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My take on Deli Rye

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

My take on Deli Rye

 

About four months ago, satisfied with my progress with wheat breads, I decided I’d give rye breads a go. Within the week I had reviewed Hamelman’s (Bread) comments on rye flour’s idiosyncrasies, Ortiz’s (The Village Baker) near deification of Pain de Seigle, and developed a respectful fear of rye’s dreaded “starch attack”. In earlier days I’d made singular attempts at Volkenbrot and, while test baking for ITJB, Kornbroyt: each a dense-crumbed rye; both tasty, but not the rye bread I was looking for.

Encouraged by its praise, and perhaps in memory of our recently passed fellow TFLer, Eric, I tried Eric’s Rye. I loved it—http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/32600/attempt-1st-erics-rye—but it too wasn’t the rye I sought.

I took a trip down memory lane.

I grew up in Scranton, PA during WWII, and the following fifties. In my eighth year, the war nearly won, my father took me on my first trip to NYC: the Big Apple. My father’s love of baseball would rival any current-day Boston Red Sox fan. In those days, with proper planning, you could see a Dodger’s game Friday, a Yankee game Saturday and catch a Giant’s game at the Polo Grounds—sometimes a double-header—on the way home Sunday. My dad was a great planner.

I believe I tasted Rye bread for the first time that summer in a near-Broadway bar—the “Silver Dollar”. It was 1944, but it still offered a free lunch. I had a ham sandwich on rye bread: probably old-style NY Deli Rye. That was the rye I was searching for.

I researched more than a handful of NY Deli Rye recipes and formulae. I was surprised and disappointed to find most called for white rye: a flour many TFLer’s warned me lacked flavor, and I’d experienced first-hand making Greenstein’s (Secrets of a Jewish Baker) Jewish Rye.

I started experimenting substituting Whole Rye Flour for White Rye flour. Initially, using commercial yeast, making straight doughs. I made little ones (not photographed) and big ones—a two pounder is featured above. Update: 27 Dec. 2013 We cut this bread for post holiday ham sandwiches. I've added this crumb shot.

The flavors were good, but not there yet. I’ve made some with caraway seeds, some without.

It was time to try Rye Sours.

I ignored all the books advising starting a Rye Sour from scratch. I am the happy owner (parent?) of a reliable and robust sourdough seed starter, faithfully refreshed weekly. Starting with ten grams of my old faithful, in three 12 hour builds, I made my version of a Rye Sour feeding only with Whole Rye. It now rests, in the fridge,   beside its white-flour mother, it too refreshed weekly. 

I made only little ones: 1 lb. or 1.5lb.

Yesterday I gave a neighbor, in thanks for mounting a bat house on our barn, a loaf from the most recent batch. That I’m willing to share is a sure sign the flavor’s getting real close to what’s wanted. [pic

Finally, also yesterday, I did a side-by-side bake using the formula I’ve settled on: one loaf straight dough--chevron slashes--and one loaf converted for Rye Sour--straight slashes--keeping the flour ratio, liquid, salt, vegetable oil, and milk powder identical in each.  I used 2-1/4 tsp. of commercial yeast in the straight dough, and added 1 scant tsp. of commercial yeast to the Rye Sour version. I make the Rye Sour with two, twelve-hour builds and reason the natural yeast population has passed its peak. All dough handling, and baking was as identical as possible. The straight dough loaf proofed earlier than the Rye Sour version; consequently, the loaves were baked serially.

 

The straight dough exhibited slightly more oven spring, otherwise I don't see any other difference.

My wife encouraged this comparison. “If the straight dough tastes as good as the sourdough version why go to the extra trouble?” was her argument. However, while she consumes sourdough breads with relish, she still is wary. Occasionally, the “tang” in my sourdoughs reach beyond her taste tolerance. I think this was the real motive for her encouraging the taste test.

Post-bake (and 24 hours aging) I set up a blind tasting for her.

No surprise to me, the Rye Sour version won! It's mouth-feel is slightly chewier, but that's not the tie breaker. It's flavor  pops; the straight dough not so much. Their both keepers, but we'll be baking the Rye Sour version most often.

Next rye steps: In past browses I’ve come upon Scandinavian recipes for herb or spice flavored rye breads, but I hadn't kept a bookmark. If you have a favorite in this category, please share it with me.

