The Fresh Loaf

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Pierre Nury's Rye as Stick and Boule

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Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Pierre Nury's Rye as Stick and Boule

 


I decided to attempt this bread, which Daniel Leader records in Local Breads, after seeing the beautiful pictures on Zolablue's blog.

After working so hard to shape and steam the barm bread I also wanted to relax about shaping and concentrate on opening up the crumb of the next loaf I made. Made with white flour the barm bread can be open, but I had chosen to make it with quite a high amount of rye for a denser crumb and that much-loved rye flavour. Nury's rye with its rustic shape and lower rye content seemed an ideal bread to make next.

Maybe it's true that we can learn as much from what goes wrong as well as what goes right, even if it's not always so enjoyable? Certainly with my first two sourdough breads there were a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to get good loaves out of the oven!  Looking back, the story of making these breads reads a little like this - baker attempts sourdough bread, baker seems to be losing bread, baker rescues bread - eventual happy ending (phew). Can any other novice bakers relate to this? In comparison baking Pierre Nury's rye was much more straightforward.

The only adaptation I made to the formula was to use dark rye in place of light rye. Since starting to bake sourdough in May I've had to get up to speed fast with the different flours and grains used in artisan baking but wasn't yet aware of the range of rye flours. According to historian E.J.T. Collins, prior to 1800 rye bread was eaten widely in Britain and only 4% of bread was made of white wheat only. However breads made with rye flour are not so common now. Pumpernickel is available in some shops but is generally imported.

So, unused to a range of ryes, I have to admit to my chagrin that my first thought was that 'light rye' meant 'light on the rye', as in 'light on the mustard' or 'hold the mayo'.  Even when I realized that light rye was a type of rye flour I couldn't find any locally, not even at our local whole food cooperative, which carries a very good range of flours. I now realize I will have to look online. In the meantime, having scheduled time for baking, I pressed on with the darker rye. Zolablue notes on her blog that a stick made with darker rye is a different loaf from the original Pierre Nury's Light Rye. I have to agree but it was still delicious and I have baked with the darker rye a second time and again loved the flavour, although  I suspect the loaf may not rise as much. The flours used were from the Dove's Farm organic range; Strong White Bread Flour, Wholemeal and Wholemeal Rye.

I have to attribute success with this bread to Nury's beautiful formula. Although wet the dough handled well. The resulting loaf had a wonderful crunchy walnut crust and an open crumb. The flavour was fantastic! Tardis-like it seemed to have more rye flavour on the inside than might be guessed from a quick glance at the formula. Several bakers have posted on this being part of the attraction of the bread. I'm currently experimenting with different sourdough recipes but when the experimentation calms down I'm sure we could go for this as our weekly or even daily bread. Put it this way I baked two of these sticks in the evening and by the early next morning both were gone...

This was also one of only two sourdough formulae that I have been able to get through a long retardation without the dough losing elasticity. The other is a sourdough adaptation of Jan Hedh's lemon bread.  With a high concentration of sourdough in the initial mix my starters can get going like kittens in the wool box and reduce a nice tight ball to a much looser scattering of chewed gluten strands in a relatively short time. However in the case of both formulae mentioned here the amount of sourdough in the preferment is relatively low.

I haven't included the formula and method as it is given in full on Zolablue's blog and I followed that more or less to the letter. Thanks Zola.

I have just one main reflection on method. Several people on TFL have pondered how to hand mix a dough that calls for 12-14 minutes of initial development by machine until smooth and very stretchy. I obtained a well-developed dough with 20 minutes of continuous S&F on the bench, 10 minutes rest then another 10 minutes S&F, although this can be achieved in a variety of ways as other TFL bakers show.

I have since adapted Nury's formula to make a boule. I read Janedo's inspiring blog on her development of a boule from this formula and was encouraged by that. However I chose to start with a lower hydration dough. Following welcome advice from Andy/Ananda I  kept the hydration percentage in the 60s so I could work on my shaping skills with a lower hydration dough. Nevertheless, writing up the formula for the chart I think it could have gone up as far as 69%. I was also working with re-strengthened starters, which had previously been too acidic and were rendering wetter doughs too elastic to be shaped easily. In fact they were turning some boules into Dalí-like clock faces! This was another reason for trying a less wet dough. Obviously more experienced bakers who prefer to work with higher hydration dough can adjust the formula accordingly but it may suit those wishing to start with lower hydrations. I will also continue to experiment with this formula.

