The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye Test 6B

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Rye Test 6B

The past week's bake featured two interesting breads.  One is titled After-Hearth Rye and the other Ammerland Black Bread.  The black bread, interestingly enough, isn't nearly as dark as the not-black bread.  

I had some difficulties with the After-Hearth Rye.  There are several possible reasons for the difficulties.  One is that the ingredient quantities and hydration levels didn't seem to be in agreement.  Another is that the hydration didn't seem nearly high enough to facilitate the described consistency, which was given as a thick but pourable batter.  Another is that the whole rye flour I'm using might be more absorptive than the medium rye flour that the formula calls for.  One certain reason is my decision to achieve the described consistency by adding water.  I abandoned that idea after adding 200g of water above the amount called for in the formula without getting to a batter consistency.  The memory of a run-in with Leader's Classic Auvergne Dark Rye is still painfully fresh.

Other than the extra water, everything else was done as called for in the formula.  At the end of the final fermentation, with the crests of the loaves just reaching the top edge of the pans, I had two lovely loaves ready to go into the oven.  They looked a bit different when I took them out:

The flash has bleached some of the color out.  Still, it wasn't pretty.  This degree of expansion was what greeted my eyes when I first looked in the oven about 20 minutes into the bake.  The loaves had come *this* close to overflowing but had crusted over in time to stop the overflow.  Since most of the expansion seemed to occur around the perimeter of the pans, my theory is that it was due to steam formation in the dough rather than yeast activity.  Note, too, that I baked the bread an hour longer than recommended, trying to get to the suggested 200F internal temperature.  No luck.  I finally pulled it out at 185F because the temperature probe was coming out fairly clean, rather than gummy.

Unpanned, the loaves didn't look much better, with a large cornice around the upper perimeter where the near-overflow was stopped.  Here's a view of the side and bottom.  The cornice on the near side has broken off:

Here's a somewhat closer view of the top of one loaf:

Oddly enough, the center of the loaf hasn't fallen, as it would appear.  It's just that everything else expanded so much in the first minutes of the bake.  The crumb color was a deep cocoa brown and the crumb texture was surprisingly open.  The color is a result of the baking process; nothing that went into the dough was this dark.  The top crust is prone to breaking off and tearing away the crumb, hence the ragged edges in this photo:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the crumb was barely sticky, much less gummy.  Apparently I baked off the excess water.  The flavor is intensely sour; enough to override the cocoa/coffee notes that I had expected on seeing how dark the crumb is.

The Ammerland Black Bread may be lighter in color but not in mass.  The loaf, baked in one 9x5 pan, weighed 4 pounds after baking!  "Open" is not the word that springs to mind when viewing the crumb.  Here it is, ready to go into the oven:

And baked:

And the crumb, which seems wholly inadequate as a label for this monlith.  Hey kids, let's play "Where's Bubble?":

While the crust is a worthy opponent for a band-saw, the flavor is superb.  Grain, grain, and more grain with no appreciable sourness.  It's very much to my liking. 

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

my microwave bread I did in Spain a while back.  Do you think a deeper pan would help?  Interesting is right.   :)

pmccool's picture
pmccool

The quantity of additional water that I added is probably the culprit.  I've never seen a bread, much less a rye bread, develop that kind of souffle appearance before.  Too bad I wasn't around to watch it grow in the first 20 minutes, although it might have made me panic.

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

Certainly interesting.  I'm sure Stan will appreciate the detailed feedback.  The black bread looks more like a brown bread.  I guess if you like "heavy" breads it would be ideal.  Probably good sliced thin as a cocktail bread I can imagine.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

John Madden says there are two food groups: sinkers (his favorite) and floaters.  This is definitely a sinker.  The flavor is very grainy.  The crumb, while very firm and dense, is still easy to chew.  You are spot on in thinking that it is best sliced thin. 

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

of 'rustic rye' if there ever was one.  The extra water really opened the crumb but allowed the huge expansion where the hot pan met the dough.  I bet that with the original water it would have been better outside but not as open.

The 2nd one looks better on the outside but my garden pavers aren't that heavy and dense on the inside.  The outside of the 2nd one mixed with the inside of the first one would make for a really nice rye bread.  These need some more development work and will give Stan plenty to do.

Still two more breads Lucy has never heard of before,

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Less additional water, that is.  Maybe 100g instead of the 200g I added.  Without any additional water, this bread would have been almost as brick-like as your pavers, too.  One thing is for sure: none of your pavers ever tasted this good.  :)

This week's recipes for Group B will probably add to Lucy's list of never-before-known breads.  They have mine, certainly.

Paul

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Paul,

You've seen the picture of my After-hearth bread, made with the prescribed ingredients' quantities, in the thread http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40624/rye-test-week-2b-milwaulkee-rye .

Like you, I expected a brick. I was surprised to find the crumb nearly as open as yours, and a tender, and not gummy, mouth-feel. However, its flavor did not impress.

