From CedarMountain's fermented oat soaker to Wally's 72% rye with seed soaker and lots of stops inbetween
Starting with CedarMountain
Unfortunately, I don't seem to have made any notes of the fermented soaker bake. Pretty sure that I used my basic 70% hydration, white (with 10% whole wheat) loaf, 25% rye starter at 100% hydration. Probably about 150g of oat soaker at a 1:2 ratio, with a handful of seeds for good measure. Also sifted out 12g of bran from the whole wheat and added that with 9g of water to the soaker.
I do have a vivid recollection of many, many SLAFs (CedarMountain, you could've warned me!), trying to get the dough to come together. It finally did, just enough to liberate my hands, so I stuck the dough in the fridge overnight, hoping to firm it up a little. It did, sort of. But was still a very slack and tacky dough. Pre-shaped as best I could, bench rested, shaped, coated with flax and nigella seeds and plopped into their baskets.
They rose pretty well, albeit without ears. Crumb was soft (and stayed that way), crust was thin and crunchy, taste was mild and "wholesome" without feeling like it's supposed to be good for you. Obviously still need to work on my shaping!
Oat soaker in an Abe DNB
It looks like I baked these three days later, although have absolutely no recollection of the bread, except that I gave it away (but to whom?). Instead of fermenting the soaker separately, I made up the oat soaker a few hours before adding 350g water and 20g rye starter to it, mixing that up and pouring it over 500g of flour (10% T150 whole wheat) and 10g of salt and let the whole thing ferment for about 12 hours at room temp. It's so rare that I make boules, I should remember who these were given to, but I'm drawing a total blank.
But my big discovery was using sourdough instead of yogurt in my favorite yogurt cake recipe. This one got all kinds of things thrown at it: Swapped out half the flour for 25% cocoa powder and 25% ground almonds; replaced half the yogurt with 130g of starter, threw in some frozen cherries… it worked!
Then there was a quick visit back to the Hamelman five-grain levain, cocktail-sized! I tried an all-rye levain and it looks like I added a handful of cranberries. Love the taste of this one!
Adventures in rye
Having finally found a source for something called "dark rye", after so many months of being eager to try my hand (and taste buds) at a high-percentage rye bread, I was a bit disappointed to find that there were no "bits" in this supposedly whole-rye flour; the texture is desperately, uniformly fine. This leaves out something like the tourte de seigle, which specifically calls for T170 (in the French recipe), but perhaps gave me a little wiggle room for less-demanding recipes.
After scouring through the (too) many recipes bookmarked over the last year, I set my sights on Mark Sinclair's 100% rye for a number of reasons: he is extremely open as to what kind of rye flour is to be used; the levain is done in one stage and used fairly young; process sounded easy enough. And it was 100% rye; I figured if I was going to learn about the pitfalls of making rye bread, I might as well get my feet really wet.
It all went surprisingly smoothly; the video of the process was a great help and most reassuring. Of course, I did, once the loaves were shaped and in their pans, send a panicked message to Mini, who very kindly held my hand through the rest.
The baking loaves smelled absolutely wonderful. Taste and aroma are great, but I was disappointed in the crumb, which I found too dense and too uniform. I'm wondering if I should add more water, proof longer, or add seeds.
Bitten by the rye bug, I decided next on Wally's 72% rye with soaker, figuring that the 28% of a wheat flour would give me the loft and some of the openness I'd found wanting in the previous bake. I don't have high-gluten flour, so just used my usual T65 bread flour.
This was a very messy mix, and the first time in this year of baking bread that I thought wistfully about a mixer: I was up to my wrists in the stuff and wound up resorting to the Rubaud method to make sure all the ingredients were properly incorporated. This is indeed a pudding of a dough, that gets scraped/poured into its pan for proofing.
Things went rather well, but for the fact that I got into trouble with the descending temps every 15 minutes, so the top and bottom got a bit burnt, but I'm quite happy with the crumb (lead photo) and the taste. Will definitely be doing this one again. And, darn it, my parchment got stuck -- that's never happened before.
And a last oat-soaker Abe DNB
Just for good measure. Because I knew we were going to be out for most of the day, I mixed everything together and left it on the counter. I took a look at it when we got home and could probably have proceeded to shaping, but I needed to get dinner underway, so stuck the thing in the fridge until later on, then preshaped and bench rested. The shaping was a bit of a challenge, and I was afraid of frisbees, so I shaped as best I could, coated the loaves with seeds and plopped them into these Pani-bois baking forms, which I'd bought for the rye bakes.
Thank goodness that worked…
Now, what shall this week bring?