The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Russian Rye Bread Using Excess Sourdough Starter

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

Russian Rye Bread Using Excess Sourdough Starter

https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/homemade-bread/russian-rye-bread-using-excess-sourdough-starter-zerz1809zmcg

I need some advice.  I am having a little trouble with these instructions.  

Ingredients:
  • 750g leaven or leftover discard from your starter
  • 750g water for the dough at 170 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1kg whole-wheat rye
  • 24g fine sea salt
Inclusions:
  • 10g charcoal powder, optional
  • 3 tablespoons lightly toasted coriander OR caraway seeds
  • 50g molasses
Instructions:

The method used to make it differs from the classic method of sourdough in several ways and is actually much simpler:

  • The leaven is made up of leftover sourdough starter, so there is no need to make leaven.
  • There is no need to stretch and fold the dough, because rye flour lacks gluten to develop, and the technique relies on gelatinization.
  • The shaping involves literally just squashing the dough together, and putting it in a well-floured banneton. You just need to use a generous dusting of flour to stop your hands from sticking to the dough.
  • The flour is scalded using hot water.
Why scald the flour?

Amylase enzymes naturally present in the dough peak at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, so scalding milled whole-wheat rye, which is rich in natural amylase, kills off any naturally present yeast and bacteria. This creates a sweeter bread, because the amylases are not killed, so as the dough cools, they are free to convert the starches to simple sugars. When 3-5 hours later, the leaven is added, there is more sugar available. This increases the contrast of sweet and sour flavor, and is very typical of Russian-style rye breads.

Advice:
  • Instead of making a leaven, use 700g of starter that is between 1 day and 1 week old, made up of accumulated starter discard. If older than this, it can become too sour to use. We keep the leftover starter in a separate pot in the fridge ready to make this bread.
  • Occasionally, depending on the flour you use, the dough may need a little more water. If this is the case, first mix what you have, and then add just 10g more at a time, giving the dough time to absorb it. I have used some rye flours that can take up to another 200–250g.
  • This is a very thick, sticky dough. I advise using a dough hook on a sturdy stand mixer to mix.
  • There are two significant adjustments to the timings and schedule: Firstly, the initial autolyze is WITHOUT leaven for 4 hours. Maintain the dough temperature at 82 degrees. Another tip is to remove the leaven from the fridge when you scald the flour to allow it to come up to room temperature.
  • Add the salt and any inclusions at the same time as the leaven.
  • Once the leaven is added, the bulk ferment temperature should be allowed to drop to 72-75 degrees — this is just a matter of leaving the dough aside at room temperature.
  • To further intensify the flavors, you can smoke this bread by using a tablespoon or two of coriander seeds.

My questions *I think* ....IF they ask you for 170 F water...then in *tips* tell you you need to scald the flour...do they mean scald then cool to 170 F... then mix??  Scald does mean pour boiling water on flour doesn't it??  IF not...then I've been doing it so wrong for so long.   

170 doesn't seem to be a scald temp but I realize it is point where it affects the amylase.

CHARCOAL??  I like black bread...but is it traditional to add it??  I'd rather not or just add black cocoa...just saying.  

Seems a little strange the way they wrote this and I suspect it is from an old old recipe...where they assume you know things like that.  

They also mention using the caraway or coriander...but at the end...they say you can "smoke" the  bread using coriander.  ??????????????????

Can I assume that the way to tell when it is time to bake off is when there is cracking and are they assuming one would sprinkle with flour to be able to determine the amount of proof??  

I have an excess of sourdough and no need for more crackers...and I love love dense black bread so I want to try this.  

It mentions a banneton...but says nothing about how to bake...or what temp to bake or how long.  I'm thinking I could get away with 400 F in a glass pie pan type dish with NO cover since a german lady in Texas taught me how she made hers back in the 70's.  It made a dense...moist...but not crunchy bread...and this sounds very similar to her way of doing it.

I don't want to assume too much...so I thought I'd ask you before I waste a bunch of excess starter and rye flour.  LOL!  I'm not in the mood for any more bricks this week and any bread I can bake around 400-425 is a plus for me right now.  

And lastly....would this work in a long tea loaf pan like one might use for a cocktail rye??  Would a overnight retard be bad??  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

From your questions, you seem to have a good grasp of what's going on and where the recipe is fumbling. Let's see... smoke? Weird but two Tbs coriander and one of caraway sounds good, perhaps if lightly toasted before crushing is a good idea.  The recipe sounds familiar.  It would make two large long cocktail loaves.

