Friday, July 4, 2014

Bread - Number 54: Slightly Improved Dark Rye

This is a situation where the border between redoing a bread and doing a new one gets fuzzy. But this bread became an instant favorite, so why not give it extra space? Plus, I'm happy to make it to 54 - the halfway point to 108, which I despair of reaching unless I soon start branching out a bit more. Seems like I struggle to make any breads other than the favorites because the first 54 have produced quite a bunch of really great breads that I am comfortable with.



So, yes this is a remake of bread #53, my first dark rye, but a bit different and easier. And look at that gorgeous oven spring. I feel proud.

Ingredients and instructions

Sponge
100g water
20g starter
100g rye flour

I would use this amount of starter or less in the summer. My kitchen stayed at approximately 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) all night. In the winter, I might use some more and adjust the flour and water amounts in the dough accordingly.

Mix well and leave covered on counter overnight, or my case 9.5 hours.

Dough
2 cups water or 473g
255g bread flour
320g rye flour (I ran out; it was supposed to be 340g)
12g salt
1 tbsp. caraway seeds (I did not weigh these)

Now that I'm over the exceedingly sticky nature of this dough and I feel no compulsion to knead a rye dough, this bread was a much more easy going experience than the last. Mix all ingredients in the order listed. Cover and leave on counter for 2.5 hours. Might take a little more time in a kitchen below 85 degrees.

Before shaping, sprinkle dough with flour and sprinkle board with flour. Do one stretch and fold. Shape. As this was not a dough to keep its own shape, I used a loaf pan - pre-sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover with plastic and leave on the counter.

Update upon making this bread a few more times
Here's an alternative to the advice in the last paragraph: Forget sprinkling the dough with flour. Wet your hands, lightly wet the dough and wet the board or counter top you will be using to do the stretch and fold and shape the dough. I could not believe how well using a small amount of water worked. It did not stick to my hands or the counter. My inspiration on this was a video on making a rye bread (scroll way down for the "cocktail rye video"), including handling the dough at this particular stage.



Before baking
Due to the wetness of the dough, it will be - okay, it was for me - impossible to tell when this dough was ready to bake. I preheated the oven after shaping the dough to give both an hour before baking. I just assumed an hour would be okay.

In a list form:
  • One hour before baking - preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Preheat top of oblong la cloche in oven. It will roughly fit over the loaf pan. 
  • One hour before baking - shape dough and let rest.
  • Just prior to baking, sprinkle caraway seeds on top of dough. 

Baking
Gently cover loaf pan with top of la cloche. Be careful as the top of the la cloche does not exactly fit the loaf pan.

Immediately reduce oven temperature to 460 degrees. After 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 440 degrees. I think I left this dough in the oven for another 25 minutes, but it might have been 20. Immediately take bread out of loaf pan and let rest. My general rule is two hours.


Big, nice oven spring, a beautiful dark brown bread and an amazing taste. This is a keeper. I will take pictures next time, promise. I have to say that although this bread was based on a recipe in the River Cottage Bread Handbook, I have substantially altered the hydration, I did not knead at all, and I stopped even referring to its instructions. I still like the book.

[Editor's Note: No text changes. Photos were added.]

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