and let them rest for another good half hour, covered. Finally, turn your oven on to 180 degrees and bake your loaves for 45 minutes.

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