I would not retard a 100% rye loaf.    Your bulk rise will be short, perhaps an hour or two and dust the dough like you mentioned to judge expansion.  Don't let it double.  Then wet your hands, divide dough and just fold it in half once or twice to shape.  Dust or seed the top.  Let it rise a little bit and Dock before baking.  Start baking with 425 and then lower to 400° After 20 minutes. May take about an hour or longer to bake. 206°F finish baking temp inside. 400°F with glass sounds good if you go with glass.  If using pans fill about 3/4 full and when dough rises to edge, dock with a wet toothpick and bake.  Bake sooner if you see any bubbles rising and popping on the surface (pin holes)

Forget the charcoal. You may find the scald (just starting to pearl) gives enough sweet to avoid the molasses.  If you've got a slice or two of frozen rye bread, toast them and tear up and toss into the starter to soften up.  That will add lots of complex good flavours.

Mini 

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

Whew!  Thanks!  I would surely have let the bulk rise go too long...and have before done so a few recipes...but they had actual yeast and starter...so I blamed that...and I didn't dock and occasionally I blew out the sides of a few. 

My professional baking was only about 5 years in the 70's...and basically white/ wheat based only due to the 70's time period and area I lived.  I've baked all my breads for 50+ years...mostly utilitarian.  

Rye is a different creature for sure when it comes to proofing...and I am still practicing...  I have had beautiful rye dough start liquefying on me in the past when retarding...which is why I don't retard a primarily rye dough UNLESS the recipe says so.  This recipe says nothing.  LOL!

I was wondering if the mention of Charcoal is mistranslated and means the toasted altus.  I usually don't toast the altus but rather dry it...but will try it.  I will eat bread with altus...but was reluctant to add charcoal.  I was envisioning pulling activated charcoal out of medicine cabinet...;-O

I love both of those spices...but the mention of "smoking the bread" threw me.  I often toast the seeds then add, whole or ground to recipes...  Probably a translation thing once again.

I used to collect old recipe books...and worked a while with a German baker (lady) who made such breads for home, not work.  She put her 100% rye in logs...OR in a boule placed in pie pan or shallow casserole and baked around 400-350-300 and long time. 

I loved her bread but it was sometimes crumbly.  But her recipe...was worse than the one I posted above.  LOL!  Hard to understand the technique...just had to try and remember what she did. All I remember now is her wet hands and the pasty smear on the shaped dough. She didn't sprinkle any flour  at any stage.  It was a messy affair, but she had light hands.  She spent a bit of time on that.   Back then the problem was too much heat in the kitchen (Texas high desert) and now it is too cold...(Pacific NW sea level.  My recipes just did not work the same when I moved up here.   LOL!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Each narrow loaf takes about 1250g dough.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38643/100-rye-video

 

David R's picture
David R

"Smoke the bread" with coriander sounds like a clumsy translation job - it appears to mean "add extra flavour to the bread".

That's easy. The not so easy part is, what other translation or transcription errors might be hiding in this recipe?

David R's picture
David R

Scalding - I believe that you must be right, in the way you suggested the instructions might be interpreted.

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I think I am right about being confused...

Not sure if you meant I am right to pour water that is just off the boil over the rye to scald it...then cool to the 170 before continuing with adding the starter??  

I had an old Polish recipe that said...to scald was to pour water just off boil but this particular recipe made it a bit confusing when it added that you only needed 170 degree to affect the amylase and only needed 170 degree water for the ingredients.  

We weren't taught the hows and the why's back in the 70's...you just followed the formulas and time tables and it wasn't till I tried things at home that I started wondering why....why....why....

Course I was young and stupid and probably didn't know enough to ask questions.  I just did what I was taught to do.

David R's picture
David R

You wrote "Not sure if..."

Yes, that's exactly what I meant.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

before adding sourdough.   If you can hold your finger deep in the dough without it feeling too hot, mix up the dough.   Water of 170° F is correct for small amounts of flour as they will heat up fast with room temp rye flour.  A kilo of flour, make a dent in the middle, will cool off faster as you stir in the flour.  To be curious take the dough temp just after stirring to check and see if it got hot enough.  If the rye flour is cold or frozen, I wouldn't worry too much about catching the temp before boiling starts.  

 If you measure the water first, then boil, you may be loosing a significant amount of water.  In that case weigh the container with the water before heating, weigh again and replace any lost water. Don't forget to put a hot pad under the cold container on the scale when weighing, you may need it later when weighing the hot pan.:)

There is a significant amount of prefermented flour in the loaf so your fermenting times will be short.  Maybe much shorter than my estimates.  Perhaps shaping directly after mixing is the way to go.