The final crumb was less open than in the unshaped sticks but it was even and still moist. I found I could shape and slash the bread more effectively with a lower hydration dough yet the crust was still well-coloured and crisp. The flours used were Marriage's Organic Strong White Bread Flour and Organic Whole Wheat with Dove's Farm Organic Wholemeal Rye. The Marriage's flour performed particularly well, yielding a nicely-developed, well-flavoured bread.

The process of mixing used was as for the sticks, following the information for initial autloyse, mixing and S&F from Leader as described by Zolablue, with the substitution of hand mixing for machine mixing.

The bread was baked on a stone with steam in the first 10 minutes of baking. I had been using an iron pan which I wet with half a cup of water before baking. However my domestic oven was struggling to get both this and the stone up to temperature. Since I replaced this with two much smaller fajita pans, one on each side of the oven, the steaming has been great.

The rye formed a slightly lower percentage of the overall flour in this formula and the rye taste was less prevalent than in the original sticks. However the mellower taste suited the boule and the bread was still extremely flavoursome.

Crust and Crumb

 


The formula below is for a 845g boule at approximately 69%  hydration once flour and water from the levain are accounted for. (I hope this is correct. As said below, any maths corrections accepted gladly. I have left in some of the 'working out' in the last column'. I've been enjoying doing the maths but it's testing me!)

Total Formula

Weight

Weight

Marriages organic white strong bread flour

449g

 (397 + 7 + 45)
Marriages 0rganic wholemeal flour

37g

Dove's Farm organic wholemeal rye flour

10g

 (7 + 3)
Water

342g

 (310 + 8 + 24)
Salt

7g

Total

845g

 

I estimate the hydration at 342/496 = 69% once the levain is factored in

Levain

Weight 

Weight

Original stiff levain 34g (approx. 11 water, 12 white flour, 11 wheat flour)
23g (7, 8, 7 in final 94g)
Marriages organic strong white bread flour

71g

 45g
Marriages 0rganic wholemeal flour

4g

 2g
Water

37g

 24g
Total

146g

94g

Final Dough

Weight

                     

Marriages organic strong white bread flour

397g

 
Dove's Farm wholemeal rye flour

37g

 
Water

310g

Salt

7g

Levain

94g

 
Total

845g

 

Comments

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,


Lovely breads, and the crumb texture in the sticks looks mouth-watering.   You make some excellent points about experiences regarding working with different levels of hydration.


One thought; you probably mean extensibility, not elasticiity, when referencing Dali-like clockfaces?


I much prefer dark rye anyway, and the ash content is very significant in a sour dough culture.


Just to help you along a bit: Bacheldre do a great dark rye, which can be found in Waitrose.   If you go mail order, then Little Salkeld Watermill, as we have discussed...but VERY expensive postage here!   Shipton do an excellent range of rye flours, in convenient sizes and their mail order service is efficient and reasonable too.   They do not, however, offer rye berries for sale, if you want to go down the pumpernickel route!


I see I'll be reading Collins once I've finished Kaplan!   Your findings about rye being common in the North, and white being scarcely found echo with my knowledge.   Afterall, bolted white flour has a pretty low extraction rate.   What would be done with all the waste?   How could such extravagence be countenanced among the masses struggling to feed themselves as well as possible?


Can't sleep, but I'm going back to try grab more shut-eye; still, the cat's very quiet now!


BW


Andy

Zeb's picture
Zeb

I haven't had an email from here for ages, but up popped this great post of yours Daisy this morning!  I see Ananda has already suggested sources of rye, I was going to say that Shipton Mill do a 'dark rye' and a 'light rye' and sometimes they do some chopped rye too which is basically rye berries chopped into about three pieces, though they didn't have any last time I went there a few weeks ago. I have also tried the Bacheldre rye which is very good, a very coarse grind, so good for formulae that call for meal. In the past when I haven't had the light rye, I have simply sieved whatever rye flour I have and removed some or all of the bran particles as best I can, saved the bran to dress the loaves or use on cloth.


Anyway, that's a lovely bread you've made there, and you have inspired me to try it!  best wishes, Joanna

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Many thanks for this detailed response and for all of your support!


It's taken a while to write all this up so there was a gap between the baking of the two breads. The crumb in the rye sticks was a real breakthrough in terms of my baking and they did taste lovely! We tend to eat more boules though so it's good to be able to produce a good-tasting bread in that style also. It's all good learning! Thanks for all your encouragement and helpful feedback on these two bakes, both now and earlier.


