The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Andrew Whitley's Russian Rye - - to cover or not to cover with lid?

Allyta's picture

Andrew Whitley's Russian Rye - - to cover or not to cover with lid?

Hello! I'm looking for the posting I saw on this site about baking Andrew Whitley's Russian Rye (sourdough) with a cover for the first 5 to 10 minutes.  It had pictures of two attempts, one with a bread baked covered for 5 mins and the other of a bread baked for 10 mins covered.  It was such an interesting posting, but for some reason I can't find it now!

We have baked one loaf of this bread according to Whitley's original instructions, but now we want to tweak it a little.  I have a lot of aucess with Lahey's no-knead bread in many variations (including a 50-50 light rye) and thought I would use his covered pot method (where the pot is preheated for half and hour, and the bread is baked covered for the first 1/2 hr).  I'm thinking this mimics a steam environment...altho I think the no knead bread is a wetter dough than Whitley's Russian rye.

The thing is - Whitley has you proof the dough in the baking vessel and put in the oven just like that.  Although the pan was greased, it still stuck to the pan.  Whereas when you the pan, and flour the dough before adding it to the pan, the dough (at least with the no knead method) it does not stick at all - - so I'd like to try that with Whitley's recipe, as well as covering it to create that steam environment.  I think that might be what the person who wrote the post (which I can't find) was trying to accomplish.  



Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Allyta, you might try this.  It works great for me.

I proof my loaves on peels covered with parchment paper.  Sometimes I bake in a Dutch oven, sometimes on a stone.  If I'm using the Dutch oven, I preheat it to 500 degrees, lid and all.  Then I pick up the loaf by lifting the edges of the paper and lower it into the pan, give it a quick spray, put the lid on, and pop it into the oven.  Lastly, I lower the temp to 425 degrees, or whatever, and bake away.  Removing the lid during the last ten minutes gives the crust a nice browning.

When baking on a stone I simply roll the shelf out, place the peel over the stone so the loaf is centered, and pull the peel out while holding the back edge of the paper.  This puts the loaf on the stone without deflating it at all.  Works a lot better than the traditional method of jerking the peel from beneath the loaf.

The paper does get a little "crispy" at the corners, but it doesn't matter -- just don't try to pick up the finished loaf by the paper, because it can't hold the weight.

ananda's picture

Hi Allyta,

I believe Andrew's recipe uses 100% hydration; it is certainly 100% rye.   I would keep using a bread pan.   If you melt some solid fat and use that to coat all areas of the bread pan, that is the most effective way to grease a bread tin.   Don't use oil as it just runs down to the bottom of the pan!   Then you can coat the pan walls in flour.   Rye is renowned for sticking to anything, but I never have any problems.

I also think the hydration at 100% is optimistic.   If you cut it back to 85%, you may well find the loaf bakes out better and doesn't become fast in the pan.

Best wishes