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Profiles in Rye

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wally's picture
wally

Profiles in Rye


Now that we've had a brief respite from oppressive heat here in the Washington, DC area I've turned my oven on again to take advantage of this fleeting opportunity.  It's been awhile since I've baked some ryes, so this seemed a good time to get my hands sticky again.


I decided on Hamelman's 80% Rye with a rye soaker; but my curiosity got me to wondering what that recipe might be like if I reduced the percentage of rye to 60%, but held the other ingredients constant.  So began an experiment in rye profiles.


Hamelman's 80% rye with soaker has a hydration of 78%, and the rye levain is 37% of the overall dough weight, while the soaker constitutes 22% of dough weight.  His soaker is equal parts rye and boiling water, so you immediately find yourself struggling to mix a thick, thick, paste.


In addition to the levain, he calls for 1.5% yeast.


I mixed both the levain and soaker about 10 hours before I did my final dough mix, because respite or not, my kitchen tends to stay around 76° - 78°F in the summer, so things happen sooner rather than later.


The next morning my rye sour was definitely ready - you could hear noises below the rye-floured surface as it worked.  The soaker had the wonderful aroma of a rye mash, which is one of the attractions of this bread - its wonderful sweetness.


The mix was for about 10 minutes total, all on speed one of my Hamilton Beach.  It resembled mud and was even stickier, as per usual.  The bulk fermentation is only 30 minutes, followed by air-shaping and a final proof of a little over 50 minutes.  (On my last pas de deux with this rye I went for a longer fermentation and was rewarded with a collapsed loaf that had an air pocket beween the crust and crumb that miners could crawl through.  Chastened I decided underproofed was a better bet.)


I air-shaped one loaf as a batârd and the other as a boule.  I heavily rice floured both my couche and banneton, and followed that with a heavy dusting of rye flour.  Despite my efforts, the boule found a minor sanctuary in a part of the banneton's cloth.  While I slashed the batârd I decided to go au naturel with the boule and bake it seam side up.


Both were baked with steam (such as my gas stove will retain) at 460° F for 15 minutes, after which I reduced the temperature to 425° F for another 30 minutes.


I left both loaves to cool and wrapped them in linen overnight. 



The boule showed its cracks from the dough's seams, along with it's bald spot from becoming too attached to the banneton.  Oh well.   I don't have a shot of the uncut batârd because I seem to have attacked it prematurely.  In any event, the crumb seems to me to have the profile typical of my bakes of 80% ryes. 



Definitely a cocktail bread and one I particularly enjoy with a good goat's cheese.


The next day, I decided to replicate the previous bake, but this time decreasing the percentage of rye to 60%.  The other departure was my decision to step down the hydration slightly, to 75% from 78%.  In all other repects the procedure was the same - both the levain and soaker were identical.  The only difference was in the final mix where the percentage of bread flour was higher, that of rye correspondingly lower, and the hydration stepped down just a bit.  The mix time was about 9 minutes, 5 on speed 1 and 4 on speed 2.  There was evidence of gluten formation at the end of the mix.


The bulk fermentation in this case was extended to 45 minutes.  Shaping took place on my counter, and while the dough coming out of my mixer felt as sticky as the previous day's dough, it was much easier to shape after its fermentation.  I again created one boule and one batârd  and let them do a final proof of 60 minutes.  Bake temperatures and times were the same.


Here's a shot of them out of the oven.



And one of the crumb.



Ok, so to the profiles, which not surprisingly, would seem to reflect the differences in the overall proportions of rye - 80% vs. 60%.


Here are a couple shots of the boules side-by-side, along with slices taken from the respective batârds.


                      



Both, for my taste, are cocktail type rye breads.  I think even the 60% is a bit heavy as a sandwich bread except for a dyed in the wool rye bread aficionado.  And I find myself favoring the 60% in terms of tenderness of the crumb.  With both, however, the sweetness imparted by the soaker makes them truly flavorful breads.


