The Fresh Loaf

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Leader's Polish Cottage Rye

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Leader's Polish Cottage Rye

Between wanting a break from my GF experiments and my starter requiring a refresh, it was time to bake something different, something with sourdough.  For reasons not entirely clear to me, I keep going back to Leader's Local Breads in spite of its known defects.  It probably has something to do with the fact that the breads, when they work, are just so good.

A case in point would be the Polish Cottage Rye.  It's the very last formula in the book and it has no errors.  Moreover, it is a very pretty and tasty bread.  At 1215g, unbaked, it is also a hefty loaf but not in any way a brick.  I'm getting ahead of myself...

Since I had Friday off, one of my morning tasks was to pull the starter out of the refrigerator and give it a good feeding.  Thinking that rye flour might be a good pick-me-up for the starter, I used the whole rye flour that I had on hand.  At that point, there was no plan for a specific bread, just getting the starter back in fighting trim was the primary goal.  Even though the kitchen temperature is in the 75-78F range these days, the starter was a bit sluggish from it's 2-3 week stay in the refrigerator.  It was midafternoon before the starter showed real evidence of activity and late in the evening before it was ready to launch a levain.  By then, it had more than doubled (with rye flour, remember) and was eager for more food.

Since there was only finely milled whole rye flour on hand instead of the white rye that Leader calls for, that was what went into the levain build.  After a thorough mixing of the starter, water, and rye flour, the levain was covered and left to its own devices through the night.

It was about 7:45 Saturday morning when I walked into the kitchen and found a levain that was ready for bread.  All that was left was to combine the levain, water, bread flour, and salt into the final dough and give it a good knead.  About 15-18 minutes of kneading, according to Leader.  So I set to with vigor, using the slap and fold method because of the dough's relative softness.  There were a couple of intervals where I used the traditional push-turn-fold method of kneading but I found myself adding more flour than I wished to because of the dough's stickiness, so then it was back to the slap and fold method.

Per Leader's directions, the dough was set to ferment until it had expanded about 1.5 times its original volume.  I suspect mine was somewhat closer to doubled but without any adverse effects.  The dough was then shaped into a single round and placed in a floured banneton for the final fermentation.  While the loaf was fermenting, the oven was set up with a baking stone and a steam pan.

When the loaf was nearly doubled, the oven was switched on.  After it had preheated to 450F, boiling water was poured into the steam pan.  The loaf was immediately tipped out onto parchment paper, slashed, and slid onto the baking stone.  The loaf looked well proofed before going into the oven.  Once there, though, it experienced even more expansion; perhaps less than doubling but certainly a 1.5 expansion from the pre-bake size.

The fragrance while baking was wonderful.  Lots of roasty/toasty notes with sourdough highlights.

We had to leave as soon as the bread came out of the oven, so I simply plopped it on a cooling rack with a towel over it.  When we returned home, we found that it had been singing during our time away:

Quite a bit, actually.

That second picture also gives a sense of the amount of oven spring.  You can see how there was some tearing at the intersection of two slashes on the right-hand side. It's also evident when looking at the top of the loaf:

The deep chestnut tone of the crust is just as appealing to the tongue as it is to the eye; lots and lots of malty and nutty flavors.

Given the length of the kneading, it's no surprise that the crumb is very regular and rather finely textured:

Some of the crumb texture may also be attributable to the use of whole rye, rather than white rye, flour.  Since I made no adjustments in the formula's hydration, the perceived hydration may be lower than it would otherwise be.  

This is a very satisfying medium rye, at least in this incarnation with whole rye flour.  With white rye flour, it would no doubt be an equally satisfying light rye bread.  The flavor is a delightful combination of rye and wheat, with the additional richness of the sourdough flavors.  Neither seeds nor bread spice are needed in this bread; it is complete as is.  

If you have, or can obtain, a copy of Local Breads, I heartily commend this bread to you.

Paul

Comments

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Nice Bake Paul.  That's a book I've been meaning to buy and just added to my amazon cart.  I've heard the horror stories but I know to look for any mistakes on here before proceeding.  I bet its nice to have some gluten back in your home.  

Cheers

Josh

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It is a good book AND it has errors, so double-check everything from ingredient quantities to the descriptive text before starting with any of the formulae.  More often than not, the metric quantities are correct even if other stuff is out of whack.  But not always...