Dusting with flour is a preference sort of thing, not needed at all but it does help see expansion. Rye tends to crack open, it's the nature of it.  If you score early on, just after shaping, the score will swell shut but open again in the oven.  You can take advantage of this if you want it to split in certain places or patterns.  Score about half an inch then lightly smooth over the surface with wet hands.  I love seeds on top and line my rye pans with butter and seeds too.  Often chopped or grated nuts.  

If you decide to swap out about 30% of the rye flour for wheat flour, you can get more rise out of the loaf.  I love the rye bricks but this recipe makes a lot!  If you are freezing some of the loaves, let them cool about 4 hours then wrap tightly and let stand for 48 hours before freezing.  That gives the crumb a chance to even out its moisture.  If freezing right away, often by thawing, the outside is dry and the inside a moist core.

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I learned a few things....

1...stick with recipes from the rye baker or village baker or some book that has better instructions for timing...LOL

2...a dough hook...what the hell good is it with this dough??  It never ever came close to leaving the sides of a bowl...I added more flour per the recipe till I thought it just was stupid to add more.  I wanted it to be edible after all.  No idea if this would have benefited by more or less "kneading" if you want to call it that.  

3...Charcoal...I decided to try to make it by toasting my altus till it was almost smoking black...looked good, smelled great.  However...can't say it darken the bread any...and it needed to be ground finer cause it just never "dissolved" into the dough so there were a few coarse specks.

4...No idea if it turned out or not.  HAHA!  I let it rise till it started to crack.  

Baked till it was 210F.  Cut it at 20 hrs...

  It's moist...and sweet with a slight hint of a tang.  I expected perhaps it to be sour with that much starter.  

Hard to say if it was successful or not cause I have no idea really what the real thing is suppose to be.  

It is what it is.  

David R's picture
David R

I trust you that it tastes good, but all that charcoal makes it look like you found a way to make bread that's burnt evenly right through to the middle. 🙂

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I tend to follow a recipe religiously the 1st time to respect the author...plus I like to try european breads...but have little experience in what those breads actually look like or taste.  I learned from old German and Czech grandmothers in Texas farm country...so I am sure their breads were bastardized a bit from what their mothers made in europe.  But their ryes where not scalded...and mostly were with some wheat...all made by hand. 

This recipe is not one I plan to repeat...not because it doesn't taste good...but because no one else will eat it and even a half recipe is a lot of 100% rye.

David R's picture
David R

I agree with you - trust every recipe the first time - if you won't even trust a person's recipe, then why bother pretending to try it. Of course, after the first time, you might discover that you hate it and are never making it again, or that you need to change some things, or whatever. But if you're already planning changes before the first try, it's clear that you never wanted to make this recipe anyway, and it would be better to find one that you intend to give an honest try.

Of course what I've just said can't be viewed as some kind of absolute law - but I believe it can and should be treated as the norm - that for example when someone comes onto a discussion board saying "I just made Super Duper Rye And Banana Pudding Bread for the first time and I have some questions", there should be no need to ask them "Did you actually follow the recipe".

But there definitely IS such a need, in 2019. 🙂

Yippee's picture
Yippee

The levain makes or breaks a rye bread. I wonder what the crumb shot of the author's rye bread looks like, but she didn't share.  Judging by yours, I'd go by a more reliable source next time if I were you. 

Yippee

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I love it when a recipe book uses a screen shot of the crumb...but most do not put pics of even each bread...and less show the crumb.  I am just having to trust I am getting close to what is expected if there is no pic.

I don't generally read "picture books" but when trying breads one has not eaten before...it can be reassuring...which is why the internet is helpful.  Now you can search and see if you can find something close and if it looks similar to yours.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Use a sharp straight blade and slow pressing.  Think "cheese."

The loaf looks very moist.  Perhaps over fermented.  What are the times and temps?

A good way to introduce this bread to family might be to slice thin, openface with toppings.  One suggestion might be to smear with cream cheese or butter and toss some thin slices or crumbled blue cheese on top with a good scattering of broken English walnut meats.  Cut into bite size pieces and serve with fresh washed and stacked lettuce leaves and sliced cherry tomatoes as a side.  

