The Fresh Loaf

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HarryGermany Rye Bread, Part II, This time for beginners

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

HarryGermany Rye Bread, Part II, This time for beginners

Let's experiment.  Let's just let novices repond to this thread.  So if you are 2 yrs. or under in experience I invite you to respond.  If you are more experienced, like 95% of the members here, feel free to move on to other threads and share your expertise elsewhere.

 Ramona, are you out there???  I did it again; I made another loaf and just took it out of the oven.  Looks fine to me.  This time I folded rather than left it as Harry suggested for the 2 hour wait time.  All came out fine.

Now then a suggestion just for us beginners....There are different views of thought on slicing or not slicing rye bread prior to baking.  I don't want to get involved in that argument however I know that Hamelman likes his 'dough dockers'

(Dough Dockers ... Perforate dough to minimize bubbles in baking; Stainless steel pins ... Roll over dough to minimize the rise and exploding crusts(

If like me you do not have easy access to a dough docker  :-), I suggest using one of those long metal pointed 'things' that people use to test if meat or cake is baked.  If you just use that and poke all over the top it should work fine.  It did with me.  (formerly i tried a cheese cake pronged cutter, which was close, but the ends are not pointed so it does not really work.)

Also, and this is from one beginner to another, I realize that one of the most frustrating things about bread baking is that as I bake my standards and awareness level rise.  Have you noticed that?  Bread ain't just bread anymore; it's gotta be a damn art object that doesn't just taste good but looks good as well.  I gotta analyze and decide if my crumb, crust, etc. are sufficient.  I am sure this is a phase I will get through but for the time being the more baking I do the higher my standards go.

Floyd is of course masterful in his posting of a simple bread recipe that is easy to make and looks fine.  I am sure confidence will come with more baking but I greatly doubt it will be within my life time....8-)

Let me know how you do with your go around on this recipe this week.  

enjoy 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I am glad to hear that this time everything went well for you.  I don't know what dough dockers are, never heard of them, nor have I looked at Hamelman's book.  I did try this recipe again.  The first time, I made a boule and did not slash it and everything came out really well.   I baked it from a cold start too.  The second time, I made 1 1/2 times the recipe and made 1 boule and 2 batards.  I decided to slash all of them and did it before the final proof.  I read once that rye should be slashed right after shaping, so I thought I would try it.  The batards turned out fine, but the boule's slash grew immense as it baked and it even ripped some.  So next time, I will not be slashing the boule.  It really ruined it for using in sandwiches, but is still good for breakfast and soup.  I really like this bread and my husband says it taste like pumpernickle (I add a couple of tbsp. of caraway seeds), which is exactly what I have been wanting to do since starting all of this.  Whether it be cooking or baking, it all becomes a challenge to become more.  Always creating better, makes it very addicting.  Julia Childs once made a statement about eating (I don't remember the exact wording) but it was something about her never knowing how to eat until she was in her 30's, when she learned how to cook better.  Food should be more than just substance.   I don't eat for substance, I eat with pleasure, savoring my food.  The way you describe making bread, is how I am with all that I make to eat.   There are alot of people in this country that would think I am crazy, but spending several hours or even more in my kitchen is very relaxing and enjoyable to me.  I love to make food for people that enjoy it, but I do not like people at my table that don't know how to appreciate it.  Presentation is a big part of eating.  It is always like art.  And when things don't go well and you get a flop, it really can be depressing, especially with so much effort involved.  Practice, practice, practice.   Sometimes for me, if I could just see someone else do it once, then that makes all the difference for me.  Peter's new book on whole grains has some good instructional pictures and they have really helped me with my shaping.   As for standards, sometimes what others think is the only way, is not the way for you.  For instance, I don't like big holes in my bread, but most do and think they have failed if they don't have them.  For me, anything you put on the bread goes through the holes and makes a mess, but that's me.  I like having a tighter crumb, but soft.  I also don't like hard, crunchy crusts, which most do, so I am really not following standards.  And if I baked my breads as long as what I see in alot of bread pictures, no one here would eat them, because they would be considered burnt.  So, it's all in what you want, not what a book says it has to be.   Beginners just need more repetition, but eventually, "casually" will come yours and my way with making bread.   

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Many thanks for the responses; found them most informative.

Also when you say

  1.  Sometimes for me, if I could just see someone else do it once, then that makes all the difference for me.  ,
  2. I don't like big holes in my bread, but most do and think they have failed if they don't have them.  .... I like having a tighter crumb, but soft.  I also don't like hard, crunchy crusts, which most do, so I am really not following standards. 

Re#1: I have never seen someone make bread.  It sure would have helped.  There is so much to see and learn

Re#2: Re a tighter crumb and soft......Yes!  My sense is that we are the only two people on the forum that feel this way; but I totally agree.  And All the different German breads in the stores around here have the same close crumb but soft.  I wonder if preferences will change with time.

Since I know of no one who bakes bread myself I am really a total Closet Case when it comes to sharing thoughts and preferences on it, so, it is especially nice to hear what you think.

