Getting better rise on Jewish Rye
Newbie Dave here. I joined a while ago and have been lurking, reading, taking tips/hints and incorporating into my sour rye. I've been at this 5 months, I guess about 25 loaves and I think my wheels are spinning. Any help, points to other posts, etc. is much appreciated (and yes I've done searches) My sour rye is OK, certainly not bad, but just isn't anywhere near the rye I used to get from a bakery now long closed.
Here's what I've worked up so far
240 gr water (at 100 degrees). I heat my water to 108-110, then add to my KitchenAide stand mixer bowl swirling it around until i get 100 degrees). I've tried bottled water, but seeing no difference I use my tap well water (here in central MD.)
240 gr light rye sour. My hydration is 150% so when I replenish I use 100gr rye to 150gr water. I take my plastic container of sour (from frig) and place in 110 degree water for about 1/2 hour. The water loses temp to 96-98 and my source is EXTREMELY active. I mix it down before measuring out. The sour is light and fluffy and floats on the water in my stand mixer.
1 1/2 Tablespoon of IDY (I use SAF Red Label) Is there different/better? Is active dry yeast a better choice?
175 gr Light Rye
395 gr First Clear
1 Tablespoon pink salt
1/4 cup Caraway seeds
I mix until the dough balls around the dough hook and will not mix any longer, so about 4 mins. It balls up completely and the sides of the mixing bowl are pretty clean.
The dough is moist but not sticky. I knead for a few mins (I've tried 5 mins, 8 mins, 10 mins...no real difference). I gather into a 5" ball and place on parchment paper dusted with corn meal on pastry board. I place a huge stainless steel salad bowl over the dough to let it rise. But it mostly just flattens out to about 3 1/2" high to a 8+ " circle. I've taken to putting the pastry board with bowl in my kitchen window to catch the morning sun and heat the stainless steel.
I've let it rise 60 min, 75 mins, 90 mins, even 2 hours. Not really much difference. I know not to touch the dough, not even to look at it wrong or it WILL deflate. That's why I use parchment and bake on the parchment. You don't touch the dough.
During the time the dough rises I preheat my oven to 375. I use a perforated metal pizza pan at the top rack to filter heat from the coils. I have a big baking stone about 24X16 in the middle rack. On the bottom I use my Lodge cast iron 12" frying pan as my steam 'generator'. My oven is brand new as my old one gave out a month ago...It's electric, built-in KitchenAide.
After dough rise, I GENTLY brush with water and slide the parchment and dough onto the baking stone. I add 2OZ of water to the cast iron pan and quickly close the oven door as steam is generated. I set the timer for 5 mins.
After 5 mins I brush the loaf again with water. The recipe I'm leveraging says to reduce heat to 350 but lately I've just left the bread in a 375. I think the loaf is lighter in color at 350 and bit darker at 375. The recipe I'm leveraging says to dock after 5 mins, but I've learned all that does is DEFLATE the rye...
I set the timer for 70 mins and dock after 20 mins. (I'll brush with water again) I use a bamboo BBQ skewer and make 6-8 holes in a circular pattern (doesn't seem to do much). I get a little oven spring, about 1/2"
After the 70 mins (I've gone longer) I take the temp at the top of loaf from one of the docking holes. I get 206, sometime 208...
The bread is OK. I give to my neighbors who tell me it's good, but they are being polite neighbors. The bread is moist but dense, it's just too heavy, there are no space pockets, just dense dough. The crust is chewy. It toasts OK but not like the rye I used to get. The dough just doesn't seem to rise anymore. I dislike the heavy, dense loaf. The flavor is OK, the kitchen smells nice!
I get my ingredients from Bakerauthority.com (White Rye, Clear, SAF IDY). I've fired them some questions, but amidst this COVID crisis I'm sure they have their hands full just running the business... so I've never heard back from them....
It would seem, based on my many, many hours online, that Jewish Rye bread has pretty much disappeared from the American landscape, and the secrets, like that wonderful shiny, cracked crust, have slipped into History.
Apologies in advance (I had a heck of a time with the website today....) Any help is greatly appreciated. I had no idea trying to bake sour rye would turn into an obsession for someone who definitely is NOT a baker..