The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Jewish Sour Rye

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Jewish Sour Rye

After last week's 70% rye bread, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I wanted to return to the first rye I had made – Jewish Sour Rye – to see if my tastes had shifted. I made the Jewish Sour Rye from “Secrets of a Jewish Baker,” by George Greenstein.


This is a classic “deli rye,” or “light rye.” It is made with a white rye sour. Rye snobs (who will remain nameless) turn up their noses at white rye because it has so little rye flavor. In fact, most of the time, I make this bread with whole rye. But, this time I made it “by the book.”


Well, not exactly by the book. Greenstein's book provides volume measurements for all ingredients. It has been criticized for this. Last year, I worked out the ingredient weights for the Sour Rye recipe, and these are provided below.




Ingredients

 

Rye Sour

750 gms

First Clear Flour

480 gms

Warm Water (80-100F)

240 gms

Sea Salt

12 gms

Instant Yeast

7 gms

Altus (optional but recommended)

½ cup

Caraway Seeds

1 Tablespoon

Cornmeal for dusting the parchment or peel.

Cornstarch glaze for brushing the breads before and after baking.

 

Method

  1. If you have a white rye sour, build it up to a volume of 4 cups or so the day before mixing the dough. If you do not have a rye sour but do have a wheat-based sourdough starter, you can easily convert it to a white rye starter by feeding it 2-3 times with white rye flour over 2-3 days.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the rye sour and mix thoroughly with your hands, a spoon or, if using a mixer, with the paddle.

  3. Stir the salt into the flour and add this to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured board and knead until smooth. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at Speed 2 until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl (8-12 minutes). Add the Caraway Seeds about 1 minute before finished kneading. Even if using a mixer, I transfer the dough to the board and continue kneading for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth but a bit sticky.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Transfer the dough back to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  7. Form each piece into a pan loaf, free-standing long loaf or boule.

  8. Dust a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan liberally with cornmeal, and transfer the loaves to the parchment, keeping them at least 3 inches apart so they do not join when risen.

  9. Cover the loaves and let them rise until double in size. (About 60 minutes.)

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 375F with a baking stone in place optionally. Prepare your oven steaming method of choice.

  11. Prepare the cornstarch glaze. Whisk 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. Pour this slowly into a sauce pan containing 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

  12. When the loaves are fully proofed, uncover them. Brush them with the cornstarch glaze. Score them. (3 cuts across the long axis of the loaves would be typical.) Transfer the loaves to the oven, and steam the oven.

  13. After 5 minutes, remove any container with water from the oven and continue baking for 30-40 minutes more.

  14. The loaves are done when the crust is very firm, the internal temperature is at least 205 d

    egrees and the loaves give a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. When they are done, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open a couple of inches for another 5-10 minutes.




  15. After the loaves are out of the oven, brush them again with the cornstarch solution.




  16. Cool completely before slicing.





Jewish Sour Rye



Jewish Sour Rye crumb


Well, the verdict is: I like rye bread – white rye, dark rye, whatever. Each has it's place. The Jewish Sour Rye I had toasted for breakfast with Salami and Eggs was just right. The 70% Sourdough Rye I had for lunch with slices of Smoked Gouda and Cotswold cheese was perfect.


It's not such a hardship, having to make these choices.


David


Submitted to Yeast Spotting on Susan FNP's  Wild Yeast blog (This week, hosted by Nick at imafoodblog)


 

Comments

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I'll cook the corned beef for dinner! I've got some great Plochman's stone ground mustard and a jar of Mezzetta horseradish too.



The loaves look terrific, David. It looks like you've never met a rye you didn't like.


--Pamela

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Pamela.


I'm crazy about corned beef, and this bread is what it should be eaten on. However, I get it once every 5 years or so. My wife doesn't like it. It is really rather unhealthy, which is part of her dislike.


That said, if I have a Jewish deli within 150 miles, I'd certainly indulge more often.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Sylvia and I will have to meet you in Fresno. I'll have to check with Sylvia to see when she's free.


--Pamela

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I've forgotten, is that leftover sourdough? Do you soak it in water or something? and does it go in at the time of the flour or with the yeast and rye sour?


Thanks,


Betty


Oh..and very nice loaves, that's why I'm asking the questions! I've got your Pain de Campagne in the fridge for tomorrow's bake. Can't wait to see how it comes out.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


The use of "old" bread or "altus" is traditional in Jewish rye breads, including pumpernickel. This was probably a way of not wasting bread that hadn't sold the day before, but it adds flavor and texture to the bread and has come to be seen as an enhancement. I have been told that, in Germany, there are laws limiting the amount of altus that can be added to bread dough.


Altus is made by cutting up the "old" bread into cubes and soaking it in water, then wringing it out. A typical amount might be about 1/4 cup of altus per 1.5 lb loaf.


David


SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Beautiful Loaves and what a lovely crumb shot.  Nicely written recipe,  Thank you!


