Rye Bread Crust - A Question for Experts
Today I baked the first bread from a new German bread baking book - "Brot - so backen unsere besten Baecker" (Bread - how our best bakers bake). I chose a very appetizing looking sourdough rye bread from a bakery of my old hometown, Hamburg, called "Hamburger Strong One".
This is how "Hamburger Kraeftiges" looks like in the book.
The recipe was fairly clear, suggesting to buy some rye sourdough from a bakery, and describing a one-day procedure. I made a 3-step rye sourdough, worked with stretch & fold and overnight refrigeration and when I baked it, it came out looking like this:
The bread tastes very good, the crumb ist just right - but how comes the difference in the crust?
This is the original recipe (2 breads):
520 g rye sourdough (from a bakery, or home made from 280 g rye flour and 240 g water and built in 4 steps)
500 g rye flour type 1150 (a type that's used for rye/wheat mixed breads, it's in between white rye (type 815) and whole rye (1800))
350 g wheat flour type 550 (the flour type with the highest protein content, approximately like bread flour)
540 g water, at 25 - 28 C (77 - 82 F)
25 g sea salt
16 g Bioreal yeast (an organic instant yeast, that is a little less strong than regular instant yeast, 1 part instant yeast = 1.3 part Bioreal yeast)
Knead together all ingredients (except for the yeast) slowly for 8 minutes. Add yeast after 2 minutes. Let dough rest, covered, for 1 hour. Then shape into rounds, place on a baking sheet and let rest for another 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 260 C/500 F. When bread surface shows pronounced cracks, place in oven. To keep surface elasticity and achieve gloss, pour 50 - 60 ml water on heated steam pan or oven bottom. After 20 minutes reduce heat to 220 C/428 F and bake for another 40 - 50 minutes.
Karin's adaptation: (1 bread):
260 rye sourdough (at 100% hydration, built in 3 steps)
250 g whole rye flour
175 g bread flour
270 g water
13 g sea salt
7 g instant yeast
Mix together all ingredients for 1 -2 minutes at low speed. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Knead for 2 minutes at low/medium-low speed, adjust water if necessary, and continue kneading for another 4 minutes.
Stretch and fold 4 times with 10 minute intervals (total time 40 minutes). Place in lightly oiled bowl, rolling it around to coat with oil, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Let de-chill for 1 hour, shape into boule and place, seam side down, on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with rye flour, mist with oil and cover loosely with plastic. Let proof at room temperature for 1 - 2 hours, until grown to 1 1/2 times it's original size and surface shows cracks.
Preheat oven to 500 F, including steam pan. Place bread on baking stones (lowest rack) with steam pan on highest rack. Pour 1/4 cup water in steam pan. Bake for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 425 F and continue baking for another 40 - 50 minutes, rotating bread once.
That was my idea. Everything went according to plan, stretching & folding was easy, the dough neither too dry nor too sticky. It rose quite a bit in the refrigerator. After shaping, the dough grew faster than I expected, after 1 hour of proofing the finger tip test left a dent that indicated it was risen enough. The surface showed first signs of cracking, but not very pronounced. Being afraid of overproofing, I placed the bread in the oven, steamed with 1/4 cup of water (though I was a bit sceptical whether that would be enough, but my oven is very well insulated). After a total baking time of 40 minutes the bread was already done, the internal temperature registered at 208 F. It had not risen anymore in the oven, and the cracks were only a little deeper.
Though I thought it might be a total flop, it's not. The crust is not too thick, the crumb looks just right - and the taste is wonderful!
My question to the experts: why is my crust so different? In the book the deeply cracked crust is mentioned as the signature feature of this particular bread. Is it the different type of rye flour?
Let me know what you think.