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I'm not sure if it is overfermented...I'd think perhaps it was underfermented based on the denseness of the bottom...I put it in when there was just barely spider cracks forming...but it cracked much more so, as rye does, once in oven.  I'm going to go back to the one Sinclair put up years ago.  I have made that...and my sons really liked it and I sliced it thin and made "melba toasts" with garlic oil...and then stored for snacks.  I don't know why I keep trying out new ones and then realize the one I was making is much better.  LOL!

This recipe is an acquired taste for sure...mostly textural.  My sons just think it is underbaked...but I know it isn't...perhaps it is close to overbaked at 212.  

Begs for butter...or cream cheese.  Pimento cheese spread I made is just too intense...and hard to eat on this bread.  Very filling.  I did not much enjoy it with a bowl of soup.

All in all...I won't make again...at least not this one.  IF I am going to have pudding...I am gonna go with the seeds and such for the textural aspect.  

 

suave's picture
suave

It's perfectly obvious that the dough lacked requisite acidity and suffered from a bad case of "starch attack".

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Move on...🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

crumb shot?  Now that the loaf is several days old.   :) 

if no one is eating it due to the stick-to-the-roof-of-mouth factor, how about...

  • cut into a large cube, wrap in micro foil, and nuke on high for 3-4 minutes, unwrap and allow to cool. Let gel reset and see if the crumb has improved the next day.  Rewrap.
  • and/ or cut into long one inch thick sticks and dry for hard dog treats.  :)
  • cut into cubs and roll into cocoa or chopped nuts.  If more moisture is needed drizzle on some rum or rum flavouring or strong coffee.   Can also be dipped into melted chocolate using pick.  Roll into coconut flakes?  Ready for Easter!
msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I guess I should have took another shot after 2 days...but honestly I was heading to a housewarming party and was kicking myself for not just sticking with a tried and true recipe.   

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to discover something else too.  Like chocolate coated rye gummies.  :)

I do like to beef up my rye starter yeast before baking 100% rye loaves.  So I'm a little sceptical about so much very mature spended starter.  Unless the recipe came from using a rye starter that wasn't as mature as thought.  

I also see how the gummy crumb goes clear down to the bottom crust without any gaps.  Maybe it was underproofed.  But before trying a big recipe again, divide everything by 100.    100g rye flour, 70g old starter and 75g water pinch of salt and sugar. And just learn from it.  Fry a small silver dollar sized pancake or divide into individual paper or foil muffin cups and fry or bake one right away and every hour or so up to 12 hours.  Then compare them.  A muffin tray lends itself well for holding samples during the experiment. Can also look for surface texture changes and rising, cracks etc. over time.  

I think your remark about adding whole grains, flakes, nuts and seeds is a good one.  I think that helps break up this heavy crumb.   

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I just happened to have a bit more rye starter than normal.  I figured it would be more sour than it was...but it was actually nicely balanced.  Texture was the issue for everyone.

I do think it was under proofed since it was baked to temperature..but my problem has been with these type of breads..is not having actually ate the real thing (from another baker) in real life...other than what I make.  It does help to know what the texture is really suppose to feel like to the tongue.  

I did get some experience with an old polish farmer wife in Texas with scalded rye...but it was not the texture this was and she shaped and put into oven immediately...of course after starting the bread 24hrs or so before...and it had milk in it too.  Wish I had her recipe.  She was a wonderful home baker...I loved going over to ride horses at their farm...always something great to try that I never had before.  She didn't speak Texan that well...so it was hard to get her to impart her recipes in any fashion I could understand. 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I have found it interesting that on some bags of Canadian Roger's Rye flour the suggestion is to add a tablespoon of lemon juice per loaf.  I had already known about adding cider vInegar or pickle juice to the dough to kick up the total acid.  This is supposed to help rye in particular form a gas trapping matrix.   I've found it helps as rye can vary from field to field, season to season.  I don't always add it but if the loaf is getting "starch attack" then toss some in with the next rye.  It doesn't have to be 100% rye to add a little acid.  One does want to see some rise starting to puff up the dough before placing in a pan or banneton.   The more narrow the pan, the better.  Maybe it has to do with getting heat to the center right away while baking and then a slower bake after the initial spring to caramelize all the natural sweetness inherent in the dough.  Have you tasted a scald?  Campare it to unscalded dough.  

Easy enough to do right now.  A spoon full of flour in each of two heat resistant bowls.  Scald one and not the other and stir.   Let cool so both are the same temp and taste.  Then while at it divide each sample and add a few drops of lemon juice to compare.  Notice any differences?  Give each of them a pinch of yeast, stir, cover and compare an hour later.  Poke around and see if there are any flavour, texture stickiness and volume differences.  This is a nice little test for a bag of rye flour.  