My Ammerland Black Bread's crust and crumb looks a twin to yours, and matches your description perfectly. It resisted any attempt I made assaulting it with a bread knife. I finally succeeded cutting a couple of thin slices after resorting to my electric slicer. While it whizzes through home cured ham, sausage and pastrami, its revolutions slowed considerably dealing with this ah-h-h...loaf?

We part ways, however, with its flavor and mouth-feel. I find its flavor akin to beer brewer's spent grain, and its grittiness from unpleasant to threatening tooth damage. Admittedly, after a quart of saliva and and hour of careful chewing later I defeated my sample.

I'm considering giving my loaf's remains--slightly less than 2-kg mass--a coat of polyurethane and using it as a doorstop.

Regards,

David G

P.S. I've also added a pic of my Ammerland Black bread to the referenced thread above.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I used two slices of the bread for my lunch sandwich today.  While I still like the flavor, the bread has dried considerably even though it has been kept in a plastic bag.  That made the texture more gravelly when chewing than it had been a few days ago.  The crust is still rock-hard; I trimmed that off before making the sandwich.

My bread knife is fairly stout, so I'm able to cut the loaf but it requires a lot of sawing.  That your slicer actually got through it is pretty impressive.

After taking another look at the recipe, I think that it would be advisable to move all of the cracked grain into the sponge so that it can absorb more moisture.  It seems that it may be absorbing moisture from the crumb post-bake.  I also wonder if this is a bread that would benefit from a longer, cooler bake in a steamy environment.  That might help prevent such a hard crust and, maybe, promote a moister crumb, too. 

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with a lot of bricks.  Oops  "extremely hardy loaves" and my husband was beginning to protest the wisdom of this venture.  Not a happy camper I should admit.  And two bricks per week created a conflict.  I had to either sneak around and pretend not to be baking, hard to do with trapped in rye aromas or....  well...lets say, I suffered a delay.  

Glad to see some of the recipes rising to new heights.  About the flavours.  As a person who bakes rye all the time, not too many surprises in the flavour department.  So... I've gone about with the basic recipes adding my own spices, and comparing sourness, textures and baking ease.  Some of the doughs have surprised me in handling and others were as expected.  

I do look at most of them as basic recipes that can do with a little pepping up ... adding those secret ingredients or touches that make them my own.   I wish I knew some of those secret ingredients where the loaves originate.  

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Mostly.  The Ammerland Black Bread is a notable exception to that generality.  What I have noticed is that hydration levels seem to run a bit low (which might be a by-product of the flour I've used).  And there have been a few breads that, flavorwise, are virtually indistinguishable from each other.  A couple were very straightfoward and one was a lot of fuss and feathers.  Guess which one, of that group, I'm least likely to make again?

To your point, yes, a good sour rye tastes pretty much like other sour ryes.  So yes, some flavor hits like aromatic seeds or citrus peel might be good additions.

Paul

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I'm glad to see, reading both yours and Mini's comments, I'm not the only one greeting most of the straight ryes with "How would I adjust this breads flavor?" buzzing in my head shortly after my first bite. As a novice rye baker--I've only been taking and baking rye breads seriously this past year--I've learned from this experience I've a jaded palette that craves flavors first and foremost. Perhaps I've been unkind describing some of the breads we've baked in group B "ho-hum" re flavor.

I'm also learning my interest in rye breads is falling into two categories. The first is "sandwich ryes" lightly flavored with aromatic seed mixtures: in the crumb, not just sprinkled on the top crust. (My favorite sandwich is the classic Rueben) The second is dense,  80% (or greater) sour ryes that stand up to fillings or toppings like dill cured lox, smoked fish, dressed-up sardines, or spicy cured meats and sausages. I guess I can't think of rye breads without their pairings, unlike wheat sourdoughs, challah and brioche all loved naked or simply buttered. The Rye Sour I maintain alongside my wheat sourdough starters can deliver, but it's struggled wherein the dosage ratios have ranged only from 2% to 9%.

Specific to the Ammerland Black Bread, I really wanted to like this bread, but it disappointed, especially in its mouthfeel. I think the heavy density of seeds would behave better with an overnight hydration-neutral soak, and perhaps, a pre-soak toasting. I'll say as much to Stan in my evaluation.

Regards,

David G

jeano's picture
jeano

In group D, here, and there have been several formulas I have wanted to spice up, and/or substitute whole rye flour. I have snuck a little whole rye in and tinkered with hydration some but have really tried to stick to the directions even though my conscience has rebelled.

 So far only one brick. We'll see how today's Christmas loaf turns out--its 100% rye and loaded with fruit. Thinking fruitcake not stollen....

isand66's picture
isand66

I'm in group D as well.  Only one brick-like bake to date.  I agree with Jeano above, but I've pretty much stuck to the recipe as written.  I'm not a fan of heavy rye breads at all but the people I have given them away to seem to have enjoyed them.  I have a Berlin Rye about to go in the oven once I take my own creation out of the oven.  I'm not so sure about this fruit concoction either :).