I decided to take to heart a comment on the freshloaf forum to try stretch and folds with rye breads of up to 50 percent rye. Bread #71 came out so well on the first try and I was so curious about adding this dough manipulation that I could not wait to do the bread a second time and compare the results while the taste was still almost in my mouth.
I have to confess to a couple of emergency changes, but the ingredients in toto are exactly the same as the first try of bread #71, even up to the thirsty bag of flour I used the first time and the all-purpose einkorn flour. Well, not exactly, because I had no old bread to soak and add. Almost exactly. What was the emergency - or rather last-minute change? I ran out of rye flour and had to get more, despite my month-before-Passover pledge to use up the flour already in the house. This significantly changed the nature of the sponge, though the same amounts of each type of flour were used, just at different phases.
And how did this bread - with its stretch and folds - compare to the first try of bread #71? The bread crumb (meaning interior) was somewhat airier with bigger holes. The taste was very close. The crust was better, most likely because I had a better feel for how long it needed in the oven and because I removed the top of the la cloche for the last five minutes to let the bread get some time without being covered. This allowed for a crustier crust and a darker color.
Not a scientist
If I were a scientist, I would have carefully produced this bread, changing just one aspect of the process, which would be to add the stretch and folds. But then I received some marvelous comments on the freshloaf about doing a long autolyse, and how could I wait for another bread to do that? Impossible. So, way before the sponge was done, I mixed together the bread flour and water (too much water, but can perfect that another time) and let it sit, covered, in a bowl, beside the sponge, for a long autolyse.
Just making the same bread twice in a row, I checked the dough and the baking bread less often - not opening the oven door as many times - and let it go uncovered by the top of the la cloche for the last five minutes, giving it a nicer crust.
Taste, color, and sound?
Answers in order of how one experiences a bread: Sight - beautiful, with gorgeous deep brown crust. Sound - nice crackling sounds. So satisfying. This requires silence in order to hear the very low crackling. Taste - Delicious, very good. Perhaps another experiment would be to use whole grain einkhorn.
*** for the second time, almost, but not quite, the same instructions for bread #71
14g rye flour
99g bread flour
Mixed and covered. Let sit overnight and well into the next day for a total of 17.25 hours because the kitchen is still pretty cold at night.
133g bread flour
Mixed, covered, and let sit for 4.33 hours, while the sponge became sufficiently bubbly to be considered done and ready to move on to the dough phase. When the sponge was ready, I added the autolyse to the sponge, and then mixed in the dough ingredients.
92g rye flour
114g einkorn flour (all purpose; still working to finish that bag of flour)
8g caraway seeds
Mixed everything together, the sponge, the autolyse and the remaining ingredients. The dough proved tough to mix, so wet hands at the ready, I squeezed and manipulated the dough until it became as it should be, a homogeneous blob.
Stretch and folds
Over the next hour and a half, I did three stretch and folds. The first at 15 minutes, the second 35 minutes later and the last 30 minutes after that. Covered and let sit, in this case for 4.66 hours.
Finally, we have sunshine and temperatures in the 50s. Snow is melting, hats are unnecessary, and I could go crazy with carrying my dough elsewhere so that I could tend to it on the go. Not something I do often, but I'm not going to let a dough fail just because I have something unavoidable to do. As it turned out, however, no one showed up for my meeting, and there I was in a room at my synagogue with my bowl of dough, my art supplies, some text and a creepy lonely sensation of being without anyone else in a place that is usually full of people. Like being at Grand Central without a soul; very twilight zone.
I actually did one stretch and fold in the car, paper towel and a bottle of water at the ready, and the last one in a bathroom. In my defense, I have not yet gotten sufficiently crazy that I have taken a bowl of dough on the subway and to my office. I have contemplated it. In the eyes of the law, however, conduct is what counts, not mere thoughts (unless we are talking intent, but then, of course, that is thoughts accompanied by actions).
I took home the dough, examining it every 15 to 30 minutes, to determine when it was ready to be prepared for baking, which my mind always equates with preparations for take-off, though that is completely different.
When the dough was ready to move on to the next phase of baking preparation, I did a stretch and fold on a well-floured wooden board, covered the dough, and let sit for 15 minutes. That's a good time to clean up a kitchen. I also prepare the basket where the shaped dough will sit for the hour to an hour and a half before going into the oven.
I put a kitchen towel in a small wicker basket and generously sprinkle flour on that regular kitchen towel, so that the dough will not stick to the towel. In this case, I also put caraway seeds on the flour so that the top of the dough would get some pressed into it. When the 15 minute rest period has passed, I shape the dough into a boule, and - important - put the dough, upside down, onto the well-floured towel.
I have to confess that I have never used a banneton. Curious; just have not yet spent the money.
Rye needs some more caraway seeds just before baking
At one hour, generally, and in this case, the dough is ready to be baked. I cut a nice "X" of cross-slashes on the top of the dough. Because this was a rye bread, and I love caraway seeds on a rye, I sprinkle a generous amount of water on the top of the dough, and sprinkle even more caraway seeds on top.
One hour before I will put the dough in, I preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the top of the la cloche placed on the baking stone. Immediately upon putting the dough in the oven, I reduce the temperature to 460 degrees. At 15 minutes, I reduce to 440 degrees for the remainder of baking.
This bread took 50 minutes in the oven. At 40 minutes, I removed the parchment paper and at 45 I removed the top of the la cloche.
Musical crackling sounds out of the oven. Wonderful crust. Scrumptious taste.