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I'm a little OCD...and when trying a new recipe...I follow it to a T if at all possible to honor the author. 

Then if I am determined to make it work better the next time...then I will tweak my technique or ingredients.  But in this case...it was poorly written recipe...and assumed some translation errors...example the charcoal...

I've been known to add pickle juice to my old time farm rye breads with good success.  

I think I will stick to a properly written recipe next time.  I just made an old tried and true Heidelberg Rye from my go to farm editors bread book 1969...but converted it to use a rye sour and a tiny amount of yeast.  Turned out wonderful and black as could be.  

I don't know why I bother trying new recipes when I already have those that my family has loved for 50 years.  But I keep thinking I will find the ultimate rye bread...for some stupid reason.  I think I just like to play with dough.

Viennahi's picture
Viennahi

hi, I just stumbled upon this as I am making this bread today. The recipie originated from Vanessa kimbels Sourdough School book. It’s a formula, not a recipie and the book is meant to to do formulas in a cumulative way as to understand procedure and method. Much of it is answered if you have the entire book and you’ve worked through it; sections on water, baking, long fermentation, smoking bread (yes she meant actually smoking it) it’s a great book especially if you’re interested in making healthy gut friendly bread. I hope that might help rather than thinking it’s just a poorly written recipe!

jey13's picture
jey13

Can you give us the recipe “well written”? How is the bread “smoked” (with what? A smoker? What kind of smoke?). And did they use charcoal? 

Viennahi's picture
Viennahi

Like I said, it doesnt have much more than those original instructions BUT the book is meant to understand the process, not a recipie. She doesnt detail out instructions on the formulas because you were meant to read the chapters on starter, leavens, water, bulk fermentation, baking times etc and then apply those as you work through the formulas.

She has a whole page on smoking breads in a dutch oven (after its baked). I don't have it in front of me sorry. I will let you know how my braed turns out. I've never made this one before!

Viennahi's picture
Viennahi

Okay me again. So the first time I made it it turned out pretty good. A lot better than expected but it was slightly gummy inside even after a 48 hr rest. The recipie says use discarded starter 1 week to one day old and mine was admittedly a lot older than that. It was still pretty and had a beautiful flavour.

This time my dicard was about a week old (I had made a lot of bread last week). I had considerable more rise during my cold ferment. It looks beautiful and will take a photo when I cut it. This is the instructions as I have been doing them according to the rest of her book:

Mix by hand unless you have a powerful mixer (I have an Akarsrum so not an issue)

1000g dark organic rye in mixer

750g of water heated to 77C (170F)

Pour the water into the flour and mix throughly. Let autolyse for 4 hrs but dont let temp fall below 82F (I put in my oven on 'proof') In the meantime take 700g discarded starter out of fridge to warm up.

After autolyse add all the inclusions, including the salt:

  • 24g fine sea salt
  • 10g charcoal powder, optional
  • 3 tablespoons lightly toasted coriander 
  • 50g molasses

Mix well! Allow temp to fall to 71-75 F for bulk (just by leaving on the counter). She suggests that it bulk ferments for 3-5 hrs BUT I have found that because I am in the middle of the praire in Canada and she is on the coast in England my dough always needs to ferment always almost double what she says. This time I bulk fermented for 5.5 - 6 hrs. The dough was significantly lighter and less stodgy.

As for shaping, split in two on a WELL floured counter. Bascially just spolge into the shape of the item your proofing in. No finesse here. Flour the top, cover with towels and put in fridge over night. Mine was in the fridge for 14 hrs.

Preheat two dutch ovens for 1 hr to 450 F (one bread at a time if you only have one dutch oven but be sure to leave the other loaf in the fridge). Turn out loave on to parchemnt, drop in oven and cover. Turn down heat to 350F. Bake for 1 hr. My internal temps were 205F when finished. Let rest for 48 hrs before cutting. Wrap in a towel rather than plastic.

Hopefully that helps. I will add photos when my nephew gives my phone back!

Viennahi's picture
Viennahi

Cant edit my previous post so here are some photos

jey13's picture
jey13

I'm eager to see the interior and to know what it tastes like. 

Question: I don't see any scoring. Someone mentioned "docking"—do you poke holes in it before baking? 

Viennahi's picture
Viennahi

No docking or shaping. Just form into a well floured ball and pop into a basket. I’m happy with the crumb but next time it will be even better. And the coriander gives it a wonderful perfume. It’s a very complex flavour. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Beautiful and so dramatic!  Great bakes.

Benny