One final question on your dough with this recipe: just how sticky and liquid is the dough when you are folding it.  That is difficult to answer, but I know it should not be on the dry side as if it were and whole wheat loaf.  The books say definitely do not load up the rye recipes with flour but to keep it sticky and hard to manage.  So the question between one newbie and another is since one can not do a window pane test on it just what should the hydration level or stickyness be for you to do it correctly.

enjoy.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

Well, that is kinda difficult to answer because I took the easy way out when I put my dough into the refrigerator.  Shaping is not my forte. My bread is probably a little different than yours, because I used hard, red spring wheat with rye.  I didn't use any white flour.  I did use the ratio of rye to wheat that he said to, but I didn't use quite as much milk.   This is what I came up with when I tried to change his recipe into our measuring standards ( I might be off, but it worked for me):

3 cups rye

2/3 cup wheat 

buttermilk- the same as the flours ( I used a little less)

3 tsps. salt

2 1/4 tsp. yeast 

I know that you measure exact, but I don't, so these are close to my measurements.  The dough was very sticky and I tried to use the dough hook in my kitchen aid machine, but it didn't seem to want to pull the dough together and just spiraled around with a little dough in it, so I took it out and put it into a bowl and use a rubber spat to kinda knead it around for a while and then let it sit for a while, until I saw some rise.  Then I use the spat again to pull the sides over into the center, like folding.  I put it into to the refrigerator and folded it again before I went to bed.  In the morning, I took it out and rounded it and shaped it.  I was really impressed that I could free form it onto a sheet pan and it kept it's shape, when rising.  The crust came out just a little tough to need a good bread knife to cut it and the crumb was just right, not dry or tough.  The stickiness seems to get toned down some after a couple of folds in the bowl and then with being cold overnight.  I used some last night for garlic, chesse toasts to accompany soup and salad last night.   Good!  I hope I answered your question.  I might end up frustrating you though, because even though I bascially do follow a recipe and use measuring cups and spoons ( I don't use a scale and probably never will).  I might just add a little more of something or a little less of something as I go.  I pretty much never follow a recipe exact.  I always have to change something, because I have set standards as to what I eat.  Like I said before, I also don't usually follow other standards that are set down as guidelines, because my preferences are different than that, whether it be for health reasons or simple taste.  Which by the way is another thing, I usually never heat up my milk and I use raw milk, with all those healthy enzymes and bacterias, but I have not have had any problems with my doughs over it.  I knew going into this that I was taking the hard road, but I knew that one way or another, I was going to make this work. 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Appreciate the feed back on it.

Re your not measuring exactly:

I think that is great.  99% of people here are dedicated to scales and yes I have at long last bought one, but I do agree with you.  What most people do not know on this Forum is that Joy of Cooking....!!!...uses cups and not scales for measurement.

Sticky:

Sounds like a stupid question but it seems from reading of P.Reinhart it is essential that the degree be sufficient.  It sounds as if your use of the fridge is excellent.

Milk:

I used water instead of milk this time around and it worked fine.  However the butter milk is definitely better.

It seems with these ryes that the Long baking times are really very necessary.

Finally, from the way you write it sounds as if you have lots of experience to add and change as you go along.  I am new so I find that more difficult.  Also I find that the whole confidence thing is strange.  Does anyone develope confidence baking bread?  I mean people on the board are always talking about scales so they can duplicate without error again and again.  That is nice, but I don't sense I have this overwhelming sense of confidence when baking bread....like there is the yeast, and the ambient temps and the amount to actually degass...it seems that each time around is a totally different thing.  Maybe with time it will become a "piece of cake."

By the way I added 2 Ts. of honey the last time around and it all came out beautifully light golden brown.  Uggghhh....I felt so proud of it...and the crumb was very tight and soft....uggghh..the pride of it all..  8-)

enjoy 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

CountryBoy, I am very new to making bread, but not to cooking and general baking.  But I refuse to be rigid about it.  I may not get the exact results every time, but they are close enough and enjoyable.  The " tips" are what I strive to acquire.  These are what make anything a person does, easier or able to be done in a more favorable way.  The addition of honey sounds good, I also had considered it.  Since I don't use any white flour, and only whole grains, I generally add a good portion (beyond the usual 1 or 2 tbsp. of what most recipes call for) of honey or maple syrup to my doughs.  But I didn't to this rye and was surprised that it tasted so good.  I think the overnight fermentation really helps with the flavor as well.  As for confidence, it will come.  I definitely don't have the confidence that everytime I go to make bread, that it will come out exactly like I want it too.  It's about a 50-50 chance for me, but still, like I said before, the results are still tasty.  You will probably learn alot from your mistakes, so they are plus for you right now.  Some on this site(and I mean no disrespect in any way to any of them), approach bread making like doing a science project.  They analyze everything about it, like laboratory work.  Everyone has their own way of doing things, like I said before though, that doesn't mean it is written in stone and the only way.   

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Everyone has their own tastes, however, I agree with you and want to get to your level sooner rather than later.  It certainly is strange how slow this whole process it...  8-)