There is a published list of errata but it is rather paltry.  You'll find more here on TFL with a search for "local breads errors" or something similar.  Don't let the problems scare you away.  You will be able to figure out most that you find with a bit of careful thought.

Yep, gluten is a wonderful substance and I'm happy to be able to work with it and eat it without ill effects.  The gf experiments are teaching me that you can make acceptable breads w/o gluten but they are a different kind of bread.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

rye bread Lucy loves but she would pumpernickel it most likely :-)  You did way better than Leader's white rye version could ever be - who would want to go back?  So what hydration did you end up with?  Well done and

Happy baking Paul

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

but then you have pumpernickel, not a Polish cottage rye.  Which is perfectly fine if pumpernickel is what you were aiming for anyway. 

It would be interesting to have a side-by-side comparison of the bread, with one version using the white rye flour and the other the whole rye flour.  Makes one wonder how the flavor profile might shift...

I'll have to look at the book again to check the hydration.  The levain was at 100% and I think that the final dough ingredients worked out to maybe 70%, so perhaps around 75% when combined?  Let me have a look again when I get home.

Hydration update: overall hydration = 74%.

Thanks dab,

Paul

wassisname's picture
wassisname

That's a beauty, Paul!  One of my all time favorites.  I use whole rye flour for this one as well and it never disappoints.  I can almost smell it now.  I think I'm going to have to make one again soon.  Thanks for the reminder!

Marcus

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

It's easy to understand why you enjoy this bread.  You won't be the only one to make it again.

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

Great looking bake Paul.  I wonder how this would turn out if you used some S & F's instead of such intensive kneading?  I'm lazy when it comes to such a long kneading :).  In any case it looks great and I can almost smell it from here.

Ian

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

My guess is that the crumb would be more open due to less working of the dough.  The plus for this approach is that there wasn't a single drip of mayonnaise on my lap after eating a sandwich made with this bread.  ;-)

Do try it.  It's very much in line with other breads you enjoy, even if the ingredient list is a lot shorter.

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Although i don't own the book, Paul, i think you've done more than justice to Leader's recipe. Such a beautiful crackling crust. The loaf is altogether beautiful.

Khalid

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

but I think it's a beauty, too, Khalid.  Thank you for your compliment.  When I saw how it had crackled, I grabbed the camera right away, knowing that those would close back up as the crust softened.

Paul

lepainSamidien's picture
lepainSamidien

What a fantastic looking bread ! Those cracks are the tell-tale sign of excellent baking protocol. You are a true professional !

What percentage rye was this bread?

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I have my share of clunkers but this one definitely made me smile.

Rye percentage is approximately 27%.

Paul

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

I totally share your magnetism to this book Paul. There is something great about the way it is presented, without tons of glossy pictures and the range of breads spanning different regions is really good. It would be useful to know what other breads you have made that didn't require recipe adjustments/corrections. I'll be having a go at this one.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

This won't be an exhaustive list of formulae that don't have some kind of error, but here goes:

French Country Boule, p. 90

Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche, p. 118

Quintessential French Sourdough, p. 124 (including the seeded variations)

Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye, p. 150

Whole Wheat Genzano Country Bread, p. 205

Soulful German Farmhouse Rye, p. 285 (although I would skip the rye flakes)

Just because a bread isn't in the list doesn't mean it has a problem.  There are quite a few that I haven't attempted, yet.  One thing that you will notice is that Leader is somewhat inconsistent about the levain builds.  Some formulae use every last gram of the levain.  Others leave as much as 70g unused.  

Have fun!

Paul

PetraR's picture
PetraR

A beautiful loaf and a good crumb!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

From your comments about holes on other threads, I thought that you might like the looks of this one.

Paul

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I also love the colour of the bread.

Only Rye can give us this. 

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Wonderful looking bake.  I too love this recipe in the book, along with a few others (mainly in the french sourdough section).  Great pictures, great bake.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

This, and other breads in the book, is the kind of thing that keeps me coming back and more than offsets the occasional erroneous formula.  Although, I will confess that I haven't taken a second run at the Auvergne Rye; that one had enough issues to cool my enthusiasm for quite a while.

Paul