Herman Bread and two Herman fails!

As I said in my post last night I had just cooked a Herman Lemon Drizzle Cake and a plain Herman Bread was having an overnight proof, both of which I finished off today as well as trialing Herman Blueberry Pancakes. As you can see from the title of this post it is about Herman Bread and two Herman fails. I am a little upset about this, I know I am experimenting with Herman but putting time into a recipe that then doesn’t work is disheartening, especially when I love lemon drizzle cake and the kids and I love blueberry pancakes.

I had promised the kids blueberry pancakes and had worked out a vague recipe using Herman to make this morning for breakfast, well lets just say we had a few tears (not from me, I must add) and I certainly didn’t take any pictures. They didn’t even look like pancakes, just piles of burnt sticky stuff. Ah well, I will try again with a different recipe.

My next disappointment came with the Lemon Herman Drizzle Cake. The lemon drizzle cake smelled great when it was cooking last night and came out looking lovely, I decorated it this morning and spent time taking photos, trying to set it up in the best light with some good props. I am not sure why but the taste and texture of it was just wrong, it was so dense and the taste of the lemon just didn’t come through the Herman flavour, it did look good though. I may trial a different Lemon Herman Drizzle Cake recipe but I have a feeling that the same will happen with the lemon flavour just not complimenting the Herman flavour.

Lemon Herman Drizzle Cake looking lovely before I cut into it and saw that it just wasn’t right – I was a bit upset

On to the Herman Bread, I wanted to see what a very basic Herman Bread would turn out like and thankfully this one did turn out alright. I am not sure I would just bake this plain Herman Bread but would definitely add to it with fruit, nuts or chocolate.

Herman Bread

  • 400g strong bread flour
  • 100ml water
  • 1 portion of Herman

Combine the ingredients and knead until very smooth, I did this in a freestanding mixer and mixed for about 20 minutes.

I let this stand in the mixing bowl over night at room temperature. This morning I took the dough out, knocked it back and left it to rest on the side for 1/2 hour. I then shaped it to put into a large, greased loaf tin. I then put this into the airing cupboard for 3 hours to rise again.

Preheat the oven to your ovens hottest setting. Place the tin on the middle shelf in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at the high temperature then reduce to Gas 4/180C and cook for a further 45 minutes.

Put the tin on a cooling rack and leave until cool before taking the bread out of the tin.

Basic Herman Bread – very sweet but very yummy

This is just a basic recipe but would be great with other additions.

For now,


This entry was published on May 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm. It’s filed under Baking, Herman, Recipes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “Herman Bread and two Herman fails!

  1. Lace hearts on said:

    This is brilliant. I was wondering if I could turn my herman into a sourdough bread, but hadn’t thought I could because of the sugar. But then again, there is sugar in bread, so duh to me! I’ll give it a go when Herman’s ready. x

  2. Heather on said:

    I added the bread ingredients as above, left the mixture to prove overnight. Then this morning rolled it out to it was a rectangle, approx 20 x 18 cm,i spread it with 4 tbsps of butter at room temperature then sprinkled with a cup of light brown sugar mixed with 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon. Rolled tightly up & cut into rounds. I got 20. Left to prove till they had doubled in size & baked @ 170 oc (fan). Till brown and mixture had melted. Delis.

    • Hi Heather, that sounds super 😀 I did try some chelsea type buns but they burned lots so will have to give your recipe a go 🙂 What size tin did you bake the rounds in?
      Must admit my Herman is having a bit of a rest in the freezer at the moment, as it is the school hols and we have different things planned I thought Herman may get neglected. Will be back to Herman baking after the hols 🙂

      • Heather on said:

        Just used a flat baking sheet. For the topping I mixed icing sugar, milk & a drop of vanilla extract to a runny paste, then applied to cook bun, they are yum!
        Can you freeze the starter?

