The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Braid

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

First Braid


Using Hamelman's 40% rye formula.  I watched several videos on youtube about bread braiding.  Very helpful.  I chose a 5-strand braid for my first one because it looks great and it's pretty straight-forward seeming, compared to a 6-strand braid.  It was easy to do and the result is very satisfying.  I guess it's going to end up more of a pull-apart loaf than something that you would make sandwiches out of.  Since I was poking at challah sites to see braiding, I tried an egg wash while I was at it.  It think it's fine on the braided loaf, but it made the other loaf crust dull.  I won't do that again.


I made a couple of technique changes to Hamelman's instructions:
1.  I read that the rye pentosans and the wheat gluten are competing for water, so I mixed the wheat and water together and allowed it to sit a bit before incorporating it with the overnight rye sour.
2.  I prefer to stick to wild yeasts.  Instead of adding commerical yeast I added a bit more ripe starter to the wheat/water mixture.  I feed my starter at 1:5:5, which translates to 3g starter to 15g water and 15g flour.  I used the ~30g discard in the wheat/water mixture and let it ferment 90 minutes until I saw a little movement before incorporating it with the rye sour, salt and caraway seeds.  It was kind of  a sticky mess at first, but it came together nicely after a bit of kneading, although I kept an eye on the clock and didn't knead more than 5 minutes to avoid overmixing the rye.


Oh yeah, I don't think that all caraway seeds are equal.  I had some from the natural foods store for my first attempts at this rye and it was great.  Then I got some from the bulk bins at the super market and they were dull.  I'm back to the non-irradiated pack from the natural foods store and they are more full flavoured.  I don't know but what that might have to do with packaging - that is, being packaged as opposed to sitting in a bin for who knows how long.  Anyway, it did make a noticeable difference.


I tried the 80% Sourdough Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker recently and it came out 100% ugly, I think mostly due to overproofing.  It collapsed when I moved it from the couche and never recovered, so I was gun-shy this time and I think that I underproofed a little and that's why there's big oven spring on the slashed loaf.  I only proofed for 45 minutes.  Maybe the braid wouldn't pull apart quite so much with longer proofing, too.


:-Paul

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Paul, Gorgeous loaves!  Your braiding looks wonderful and adds that extra touch to the perfect looking rye loaf!  I ordered a few packets of caraway seeds from KAF and they are wonderful smelling and fresh tasting!  I keep them in the freezer!  Hope you add a CS later!


Sylvia

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Sylvia,


You got me going on the braiding idea with your Scali Braided Boule.  It looked so great that I had to try some braiding.  This one went really well, so I'm gonna keep at it.  There's a guy on youtube who shows how to do an alligator with braided breads, that looks like fun.  I think I'll try a lizard, though, I couldn't bake the thing that he creates, it's way too big.  He has a great attitude, though, and he's so comfortable with the dough and so encouraging, it looks like fun to try:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyjjb9P4E5s&feature=related


Here's the crumb from the loaf (the braid was a gift, so I didn't cut it):



I feel like I'm comfortable with this bread (famous last words).  I think I get lots of lift from a 40% rye dough with no commercial yeast and that makes me happy.


I've added the KAF caraway seeds to my cart there.  I'm waiting again to do a trip to the US to pick up orders, but when I do, KAF will have a box for me.


:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Oh My, Beautiful Crumb!  This is just perfect looking for rye sandwiches!  That's a very lucky person to get your braided rye!


It is fun to braid!  I have seen the alligator bread man..pretty neat!  The alligator would make a nice poolside party bread!  One of these days I will do the cute frog and take to my grandkids!  When I want to do the 3 strand braid I like for it to be a fuller looking loaf...so I make the the three ropes very fat in the center and tapered in points at the ends and  each rope is not much over 12 inches long...braid them starting at the center to the end..flip it over 'upside down'..braid from the center again to the end..tuck the ends under..makes a much fuller 3 strand braided loaf..there's some video's and lot's of pictures of so many lovely braids!  You have a good hand for braiding!


Sylvia

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Your first braid?!  It's gorgeous!  Wish I had a picture of my first challah to show you....  You're a natural.


Summer

Pablo's picture
Pablo

It went well enough that I want to try some more.  I carefully chose an easy one to start with.


:-Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The braiding looks perfect. I've never seen a braided rye before, but why not?


The rye crumb is just perfect.


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks David.  I'm really happy with this recipe, and I have some more ideas to mess with as well. 


:-Paul

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Very nice looking stuff, Paul.


Your first attempt at braiding was a five-strand?  You're brave.  Most folks start with three, because even a child could be taught to do them.  


The only downside of a three-strand is that they tend to have a flat profile.  A four-strand only takes a little more effort than a three, and stands up nicely, giving a more round profile for slicing, and a more impressive look altogether.  I think most bakeries save the 5's, 6's or higher for large, decorative pieces on special order (with a special price), because when you're doing 100-200 of them, every extra step after that translates to more time at the bench.


--Dan DiMuzio

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Dan,


Yeah the 3-strand looked super simple.  The 5-strand though was really easy - you have 3 on one side, then 3 on the other, during the braiding process - just back and forth.  It seemed so doable.  Again, youtube was very helpful for me.  I'm looking forward to trying some more complex patterns now that this one turned out well.


:-Paul