 

Comments

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Love your comment about how the sour was talking to you!


Your ryes are lovely and very tempting.  Certainly a difference in the profiles and crumb.  Either would be wonderful as an open-faced sandwich.


Glad to hear the weather has gotten a bit cooler.  Having experienced a pretty warm summer here in the normally cool north woods, I've gained a lot of respect for bakers who have to deal with heat and humidity on a daily basis.  Flour and levains sure act differently!


A most wonderful bake, Larry.

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Lindy.  I'll apply that to my diminishing hairline along with the bread's.  My kitchen catches the morning sun - a wonderful thing in the winter, but not so great in summer.  I've had to refrigerate my starters to keep them from taking over!


Larry

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And a very nice write-up, Larry.


I like this kind of rye with some thin slices of a tasty cheese over thin slices of vine ripened tomato, then run under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starting to caramelize. Some cornichon and a green salad makes a great lunch on a hot day.


I've got to get around to making a rye with a hot soaker. Your description makes them sound wonderful.


David

wally's picture
wally

Thanks David.  You and Lindy have suggested a common theme which I like.  Especially the open-faced sandwich run under the broiler.  I love cheese dreams, but never thought out of the box to make them with this good rye.  Thanks for the suggestion!


I think you'll find the addition of a rye soaker to be rewarding in flavor - and certainly in aroma.  I was reminded of being in my friend's micro-distillery on occasions when he mixes up 700 lbs of good Kansas rye to make his mash.  Ahhh...


Larry

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

They look delicious.


weavershouse

wally's picture
wally

Thanks weavershouse!


Larry

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Glad the weather has made baking a little more comfortable for you.  I love the Feta cheese too and it goes great with so many breads.


Sylvia

wally's picture
wally

tonight.  I love feta as well, Sylvia; it's a summer staple with some rough cut tomatoes and cucumbers and of course, calamatta olives and a little lemon and olive oil.  I've been using ciabatta to wipe up the debris, but who says a good rye wouldn't work as well!  I need to expand beyond my goat cheese obsession (even if it's good cheese).


Larry

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Wally, the pictures show that the bread is fantastic, but how is the consistence of the crust like?


I agree that as a sandwich base it may turn out heavy, infact I find myself eating it with nothing on it most of the times, sometimes with some very light creamy cheese. Actually it's a dish on its own. Surely it doesn't lack flavor, does it? :-)


 

wally's picture
wally

Thanks! No, the rye soaker in combination with the rye levain give it lots of flavor.  The crust on both is chewy, not crunchy, as would be expected.  It has a slightly more intense flavor from the caramelization, a burnt sugar-like flavor that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the crumb.


Larry

louie brown's picture
louie brown

What kind of rye flour did you use?


 


I've been tempted by the experience of others here to attempt 100% rye. It is definitely a learning process. My own experiments have been suspended due to the heat up here on the top floor of a New York City apartment building. In fact, all baking has been suspended until more reasonable conditions return. In the meantime, it's very useful and fun to read about what others are doing. When things start up again, I believe I will be trying a variety of goat cheeses as well. Thanks.

wally's picture
wally

I sympathize with your situation - I've got a cousin who lives up in the Ft. Washington area in an old building with no a.c.  He's been there 30 years and claims air conditioning is for whimps. He also eats out mostly :>)


I use Heartland Mills organic all-rye flour, thanks to a buddy of mine who orders it by the pallet load for his distillery.  It's a wonderful flour in my opinion. Unlike Hodgson Mills rye, which is about 30% bran (I've sifted it, so I'm not exaggerating), the Heartland Mills rye seems less coarse and lighter in color.


Larry

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I've only been able to find Bob's Red Mill dark rye near home. The breads have been delicious, but not worth publishing except as object lessons in newbie pure rye baking. I may have to resort to mail order when the weather improves.

rayel's picture
rayel

 Wally,


Your loaves look wonderful, also the crumb.  Nice bake, pictures, and write up. Ray

wally's picture
wally

Appreciate your comment Ray.


