Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bread Number 82: Patience Saves a Gorgeous Rye

A rye awry?
I made the first version of this somewhat-under 20 percent rye bread a few weeks ago and it turned out perfectly. I did not taste it, but gave it away to my younger daughter when I visited her college town while on a business trip. Into the luggage went a freezer bag with two frozen breads and ice packs. I warned security as I've had issues before flying with large blocks of frozen food. Sounds like a comedy, especially if you are flying with raw ground fish to use for gefilte fish.

Back to the rye: This time, the white flour sponge went well. I mixed the dough; did the stretch and folds, and put the dough in the fridge. The next morning, I expected a buoyant dough, ready, enthusiastic even, to be baked. 

Indeed without looking at the dough, I preheated the oven with the dutch oven inside. But when I retrieved the dough, I stared. Not a good sight. A flat dough. To bake, to return to the fridge for perhaps another day, or to leave out, possibly until the afternoon (this being early morning)? Certainly, awry went the plan to have the bread baked and rested by lunch. Not happening. Hardly risen, definitely not buoyant or enthusiastic.

Rice flour mentioned below. Why you should have it and use it.

Not with a muffin

A muffin, a cake, a cookie, none of them do this to me. You mix, you bake, the same result each time, given equivalent ingredients, of course. Maybe I need to do some muffins for a while. To test whether I want to be a muffin proprietress. Corn, blueberry anyone?

So, I write down the time and muster the patience to wait to see if this dough is a dud or 
whether it wakes up and prepares itself to become a lovely bread.  Not everyone wants to be Cinderella. Happy to say the patience rewarded me with a lovely bread, one the spouse singled out for praise. Of course, with 80-plus percent white bread flour, I feel a bit like I cheated.

Still, excellent taste, pretty crust and crumb, and wonderful breakfasts of slices of bread, butter, and something hot to drink. I actually drink hot water - think tea without the tea bag.

Ingredients - totals
100g starter
400g bread flour
100g rye flour
310g water
10g salt

100g starter
200g bread flour
200g water

Mix, cover. I left this out overnight for 9.5 hours and found a bubbly sponge in the morning.

200g bread flour
100g rye flour
110g water
10g salt - half remainder of the Himalyan mineral salt and half regular kosher salt

I admit that at first I only put in 100 grams of water. This was a watch and wait because the first time I ended up putting in 125 grams of water at this stage. With 100 grams, the dough seemed a bit dry, so I added a bit, 10 grams, and then it was fine. All depends on the hydration percentage of the starter, other ingredients, and humidity. Better to add slowly than to regret.

Patience is a virtue for a reason.

Mix, cover. Do two stretch and folds. Mine were each a half hour wait.

Are you going to rise already?
Patience, like yoga I, is a set of lessons I need constant refreshing in. I put this dough into the freezer overnight. Without looking at it, without even considering to look at it, I put on the oven and popped the dutch oven right in to preheat. Well, 10 hours in the fridge is not nearly sufficient. Dough was expanded about one third of the way, but flat.

Turned off the oven. Rested the dough on the counter. Waited. Peeked at the dough every half hour or so. I left the dough out for 4.5 hours.

Rising nicely, but not there yet, real life demanded my attention. Sunday walk, Sunday artwork, well Sunday. Put the dough back in the fridge at mid-day. Four and a half hours later, after a walk with a friend: Now that's a dough.

Thank goodness for refrigerators
Dough was ready, but lots of oven traffic congestion and I was way back in the line. Spousal cooking. On the plus side, the oven would be nice and almost sufficiently hot without an extra hour to heat up the oven. Nice spouse allowed me to steal the lower rack to let the dutch oven just sit in the oven as it heated from zero (well, unheated) to fully hot.

After dinner, with 20 minutes to  allow the oven to fully heat up, oven ready. By this time, dough had been in the fridge for another 7.3 hours. Total times below.

Sponge - rest time 9.5 hours

Dough - two stretch and folds, each separated by .5 hour

Dough fermentation - total fridge time of 17.3 hours, counter time of 4.5 hours

Baking preparation - don;t forget those oven mitts
Oven preheated, with dutch oven inside, to 470 degrees for an hour or the equivalent thereof. (I have a law degree and therefore am entitled to use such words as thereof, wherefore, etc.) 

Now for the dance and the extra mental care to remember to don oven mitts at the appropriate time. Also tidbits on an essential tool - rice flour.

1. Have ready: Dough slasher - lame, some water in a cup or bowl, a pastry brush or equivalent, rice flour, caraway seeds (because this is a rye bread, which means I'm wanting those seeds on top even though I completely forgot to mix any into the dough).

2. Sprinkle some rice flour on a board or on the counter. Rice flour is grittier than all-purpose flour, so it is better at preventing sticking of dough.

3. Take dough out of fridge. Quickly, sprinkle a little all purpose flour on and underneath dough so that you can gently lift it out of the bowl. Then, on the rice-flour-covered board, in less than 30 seconds, shape the dough.

4. Quickly - that's the theme - sprinkle water on top of the dough, generously sprinkle on those caraway seeds, and do a cross slash (or fancy design, up to you).

5. Quickly - oven mitts on your hands, open oven, uncover dutch oven, and - yes, quickly - spoon out a nice amount of rice flour to cover bottom of the dutch oven. This will prevent sticking.

6. Plop the dough into bottom of dutch oven.

7. Turn around, put oven mitts back on.

8. Cover dutch oven and close oven.

9. Remember to put on timer for when you want to check the dough. 

10. Congratulate yourself that once again you donned the oven mitts at the appropriate times and saved yourself from a burn. I actually bought super-duper - up to 600 degrees - oven mitts because the heat went through my normal cute oven mitts.

11. Wait

And the reveal
Lovely oven spring. That white flour knows how to promote a rise. Seductive,gorgeous, but not as good for you as a sensible majority whole grain. Total baking time of 49 minutes, though only 44 minutes the first time. 

Excellent taste, winning spousal praise. Makes a wonderful breakfast.

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