David G

 

 

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Very nice looking loaves David.  I admire your journey and the path you took to arrive at what looks like a great Jewish style deli rye.  I suggest you try a version with onions next.  I make a version where I let the onions ferment in the starter and also add some to the main dough.  I had the idea for this from a version I used to make from a Bernard Clayton recipe where he has you make a sponge using a whole onion tied up in cheese cloth submerged for a day or two.  If you don't like the flavor of onions then obviously you would not be a fan.  I usually sauté the onions in some olive oil for about 5-7 minutes first to bring out even more flavor.  You can also use dehydrated onions and use the water for the main dough to re-hydrate the onions.

The book Bread has several excellent ryes you can try as well.  I like to use KAF Pumpernickel flour in many of my bakes which I highly recommend as a whole dark rye.

Good luck on your rye adventures.

Ian

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Among the trials not mentioned above I did one with onions, but we weren't wowed with the result. I used raw onion, chopped into the Rye Sour build. The flavor wasn't subtle, it swamped the flavor profile. I like your idea of cooking the onion before adding it. Both of us love caramelized onion in other foods. I'll give it a try in a future loaf. I usually add caraway seeds--only enough to add it's flavor to the profile, not overpower it. I left them out of the side-by-side loaves intentionally.

I've used KA whole rye flour, and KA pumpernickel and like them both. Mostly, I use KA white flours too. However, I particularly like Hodgkin Mill's whole rye flour. I add small amounts of rye to all my sourdoughs.

Thanks for the comments.

David G

 

isand66's picture
isand66

I would also suggest you try adding some altus (old rye bread) to the mix. This could get you towards what you are looking for.

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi David, 

All your loaves look splendid, very nice deli rye that I'm sure Eric would have appreciated and commented on, nice baking! My own West Coast take on deli rye is that it's not particularly sour, but the crumb is such that it has the ability to sponge up meat juices from pastrami and corned beef and still hold the sandwich together. Your bread looks perfect for that and can just imagine how good it would be with steamy slabs of smoked meat wedged between it.

For consideration; Perhaps on the next bake try a scald of 10 to 25 % total rye flour in your final mix to see if that makes any improvement towards what you're looking for. I've never had authentic New York deli rye but I know that this technique is common for many Central European style rye breads.

Best Wishes,

Franko 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Thanks for the tip. As with all my breads I'll tweak occasionally, but my main goal with each bread is achieving a bread worthy of being put on the table, and shared with others. The formula I've been playing with has reached that point.

Deli Rye, as you point out almost by definition, is synonymous with sandwiches: a Ruben is my favorite. I also sometimes make rye toast points and pair them with hummus, and once guacamole. Delish! The point is I never think of Deli Rye naked.

Regards,

David G

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

went the 1 year anniversary of Eric's passing is but it has to be near. He would have loved your post  your quest story is just as great as the bread you ended up with -just lovely

My recent quest for Jewish Deli Rye started with Eric's Fav too and moved ton o Varda's Tzitzel and finally converting that to SD with 40% whole rye home ground with dehydrated minced onions re-hydrated with the water used in the dough too Eric's Idea,  and onions in the rye sour a David Snyder tip.  Amazing the turns these bread  quests can take with input and baking history to be found on and in TFL community.

Well done and happy baking! 

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Not sure of??

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I'm not sure of the1 year anniversary of Eric Hanner'sasssing. Has to be close?  Here is a stone for ric's head stone...

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Hi,

What surprised me was how thinking about rye bread opened up vivid, happy memories I'd not thought of in decades. Those trips to NYC and baseball became became the foundation of a friendship with my father that lasted until his death in 1981. Somewhere along that path I began thinking of him more as a friend than a father.

Through TFL--which, of course, means its members--I've gained a surprisingly deeper appreciation for the role humble bread has played throughout histories: world history and personal histories.

Regards,

David G

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

good looking!

davidg618's picture
davidg618

My next rye venture will more akin to your rye schrotbrot.

David G

Mebake's picture
Mebake

A winner! David, this looks genuine enough to me; fabulous crust and crumb. The sour always wins, especially with Ryes.

-Khalid

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I'm not quite done tweaking yet, but I thought it was time to report progress. I'm very glad I did the side-by-side comparison: very revealing. Like you say, using a sour is worth the extra effort.

David G

davidg618's picture
davidg618

A day or two ago I made a 1.5 lb pound of rye bread identical recipe to the Rye Sour loaf in the side-by-side experiment above. Based on Mini et al posts I added two tsp each of course ground Fennel and Coriander.

WOW!

And my wife has eaten more of it than myself. Another WOW!

David G