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Advice needed on how to make a rye soaker

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Syd's picture
Syd

Advice needed on how to make a rye soaker


The other day I decided to include a hot rye soaker in my white sourdough.  I was hoping it would add a touch of sweetness.  To be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing and should have done some more research on the matter but just decided to wing it anyway.


 


My recipe calls for 450g flour,  300g water and 150g of starter with 2% salt.  I decided to make the soaker with 50g of rye flour and 250g of boiling water.  Not really knowing what to do I just dumped 250g of boiling water on top of 50g of rye flour.  It gelatinized the flour immediately and it became all lumpy. I stirred it for about ten minutes, but to no avail: it was still lumpy.  It didn't look right to me but I perservered with the recipe anyway.  I let it cool to room temp, added it to the 150g of starter, remaining 400g of bread flour and remaining 100g of water.


 


The first thing I noticed was that the dough seemed a lot drier than usual.  It behaved like a 65% hydration dough, rather than a 71%.  Anyway, I went ahead and baked it.


 


 


It came out nicely but to be honest, I didn't notice anything special about the taste.  It wasn't noticably sweeter than usual.  What did I do wrong?  What percentage of the total flour should the soaker be?  How much water in relation to flour?  I have read about cooking the mash and keeping it at a constant 66 degrees C but without a really finely calibrated, accurate heating source this isn't very practical.  I have also read somewhere about cold soakers with added salt.  Supposedly this method can produce even sweeter results.  Any advice would really be appreciated.


 


Syd

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

There are lots of threads and blogs about rye soakers, if you use the search box at the left side of the page.  Here's a good example (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18965/variations-polish-country-bread).


I used this formula with good success.


Rye flour in a soaker will soak up a lot of water, so the hydration of the dough will seem lower and you should adjust the hydration according to feel.


Good luck.


Glenn

amolitor's picture
amolitor

I think I would let it sit out overnight, rather than simply cooling to room temp. Also, 50g to 400g seems little on the light side, I'd probably also double the amount of rye.


Dump the water on, stir loosely to distribute the water, let sit 10 minutes, stir thoroughly, then let sit covered at room temperature overnight. At least, that's what *I* do, I'm no expert on the chemistry!


 

wally's picture
wally

Syd- I'm using soakers in most of my rye recipes (which you are welcome to look at on my TFL blog).  Usually my soaker runs from 20% - 40% of total dough weight.  At the high end I add some or all of the salt in the recipe to guard against gumminess caused by excessive amylase activity.


Most soaker recipes I'm familiar with either call for equal weights rye and water, or a ratio of 1:2, rye to water.  Frankly the later is easier to work with in terms of incorporating the rye and water.  I also make my soakers the night before and cover them tightly so there's no evaporation.


I'm frankly puzzled that with a ratio of 1:5 you ended up with seems, by your description, like a cement-like substance.  With that much water you shouldn't have had that result.


I'd be curious as to the type of rye you are using.  And, as someone mentioned above, I think to gain noticeable sweetness, you need to increase the amount of rye in your soaker.


Good luck,


Larry

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks for your suggestions everyone.  Actually, Larry, I have followed a lot of your posts although I hadn't read the one on the Polish Country bread that Glenn pointed me to.  I see there that you also pour the boiling water on top of the rye flour.  Initially I thought, perhaps, I should have done it the other way around: sprinkled the flour on top of the boiling water.  Yesterday, I found a post by Andy (Ananda) where he sprinkles the flour on top of 74 degree C hot water and then whisks it in.  I wonder if this wouldn't result in a smoother consistency. 


Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that the resulting mix ended up looking like cement.  No, it was a thin-ish porridge consistency.  It was the lumps that were worrying me.  I thought the loaf would end up with little globules of starch in it.  It didn't turn out that way but the whole process looked so inelegant I wondered if I had done anything wrong. 


But really what I was most disappointed in was the taste test.  I thought it would be noticeably sweeter, but it wasn't.    I see that amoitor suggests that I used too little rye to make a difference.  Next time I will try with 100g rye and 200g water.  I think I might try Andy's method of  sprinkling the flour on top of the water and whisking it in. I will also follow your suggestion to make it up when I do the levain.  Perhaps the extra time will add some sweetness.


Syd

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hi there! 


Yes, lumps... that can happen.  If you dissolve the flour into the water first and then carefully heat it up stirring constantly.  You'll get results without the lumps unless you overheat and let the goop burn on the bottom.  So as soon as it thickens or a bubble "blurps" remove from heat!   Then allow to cool.  Cover while cooling (or stir often) to prevent a skin from forming. 


 "Next time I will try with 100g rye and 200g water..."   Um, I'm afraid the mixture will be too thick too fast.  Think about how a tablespoon of flour thickens soup...  If you've done it already, you can take the cold mass to a grater for the dough or feed your rye starter with it.  It will love the stuff!


Mini in Austria

Syd's picture
Syd


If you dissolve the flour into the water first and then carefully heat it up stirring constantly.  You'll get results without the lumps unless you overheat and let the goop burn on the bottom.  So as soon as it thickens or a bubble "blurps" remove from heat!   Then allow to cool.  Cover while cooling (or stir often) to prevent a skin from forming.



That's a great idea Mini.  I think I will try that.  I also want to try a cold soaker with some salt and compare the two for sweetness. 


Glad to hear that you are safely back in Austria Mini.


Syd

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Also worth noting is that "mashing" as used by beer makers is done to malted grains, not flour. Malted grains are chemically QUITE different from flours, the process of sprouting the grain yields up a ton of enzymes and starts breaking down a bunch of stuff.


I'm not sure that a soaker of ordinary rye flour is going to produce a great deal of sweet flavor specifically.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Syd,


with that proportion of boiling water to rye you may have exceeded the denaturation temperature of the amylase enzimes. Hot soakers get sweet faster than cold soakers, but you have to pay a lot of attention to temperature. The optimal il 65°C.


Maybe a safer approach to a hot soaker is: mixing cold water and flour (2:1) and heat slowly up to 65°C (even the NW at 600W works well), then cover, envelope in a blanket and let cool. Yet, since I discovered how well they work I prefer cold and salted soakers, but I prepare them at least 12 hours in advance.

Syd's picture
Syd


with that proportion of boiling water to rye you may have exceeded the denaturation temperature of the amylase enzimes.


 



You are probably right.  I only used that proportion (5:1) because it is the proportion often used in the 'tangzhong' method which is popular here in the east. I hadn't thought about there being too much water in relation to flour to use this method.  100g of boiling water poured onto 50g of flour might be just the right amount to end up with a temp. of somewhere between 65 and 70 degrees C but  250g of boiling water is going to result in a much higher final temp.  Thanks for pointing that out.


 



Maybe a safer approach to a hot soaker is: mixing cold water and flour (2:1) and heat slowly up to 65°C (even the NW at 600W works well), then cover, envelope in a blanket and let cool.


 



This is exactly what I usually do when doing 'tangzhong'.  It is just that I had read here on TFL about how people did it by pouring boiling water on top of the flour.


 


I actually tried the method you suggest last week.  I used the microwave because I only did a small amount: 25g flour and 50g water.  It was just a test. I immediately covered it with cling wrap and put it in the oven with the light on for about 4 hours.  Then I let it cool to room temp.  and put it in the fridge for two days.  It was super sweet and smooth.  No lumps.  Unfortunately I was too busy on the weekend to do any baking so I didn't get to use it but I will definitely be trying this again soon.