Larry

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Oh, Wally, you made such great looking loaves - and then that:


"Both, for my taste, are cocktail type rye breads.  I think even the 60% is a bit heavy as a sandwich bread except for a dyed in the wool rye bread aficionado."


My eyes are tearing up when I think of all those poor Austrian, Germans, Swiss, Poles and other East Europeans who have to cut their bread into little squares and eat those with toothpicks, cocktail tomatoes and cheeseballs, every day!


I can only quote Asterix and Obelix: "Ils sont fous, ces Americains!"


Karin The Rye-Hard

wally's picture
wally

with anything coming from the mouths of those two distinguised Gauls. (But wouldn't they have been eating baguettes or miche :>)


Larry

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


I don't know if any sort of leavened bread was eaten by the ancient Gauls. Hmmm ... In fact, I don't know if they practiced agriculture. From published accounts (see "Asterix the Gaul"), their diet consisted exclusively of wild boar, as I recall.


David

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and complained about the Britons' warm beer.


Larry, don't feel too bad about it - Asterix & Co didn't think too highly about the ancient Germans and their habits, either: ("ils sont fous, ces Goths!").


I have to admit that I prefer a rye content of less than 50%, too. Having been "force fed" Vollkornbrot as a child (my father was convinced it was as necessary to childrens' health as generous doses of fish liver oil) I'm not the world's greatest heavy duty rye bread eater.


My favorite rye bread "Feinbrot" has 28% rye, 35% whole wheat and 37% bread flour.


Karin


 


 

wally's picture
wally

Karin - Yes, and beer is just a liquid form of bread, no?  Would you mind sharing that recipe with us - I like the percentages I see.


Here in the U.S., as you've undoubtably discovered, most ryes are only about 15%.  But then we were almost all raised on Wonderbread (as in 'I wonder where the bread is?'), so a lowly 15% rye seems like stepping out into the wide world of 'real' bread.


Larry

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

This is daily bread!  And Beautiful loaves too!   What ever do you mean by "cocktail bread?"


Mini

wally's picture
wally

Mini, over on this side of the ocean cocktail rye is an expression for high percentage rye breads that are often something like 3" x 3" x 10" and sliced very, very thin.  They are usually served with hors d'oeurves like spreads, cheeses, smoked salmon etc.


I took David S. up on his suggestion and used mine for a wonderful tartine of cheese, Smithfield ham and tomato melted under the broiler last night.  So yes, good for sandwiches, but a little heavy for most American tastes as sandwich bread.


Chastenedly yours,


Larry

Dave323's picture
Dave323

I am intirgued. I have read a couple of references to air-shaping on here, but nobody has explained exactly what it is; why you do it; or HOW you do it. Even a Google search didn't help. Anyone care to enlighten a curious newbie? I won't tell anyone your secret, I swear! :)


Thanks


Big Dave


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

guess I did call it that...  here is the detailed shaping and I hope you can follow.  The dough is simply tipped out into your wet hands and you shape and alternate getting your hands wet as you fold the dough over in mid air.  Starts at the third "dot"  Reshape dough...  ...Uncover dough, sprinkle ...


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15736/mini039s-favorite-rye-ratio#comment-111897


Mini

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17966/hamelman039s-rye-sunflower-seeds#comment-118907

I have to add that until Peter Reinhart had mentioned working with wet hands to me in working with sticky dough, I had not thought of it.  Turned out to be a lot of fun!  It is possible to work too much water into the dough.  A great way to add moisture to a dry dough as well.

Mini

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Mini, I was searching for this info too after David's recent post.
I found it in your "favorite rye ratio" post but hadn't seen your description of the process you reference here.
This is very helpful - I'm looking forward to giving your shaping method a try.
Thanks, from breadsong