Soakers, Scalds, and Pre-cooked Additions (Kochstück)

All pre-soaking methods that are used in a recipe require very little work. The implementation of the various methods depends on the intended use, the type of meal and also the water-absorption capacity.

A distinction is made between the following types of pre-soaking:

  • Soakers
  • Scalds
  • Pre-cooked additions (Kochstücke)

1. Soaker:

Medium fine to coarse meal is mixed with water in a ratio of 2:3 and stored overnight at a temperature of 2-5°C. This makes the grain components softer and at the same time creates a pleasant bite. If the soaker is stored at approx. 25-30°C, it may be that extraneous fermentation occurs, which affects the bread flavor. However, if there is no other option for storage, the addition of table salt can prevent extraneous fermentation. If you want to be on the safe side, you can add the entire amount of salt to the soaker.


Mix wheat and rye meal with lukewarm water (30°C) until free of lumps, cover and store at 5°C for up to 24 hours. If the recipe calls for seeds or grains, these can be added in the soaking phase. 

Quick notes:

  • Bulk liquid temperature: 20-35°C
  • Soaking temperature: 20-30°C
  • Standing time: 12-16 hours
  • Soaker hydration (TA): 100% (200)
  • Optimal soaker amount: 30-50% max: 75%

2. Scald

In this process, boiling water is poured over the meal and is then stirred together with a spoon. The water content depends on the fineness of the meal, that means, the finer the meal the higher the water absorption. 


Heat the portioned water for the preparation to a boiling point of 98°C. Pour the boiled water immediately over the spelt flour or the meal being used. By mixing hot water and room temperature flour, the scald cools down immediately to 60°C. That is why it is important that the water is heated to the boiling point! This is the only way to ensure complete gelatinization and pre-swelling of the starch.

If this is not observed, the following errors can occur:

  • Dough is too weak
  • Lower stability during kneading
  • Slack dough
  • Low volume increase
  • Dry crumb and short shelf life

The Scald can be stored at 2-5°C for up to a week.

Bread in the Scald:

To improve the taste of the bread and then cohesion of the crumb, it is recommended to add finely chopped bread. It is best to mix the leftover bread dry with the meal and only then add the hot water and stir. With this process, the flavor of the bread is well rounded and “malty”.

Quick notes:

  • Bulk liquid temperature: 98-100°C
  • Soaking temperature: 50-70°C
  • Standing time: 3-4 hours
  • Scald hydration (TA): 150% (250)
  • Optimal scald addition: 30%(max: 50%)

3. Pre-cooked additions (Kochstück)*

  • To make the pre-cooked portion, the grains and water are mixed to a hydration (TA) of 100-150% (200-300) and brought to a simmer in a covered saucepan until all of the water is absorbed (DO NOT FULLY COOK). In this process, some of the starch already gelatinizes. The pre-cooked portion is then cooled back down to 25°C and can be used after an hour.

With this method, wholemeal bread stays fresh for longer and has a more elastic and moist crumb.

Quick notes:

  • Bulk water temperature: just to the boiling point
  • Soaking temperature: 80-95°C
  • Standing time: 1 hour
  • Hydration (TA): 150% (300)
  • Optimal pre-cooked addition: 10-20% max. 25%

*Translator’s note: This process is sometimes referred to as a porridge addition when coarse meal or flaked grains are pre-cooked. You may also see this referred to as gruel