The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Handleman's Light Rye (15% preferment) question

  • Pin It
ema2two's picture
ema2two

Handleman's Light Rye (15% preferment) question

I've been somewhat obsessed with rye bread, and haven't had much success.


 


I made the rye starter Handleman describes, and nurtured it for almost 2 weeks, with it demonstrating plenty of activity, and using the discards from feedings to make some successful 1-2-3 sourdough.  So I know the starter is good.


The Hamelman formula calls for building the sourdough with 0.2 oz mature rye starter, 4.8 oz Medium rye flour, and 3.8 oz water.  It says you can substitute 'whole dark rye' but you may need to add more water in the sourdough phase.  I used Hogson Mills Rye flour, and from a previous inquiry, the company replied and said it was a medium rye flour, and that it was a whole grain rye flour.  I have read that the nomenclature for rye flours in the US is totally confusing, and I certainly believe it.


I mixed the sourdough phase, and it was a stiff starter consistency.  I left it to ripen all day ,and came home to some thick moist cement consistency stuff in the container, which had not puffed or risen at all, and was far to thick to exhibit any gas bubbles.


The first few times I tried to mix the Glezer light rye using that same Hogson Mills rye flour, I got thick concrete that did not seem to ferment (using her formula of my white flour stiff sourdough starter with rye flour and water).  When I made her's today, using the light rye flour (Bob's Red Mill), I got a much less thick rye sour, and it rose nicely along side the Handleman sourdough that did nothing, attesting to the temperature in the kitchen being acceptable for culture to grow.


I finally obtained first clear flour (got it from a local kosher bakery, after getting over my reluctance to go in and ask them to sell me some flour) and light rye (Bob's Red Mill, bought over the internet, as I couldn't find it locally anywhere!), and made the traditional NY Deli (aka Jewish Rye) in Maggie Gleezer's Blessing of Bread.  It has about 10 minutes to go in the oven, and looks and smells amazing, if I do say so myself.  Shaping is far from perfect, but you can tell what it's supposed to be, if you know what I mean.  If I can figure out how to post a photo, I will make it my debut photo post here.


 



So here (finally!) are my questions:


1.  Can I add water to the Handleman sourdough phase at this point and salvage it, or do I need to start from scratch (I can, I have plenty of the rye starter)?


2.  If I add water, how much.  Or, what consistency am I aiming for?  He doesn't offer any descriptors.


3.  If I start fresh, how much extra water should I add?  Again, what consistency am I aiming for?


4.  What flour do you use/recommend for "medium rye"?


Thanks, as always, for your help and suggestiong.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ema2two.


I can't explain the problems you had with the Hodgkin's Mill rye flour; I've never used it.


"Medium rye" refers to a medium-fine grind, generally. It is usually whole rye. I have used Bob's Red Mill "Dark Rye," which is a medium-fine grind of whole rye, with good results. I've also used KAF Medium Rye with good results. Same with Giusto's whole rye flour. 


I've made my rye starter from a wheat starter, not from scratch. Two feedings of about 1 cup of wheat starter + 1 cup rye flour + 1/2 cup of water will do the trick. Then you can maintain the rye sour by refreshing it with the same mix as needed.


There is a bit more to the traditional technique. I described it in my blog about a year ago. I'll see if I can find the link.


Here it is:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4796/greenstein039s-sourdough-rye-rye-sour-care-and-feeding-illustrated


David

ema2two's picture
ema2two

David,


Thanks for your response and the link to your pictures of the detmoler 3-stage starter.


My Glezer bread came out great, but I haven't figured out how to get the photos to post.  I'll work on it today.


The Handleman light rye is NOT a detmoler 3-stage rye.  It is a sourdough build and a final dough, but he says it comes out as a NY style Deli/Jewish Rye.  Do you have any other ideas or thought about my questions with that in mind?


Now that I've finally had a measure of success with a rye bread, I have many new questions and variations to sort out to help me educate myself about baking in general and rye in particular.   I will definately make the Glezer again, and want to know I can make it come out consistently and improve my shaping skills.


I still want to try the Handleman sourdough light rye.  I like that it is a bit quicker than the Glezer method, and his may provide a good option for me in terms of baking as a hobby while working and being a mother of young children.  That makes for some interesting production schedule contraints, though hasn't stopped me baking.  I find it sometimes better to start the preferments in the morning and bake in the evening after the kids go to sleep, though one seems to see them described as start at night and bake in the morning.  My husband certainly enjoyed the crusty end first slice of the fresh rye bread last night as a bedtime snack.  It was well worth the effots to procure the first clear flour and the light rye flour.  I am curious to see how it comes out with bread flour and some extra gluten, or the combination of bread flour and cake flour that Greenstein recommends as  a substitute for clear flour if it can't be obtained.  I want to try the Greenstein rye's also, but I don't like that he doesn't provide his formulas with weights.  I quickly learned that I'm NOT a good volume measurer, and have baked my breads by weight of ingredients almost from the start of my novice baking career.


The simpler Handleman process for light rye would give me flexibility to make a nice rye bread when the Glezer bread's multiple steps aren't compatible with what else is going on in my life.


Thanks for making an effort to help me troubleshoot my rye, and other helpful advice I've read from your many posts here.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ema2two.

I find the Greenstein Sour Rye recipe one of the least time-demanding breads I make. I feed the sour in the AM and in the evening. If I'm going to be unavailable for more than 12 hours, I stick it in the fridge and pick up where I left off when I return.