Sylvia

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Would you tell me what altus is and where I can get it? Thanks, Pamela

crunchy's picture
crunchy

soaked in water and added to dough to enhance flavor. Is that right, David?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, crunchy. You got the "what" right, but the "why" is more a matter of texture than flavor, I think. It is believed to enhance the flavor by some. I dunno.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Stash some of that left over rye bread in your freezer and then you'll have some handy!


Sylvia

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I prever to just cut the bread into tiny cubes and dry them.  They keep a long time and don't require energy to store.    I generally use more than 1/4 cup, more like 1 to 2 cups for 1 1/2 lb loaf.  It is a great way to use rye bricks or frisbee's.  Think of it as a two step process!


The first time I used altus, I was given a perfectly good purchased loaf that I was to pass on to the goats.  Goats?  No way!  I tasted it and guessed it wasn't eaten in the first place because it was too bland, at least too bland for an Austrian, a bad loaf really but it was rye and rye was rare.   All it needed was a little more spice.


I took one yeasted loaf recipe and made three loaves by crumbling the loaf and adding more water and spices.   It was too much bread for us so I gave two loaves away.  One to the purchaser of the first loaf who was more than delighted although it contained less rye.   I found out years later this was a little known trick to improve flavor.  I found out through TFL that it's called altus.  I also found out here that if toasted, it flavors even better! 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, Mini, for relating your Altus experience. When someone tells a story about an ingredient it always tends to stick in my head.


So you dry the bread in cubes and just keep it at room temperature indefinitely?


--Pamela

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mini,


I think I'm hearing you say that you toast the old rye first for better flavor. That would make sense but I've never heard of that. Add a few spices for flavor. Sounds interesting.


Eric

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

into a toaster before soaking or cutting it up.  I don't keep altus around longer than a month because I like it so much as an ingredient.  At room temperature I don't have to figure in too many temp. changes.  I just put some into a blender with water from the recipe and let it soften.  Puree and add to the sourdough or drop the sourdough into the blender.  Pour into a bowl and add rye flour & spices by hand.  Sometimes I add a little bit more water to make up for what the altus absorbed.


Eric, are you out of bread spices?


Mini

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Just gorgeous David.  I can't imagine a more perfect looking crumb.  I love toasted rye with caraway.  I'm trying a pumpernickle from BBA tomorrow.


:-Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The pumpernickel from BBA is good. The one from "Secrets of a Jewish Baker" is better, in my opinion.


I hope you will let us see your pumpernickel and let us know how you like it.


BTW, my favorite way of eating this kind of pumpernickel is un-toasted, with cream cheese, as an accompaniment to scrambled eggs cooked in brown butter. Yum!


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

There's always Leader's Polish Cottage Rye too.


--Pamela

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How do you get your logs so perfect?

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

I have used altus as a thrown-in ingredient in my sourdough and have enjoyed the flavor and texture. It really is, as some have already pointed out, a great, guilt-free way to use up that bread that gets too hard or has other qualities that we don't love. The effect in my loaves was rather like a soft nut or oat addition (although that's not exactly the right description). I used crumbs from breaking up the super-hardened bread ends in my food processor.


Upon reflection, I think altus could really be added to any loaf given that it's soaked first, like oats or flax. Haven't tried it, but I will...


Patricia

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

"Perfect?" <blush>


Well, let's see .... 


Pre-shaping


Pat the dough pieces into a rectangle about 5 x 8 inches.


Turn a piece so the long axis goes right to left. Fold about 3 inches of the right and left ends toward the center and seal the seams.


Bring the far side of the piece to the center and seal the seam. Bring the near side to the center, just overlapping the other fold, and seal the seam.


Rest, seam side up, covered with plasti-crap, for 10 minutes.


Shaping


This time, I used something like the "roll-up" technique illustrated in Mark Sinclair's video (http://tfl.thefreshloaf.com/node/8432/latest-video-back-home), starting at 1:08. The pan loaf shaping technique in BBA is similar, but simpler for beginners.


Now, this is the first time I used this shaping technique for this kind of loaf. I usually use the shaping technique for pan loaves illustrated in "Secrets of a Jewish Baker," except I roll the loaves out after shaping rather than putting them in a loaf pan. I think any technique you like for pan loaf shaping would work.


On reflection, I think that the "perfection" has less to do with how the loaf is shaped (as long as a good "skin" is formed and the seams are well-sealed) than with how it is rolled out to a uniform diameter with just a bit of taper at the very ends. It's another "iron hand in a velvet glove" thing.


Whew! it takes longer to describe it than to do it!


David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for taking the time,  I appreciate it.


Mini

proth5's picture
proth5

on a rye binge.  Nice looking bread!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you've been on "a binge" for 2 years, do you still call it "a binge?" 


Not being able to get decent rye bread locally was a major reason I started baking bread again. Since then, I have really opened my eyes to the variety of rye breads beyond those with which I had been familiar. It's been a good trip.


David

dalaughlin's picture
dalaughlin

whats is the hydration of your sour david?

Thank you.