      • Yes, I had one portion in the freezer for a couple of weeks and he came out fine, needs feeding as soon as he comes out though 🙂
        I think this one will be in for a bit longer though so am hoping he will be ok. If not I will start again from scratch 🙂

  3. I made the Lemon Drizzle Herman Cake yesterday. I followed the recipe exactly. I was worried that it would be soggy in the middle cos I only cooked it for 45 mins and then read about your failure! But mine is perfect!! The only difference is, looking at yours, it is much deeper than mine. I used my Christmas cake time 23 X 23 cm because the mixture looked too big for my loaf tin. The texture is similar to a Chelsea bun so might add raisins another time 😉

    • Hi Mary, I love hearing about how others get on with my recipes and it is great to hear that your Lemon Drizzle Herman Cake turned out well. That is a good idea to put the mix in a bigger tin. I also think raisins would make a very nice addition, lemon and raisin do seem to go well together 🙂

  4. Francesca on said:

    Hi Catherine, I’m an Italian Herman lover and I have my Herman going on right now… and I need help!
    I kept him in my freezer for 10 months (!) and I’m now doing my best to make him grow and strong enough to bake bread or cakes with no baking powder added. I’m feeding him but I’m not following the instructions as he didn’t look that good after thawing, so I’m feeding him a little every day and whisking him very hard twice a day, and also keeping him warm in my oven (my house is a little cold now) with the lamp on. He bubbles (mostly after whisking him, of course!) but he doesn’t foam or double his size after feeding him: how does yours react after feeding? and how can I understand when he will be strong enough?
    I have to say that Italian Hermans are smaller than yours, about 100-150 grams I guess, but I’m getting plenty of Herman with all the feeding!
    I would love it if you wrote your Herman recipes book! I’m looking for Herman recipes with no baking powder or baking soda added (I do not mind waiting even 12 hours until the dough or the batter is ready to bake!), and finally my last question: why do you add baking powder to the Herman mixture to bake cakes? I thought this may be to save time, or to add Herman flavor to the cake, or because Herman is not strong enough to work good without “help”…
    Thank you… and I hope you are going on with your Herman recipes!
    Francesca (Italy)

    • Hi Francesca,
      Sorry I am only just getting back to you! How is Herman?

      I think to test to see if he is alive you should leave him for 24 hours without whisking to see if he does change in size at all.

      How does he smell? Is it a sweet beer smell or something else?

      Herman has yeast in so will give a little bit of a rise to cakes but is more useful to make bread recipes rise. Adding baking powder to make a cake makes a lighter cake as Herman is very liquid the cake may be a bit heavy.

      I hope this has helped a little bit.
      Kind regards,

      • Francesca on said:

        Dear Catherine,
        My Herman is very fine now! He doubles in size every 12 hours and smells like beer, alcohol and yogurt! I tried to bake two smallest round breads (buns?) and they came out good, just a little overcooked (I cared about Herman’s work more than the recipe and the baking time!) but Herman worked good! I have some questions now.

        I let the dough rise in a bowl covered with plastic film, but I noticed a crust on the surface of the dough after rising; this also happened when I let the dough rise again after shaping the small breads. I guess that the crust didn’t allow the dough to rise more while baking, and there was a big hole, like an air bubble, just under the top of one of my small breads. Do you get the crust too? Is that because of the sugar contained in Herman? Or maybe because I put the dough in the warm oven (it was off, with the lamp on) to rise, and it was too warm?

        My Herman mini breads were good, not very soft (but I didn’t add any oil and overcooked them) but risen and I could eat them, but they tasted a lot like Herman! I followed your recipe: does your bread taste like Herman too? Should I use less quantity of Herman? I let the dough rise 9 hours after kneading, and 12 hours after shaping the small breads.

        I’m very involved in experimenting with Herman… I so want to use it to make good products! Thanks for your suggestions! 😉

  5. Hi Bella and Will
    I suspect the acidity of the lemon killed the yeast? Try using grated zest which imparts a wonderful lemony or orangy flavour.
    I have made several Herman experiments and using dark brown sugar for the Herman and the mix makes the cake flavoursome. I also have converted to using wholemeal flour when making the cake as it is still moist and light and yummy. I experimented with using rye flour to make bread, so quick and easy. It was a little dense, but the flavour was there, I possibly didn’t prove it enough the second time. It had a slightly alcoholic flavour, which worried me a little. And it was a little too sweet for my liking. I was wondering if we could use less sugar in the Herman, or would it make the mix go off? My next experiment is using hard wheat flour in the Herman, to see if I can get better lightness in the bread through the gluten allowing the bubbles in the bread to form and hold rather than burst as in a cake texture. I’m a bit reluctant to use rye again, I was wondering if ergot floats around in the air to contaminate my mix, hopefully not as in the in Middle Ages where Ergot poisoning was rife. All up it has been a wonderful journey with Herman the German!

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