The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retro Rye

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Retro Rye

Warning: I have not baked this bread!  Now that that's out of the way...

I have a 1948 edition of the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer.  It had belonged to my mother; a wedding gift, I believe.  

Although the CAI (not to be confused with the CIA or with the other CIA--good grief, now I'm getting confused!) itself had a rather spotty history, it's cookbook lives on in various reprintings.  For its time, it was a big deal in cookbooks.  It has a profusion of photographs, some in color.  It's big--over 1000 pages, including the index.  It covers everything from basic information about ingredients to advice for planning a party; from appetizers to pulled sugar work.  More than just being a cookbook, it strives for a certain sense of personality or style.  As Ms. Berolzheimer put it, "The elusive charm of this personality stems from clear overtones: a light touch--a sense of humor--a flair for the clever idea in cooking and serving that results in something called style, but above all a feeling for the kind of beauty that women want about them in their work-a-day world."  I suspect that what I saw in the kitchen of our small farmhouse in northern Michigan was probably something different than Ms. Berolzheimer envisioned while she lived in the big city of Chicago.

In any event, the book also contains recipes for various yeasted and quick breads.  This one for Dark Rye Bread caught my eye and I thought that some of you might be interested.  Note that a bread with the same title is still included in the newer editions of the book but that the contents have been radically changed.

Dark Rye Bread

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cake yeast

15.5 cups sifted light rye flour

1 cup freshly mashed potatoes

1 quart lukewarm water

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons caraway seed

Mix the sugar and crumbled yeast; allow to stand until the yeast liquifies.  In a large bowl, sift in 6 cups of the rye flour.  Combine the sugar, yeast, potatoes and water; then stir into flour.  Mix until smooth.  

Add the salt, the caraway seed, and another 6 cups of flour.  Mix thoroughly rather than kneading.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in bulk.  

Place the dough on a floured board and knead in additional flour until the dough is smooth and almost stiff enough to hold its shape as a single large loaf.  (This may take 3-4 cups of flour to achieve.)  

Round the dough up into one large loaf and place it on a floured baking sheet.  Let it rise until it has doubled in bulk, perhaps 1.5 hours.  

Pierce the dough lightly with a fork, brush the top with cold water, and place it in an oven that has been preheated to 425F.  After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 45 minutes longer.  Remove the loaf from the oven and brush the top with cold water.

Makes one very large loaf.  (Ya think?!)

As I said at the top, I have not made this bread.  For one thing, locating light rye flour is something of a challenge for me.  But even if it weren't, I'm pretty sure that I would not be a happy camper with it as written.  Picture the poor soul who is acquainted with wheaten breads that tries to make this for the first time ever.  Oh, the stickiness!  Frankly, I'd skip the knead-on-a-floured-board business and just leave the dough in the bowl.  That would at least allow me to keep one hand clean for things like adding flour while using the other as my kneading/mixing implement.

I would also convert this to use a rye sour, rather than using commercial yeast.  There are so many advantages that accrue from using a sour in a 100% rye bread.  But then, I'd be making a different bread, wouldn't I?

Anyway, there you are; a small look back at baking at home in the mid-20th century.

Paul

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Paul,

I'm pretty sure you can get Light Rye Flour at king Arthur Flour.

I agree I would probably use a rye sour starter which would add much more complexity to the finished bread.

I recently purchased "Inside the Jewish Bakery" by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg.  I've made a few rye breads so far with mixed results, but if you have not read this book I highly recommend it.

You can find my attempt at "Old School Jewish Rye" at my other blog if you're interested:  htpp://www.mookielovesbread.wordpress.com

Ian

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I was anticipating that Stan would remind me that he has light rye flour available at New York Bakers, too.  And then you mention KAF!  Ah well, if the itch gets strong enough that it can only be scratched by paying exorbitant shipping costs for a bulky commodity, I suppose I shall order some.  Having grown up with people who lived through the Great Depression has no doubt colored my attitudes toward money and its use.

Yes, I have ITJB, too, and it is a treasure.  (See, I do splurge occasionally!) 

Pat (see below) is egging me on, too.  Maybe I should just try half a recipe as written, and another half recipe with a sour and see how they compare.

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

Paul, if you sign up for an account with KAF you can usually wait until they offer free shipping and the price ends up not being too bad.

I was looking to try some new flour from a new source, specifically Golden Buffalo from Heartland Mill and the shipping and handling charges were higher than the cost of the flour!

Regards,

Ian

proth5's picture
proth5

As you may have noticed - I've been browsing through my immense cookbook collection and coming across some "vintage" recipes.  Some, when given a good think through vis a vis technique - are astonishingly good.  The technique of kneading in the flour in two additions - is interesting.

I'd give it a try if I weren't doing battle with triticale... (and working way too much at my "hobby").

You should try it :>)

Pat

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

But is it interesting in the "Oooh!  That's interesting!" sense?  Or more in the vein of the curse that wishes you "an interesting life"?

The idea of kneading more flour into a rye dough that has already fermented once makes me a bit twitchy.  While obviously providing more food for the second fermentation, all of the structure gained in the first fermentation is lost.  Or is the process designed to create structure by drying the dough enough that it can (almost) stand on its own?  Very interesting, indeed.

I don't use altus very often.  If it flops, this could be nearly a lifetime supply.

By the way, did you read yesterday's Foxtrot comic strip?  You're making me feel like the first character that went down the hill.

Paul

proth5's picture
proth5

as in - well who would think of mixing dough to nearly full development and then adding more water - which is a truly great technique (if you have the mixer for it).  Sometimes these things that seem crazy can be eye opening.

Or sometimes they are crazy.

But if you never fail, you really aren't learning anything. And I've thown out enough triticale bricks to know that I'm learning...

:>)