Zwieback (meaning “twice baked” in German) exists in one form or another in many countries. Here in the US it’s referred to as rusks. There are subtle differences of texture, sweetness, and ingredients – having been raised on Zwieback, that’s my gold standard and what I am trying to emulate.

Today I baked a 100% whole grain version. The texture isn’t as tender as when using refined flour; but it tastes great and has decent nutritional value too.

Zwieback is extremely versatile. It’s a great snack on its own, with a bit of cold butter; it’s not too sweet so it’s also great with a savory topping; you can crumble it to make wonderful bread crumbs; and an unusual but delicious variation is to break it into bite-sized chunks and serve it like a cold cereal with milk and fruit. Best of all, it has an almost indefinite shelf life.

Trying different ways of shaping a loaf ...

... didn't really make much difference

The final product

100% Whole Wheat Zwieback
Ingredients in baker’s percentages:
   100% whole wheat flour
   10% butter, room temperature
   8% sugar
   2% salt
   whole milk

Make a preferment using 10-20% of the flour, yeast, and milk to 100% hydration. Let it rise at room temperature for 6h.
Mix the preferment with the remaining flour, sugar, and salt. Mix with as much milk as necessary to make a moderately soft dough and knead for a little while. Finally add in cubed, softened butter and knead until smooth and shiny.
Let it rise, folding it once or twice. Bake in a loaf pan for 45-60 minutes at 380F.
Next day, slice thinly, arrange the slices on a grate, and slowly toast them to a golden color in a 300F oven.

YeastSpotting submission #9

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