You're right - I think the previous dough was too extensible, without elasticity. I was thinking that over elastic meant it kept on stretching like weak dress elastic but I am I right to think an over elastic dough would spring back too harshly? Anyway I'm not exaggerating about the Dalí clockface effect! One of the attempted boules poured half way off the baking stone, while the other half remained in place. I salvaged the top half. It was a flat as focaccia but tasted delicious. It was a 3 day build, however and there was no way my starters could cope with that at that time. I think I made myself blind to that fact, however, as I so wanted to do the formula. That was the wake-up call to strengthen them! Seem to be better now, though.


Thanks for the advice on rye. I found some wholewheat Bacheldre Mill at our local Waitrose but no rye. Might try further afield. The stores in nearby, more rural areas tend to stock the higher end products as they have the richer populations. I see Joanna recommends Shipton Mill also. I have a wish list there. I should activate it. I seem to be buying more by internet now so it's just a case of having a backup should we not be in.


Kaplan sounds very interesting. The Collins was a real eye-opener as it was so specific about individual counties and geographical areas. Hope you get a chance to read it.


Hope you got back to sleep and that the cat is okay.


With very best wishes,  Daisy_A


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Joanna,


It's good to get your message - I'm glad the email came through!


Thanks for your encouragement and for your advice on sourcing rye. I hadn't thought to sift the darker rye and keep the bran for other purposes. That's a good tip. I've recently got the Jan Hedh book on bread and although I like the taste of the darker rye he seems to use the light rye widely in his formulae.


I have a wish list at Shipton Mill and I think I will take the plunge and order some flours, particularly as both you and Andy recommend them. It's just that I'm ordering more things by internet now so it's about having a backup if we are not in. We have great neighbours. We take packets for them and they are happy to return the favour. However we have a big bush in our front garden and if the postman or courier is in a hurry and can't get quick reply from anyone then they sometimes wig out and shove the packet under the bush. I feel for them as they must be under pressure to complete the round but it's obviously not good for flour! Will look on Shipton Mill to see if they have a 'leave with' option.


It would be great to hear how you get on if you do try this formula. Obviously you can tweak it as you wish. It can take much higher hydration. I think Jane's boule was up in the 80s. Now I know I can still get oven spring and a relatively open texture I might try adding more rye. I haven't tried 100% or pumpernickel yet although I can feel myself being drawn down that path! As far as rye in mixed grain breads, however, I tend to be like Pooh with honey - always time for a little more rye...


With very best wishes, Daisy_A


 

teketeke's picture
teketeke

Daisy_A,


I can see your breads that are very moist!! I wish I could smell them at least!!


Thank you for showing your wonderful breads!  I should try to make sour dough starter soon.


:)


teketeke

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi teketeke,


Many thanks for your response! Yes, the bread did smell good. So lovely to smell bread baking, as I'm sure you must be finding with your baguettes.


I have been following your posts on baguette baking with interest. You are baking such beautiful loaves it inspired me to try baguettes again, although given my smaller oven they will be ficelles.


Do try to cultivate a sourdough starter. It is a bit like having a pet, though. There can be quite a lot of ups and downs when it is still young and you have to feed it regularly! However it is such fun too and the sourdough definitely has an impact on the flavour and keeping qualities of the bread.


Would be good to hear how you get on if you do start a culture.


With kind regards and wishing you further happy baking, Daisy_A


 

teketeke's picture
teketeke

I wil have a pet as soon as I complete my french bread recipe :) I am making another baguettes to test. :P


 


Thank you for your kindness!


teketeke

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and nice way to score your boule, Daisy.


I like the idea of using of dark rye better, too, it's healthier, and I want a rye bread to look different from a wheat bread.


Karin

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Thanks Karin,


I'd been scoring with a serrated tomato knife but managed to buy some double sided razorblades and fashion a holder for them. It did make the scoring much easier and helped me get better definition. I was inspired to try curved strokes by some of the pictures I'd seen on TFL but mine came out different again.  Got to keep practising. I was pleased with the oven spring though as I had had a run of much flatter breads.


I know what you mean about the rye. I may try light rye a couple of times in formulas where it tends to predominate such as Hedh's, until I get used to the difference and can possible adapt the formula.  I do keep coming back to the darker rye, though. Both of us prefer it really and I take your point about a rye loaf standing out from a wheat loaf. Then again I could try recipes that start with the darker rye - lots of those to explore too and my rye starter is by far the more stable starter. Just recently I have been practising some milder breads, like focaccia, to share with family but could afford to return to rye now.


With best wishes, Daisy_A