Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bread - Number 27: Correcting for Airhead Tendencies Produces Perfect Rye

Bread - Number 27: Two more tries of rye + starter + caraway seeds = delicious

My evening routine before bed now consists of reading about bread. I continue to savor Six Thousand Years of Bread, a masterpiece, and I am also slowly combing through the birthday bread books, which will take the better part of a year. I literally have a highlighter in hand and a pen at my side. After a month, I am still on the first recipe book (okay, that included vacation time and all things bread were left at home). What with reading the Fresh Loaf forums online, it is a good thing I have work and a local development project to pay attention to because one could say there is an obsession at work here. My bread making addiction has been under control, temporarily; no 5 a.m. wake ups to mix together dough or middle of the night inspections of sponges rising.

Bread #27 is another stab, well, two stabs, at the same recipe as breads # 20 and 21. This time with caraway seeds and summer temperatures in our seldom air-conditioned kitchen. Truth be told, I was not going to count this as a new bread, but it turned out so well, it deserved a place in the 108 pantheon.

Correcting for airhead tendencies
Before I started this bread, I actually wrote down a reminder to myself to mix wet ingredients separately before adding dry, and, for the dough mixing phase, I also reminded myself to mix the dry ingredients separately before adding to the wet ingredients. Others might not suffer from complete forgetfulness and never hit their hand on their head with - Oh, sh-t, why do I always forget ____? I have that experience all the time. Hence writing down simple instructions helps. It is the actual focus in the writing process, hand to paper, that creates a pathway in the brain to remember.


1) 3.3 oz. water
2) 1.4 oz. starter
3) 0.4 oz. old dough or soaked old bread 
  • 1st time: dough from rye bread of bread #26
  • 2nd time: old bread, some interior of first try of bread #27, soaked in water for three or four hours
4) 4 oz. rye flour

Mixed wet and wet-ish ingredients together and added rye flour. Covered sponge with plastic, loosely. Left in warm kitchen - maybe 85 degrees or a few more - for 8.25 hours. This was much less than previous experience, but the kitchen was probably a good 15 degrees warmer, not to mention a nice DC-area humidity in the air. 

7.7 oz. water (2nd try: added 7.5 oz. because of assumption that soaked dough came with a little water)
8.2 oz. bread flour
4 oz. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 tbsp salt

Mixed dry and wet ingredients separately and then mixed together. Covered with plastic. Though I only expected to let the dough rise for an hour, it became three hours because I decided to be patient. Also, I was not expecting to "count" this bread as part of the 108.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Make sure to put in oven the baking stone and, in my case, the top of the la cloche. (To produce steam, others use a pan that they fill with water or ice cubes when they place the dough in the oven. I had a fear of breaking the oven glass or burning myself with hot steam.) Stretch and fold the dough on a well-floured board. Cover loosely with plastic and leave for 15 minutes. Shape the dough and place in a bowl or basket - either well-floured or on a well-floured kitchen towel - for 60 to 90 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 460 degrees immediately after placing the dough in the oven. After 15 minutes, reduce again, this time to 440 degrees. Keep the la cloche on if you are using one. I forgot to keep time on this one, but I think total time in the oven was 40 minutes.

Such oven spring I almost plotzed, which means a kind a happy apoplexy was experienced. Lovely crackling sounds emanated from the fresh baked bread. I tasted it the next morning and told the dog, because he was the only witness, that this was a perfect bread. This was a bread to appreciate and chew slowly. Of course, we still had half of bread #26 on the counter waiting to be eaten. I froze bread #27, which, because bread #26 was pretty good, needed to be defrosted just a day later. 

Dog is not a fan of seeds

The bread defrosted well it was divine. My dog did look a bit sad; he loves bread, but he will not eat caraway seeds; indeed he is not a seed guy in general. He is waiting for this rye phase to be over so he can be fed crumbs without seeds.

The second try, with a little old dough added in, came out absolutely delicious. My daughter requested, for the first time, a rye bread to take back with her to school. Need I say more?

P.S. Must start taking pictures again of starter and dough in all phases.

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