The actual bread baking is fast because there is only one rising.

And, as for Greenstein's only providing volume measurements, special for you, I've posted weight measurements with fairly detailed instructions here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9316/sour-rye-bread-george-greenstein039s-%E2%80%9Csecrets-jewish-baker%E2%80%9D

(Of course, at the time I posted this, I didn't know it was special for you yet.)

David

ema2two's picture
ema2two

Thanks David!  I appreciate the weight formula.  I'm getting more comfortable with modifying the texture of my dough by adding more flour or water, when I bake from volume measurements, but baking from weights is very helpful since I'm early on in the learning curve.  I have less (but not zero) question in my mind as to whether the dough is the appropriate consistitency when I add the ingredients based on their weights, since I know I have a dense cup measure (though I have actually tried to see if I can train myself to consistently measure a lighter cup, I haven't succeeded yet in being both consistent and lighter).


Any further thoughts on my original question about the Handelman light rye?  Because I got distracted last night I left the sourdough phase sitting out over night, and it did puff up some.  I may try to do the final dough tonight and see what happens.  I had to order my light rye on line from Bob's Red mill, so I don't want to waste too much of it if this is destined not to come out well.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ema2two.


My first thought in looking at the procedure you posted was that the proportion of flour to starter is way high. (Usually, when you feed a rye sour, you increase the weight by 2-4x the weight of the sour.) Then, I looked at Hamelman's formula. You have the numbers right, but it is supposed to ripen for 14-16 hours. Unless you were away for a very long day, I think you just didn't give the rye sourdough enough time to ripen.


The low proportion of sour to flour means it takes the yeast longer to multiply and ferment the sugars, which is what produces the gas that expands the sourdough. This kind of slow fermentation is the way to build flavors through the action of the lactobacilli, but it is ... well .... slow. However, rye doesn't have the kind of gluten wheat flour does, and it's the gluten that makes the elastic walls of the bubbles that trap the gas. Therefore, rye sours don't expand the way wheat sourdoughs do.


The method I described for feeding your rye sour also applies to Hamelman's "sourdough" in the light rye formula. I'd encourage you to read pages 188-193 in "Bread" a few times. I find the spreading of the dry rye flour sprinkled on top of the mixed sour to be a reliable indicator of its ripeness.


I hope this helps.


David

ema2two's picture
ema2two

David, your advice is excellent, as is your custom.


I decided to pitch the batch that was only a little puffy, and start over, when I realized I wouldn't use up more of my precious light rye with another try.


I re-read the section you recommended, and started with my clearly active mature rye starter, using the amount of rye flour (same Hogson Mills Stong Ground Whole Rye) called for, but a little more water.  At first I wasn't sure how much water to add, then I realized I could just take some of the water for the total dough and use it in the sourdough phase, and decide when I see my final dough whether to adjust further or not.  I used an extra 1.3 oz of water, and this time I sprinkled rye flour over the surface.  I was cooking all day today, so my kitchen was toasty warm.  I also set a timer, so I wouldn't lose track of how long it was fermenting.


After only 10 hours I saw cracks in the surface of the starter, and bubling in the sides of the jar.  Clearly the warm kitchen, the extra water, and a better marker of maturing sourdough have all been helpful.  I'm going to let it keep going overnight, and make the final dough early tomorrow AM.


I'll keep you posted.


One question remains for me at the moment.


The final dough calls for high-gluten flour.  I know that KA Bread flour is higher-luten than most bread flours, but they make a higher gluten flour.  Given that Handleman is a KA guy, what do you think he means by High Gluten flour?  Is my KA Bread Flour high enough gluten?  Should I add some vital wheat gluten to it?  I have some first clear flour, which I know is also a very high gluten flour (got it from a bakery, so don't know brand or protein content).  Would you suggest using a portion of that for the high gluten flour with the remaining being KA bread flour?  Now that I feel like I can make the sourdough part, I guess I can just experiment and try each of these possibilities in sequence.  But if you have any insights or recommendations, I'm listening.


Thanks.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ema2two.


It sounds like your rye sour is coming along nicely.


KAF's "high gluten flour" is called "Sir Lancelot." I've never seen it in a grocery. If some one in your vicinity carries Giusto's flours, they mill a high gluten flour called "Ultimate Performer." That's what I use when high gluten flour is called for. However, if you have first clear flour, by all means use it! That will give you a more authentic Jewish Sour Rye Flavor.


David

ema2two's picture
ema2two

I made the Handleman Light rye, using extra water in the sourdough phase, but the same total amount of water in the recipe, and using King Arthur Bread Flour for the High Gluten Flour called for in the final dough.  I proofed one in an oblong lacloche, and baked it with the cover on for the first 15 minutes until it was time to lower the temperature down.  It came out very nice with a thin but crisp crust. 


I proofed the other in an oblong brotform, and baked it with my attempts at steam in the oven (pan of water under the bread, spritz from a spray bottle a few minutes into the bake).  It spread quite a bit in the few minutes it took to take it out of the brotform, slash it and put it in the oven.  I gave it to a friend to take to a party tonight, so I don't know how the crust differed from the lacloche baked loaf.  It appeared to be a thicker crustier crust, just based on feeling the loaf and the amount of effort it took to puncture the crust to take the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer.





The breads were a hit in my house.  My 10 year old complimented me.  My husband said it tasted just like his favorite bakery rye bread.  It even wound up on the table with our challah at lunch today, which is a big compliment in my house!


Thanks for your hand-holding and advice!