The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Levy's Real Jewish Rye

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Levy's Real Jewish Rye

I had occasion to try several new things last weekend: Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe for "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread, one of my recently acquired bannetons from SFBI, and the Pampered Chef equivalent of a La Cloche (which has been sitting around unused for years).  This also marked the second time that I have made bread on the new soapstone countertops that were recently installed.

The recipe comes from RLB's "The Bread Bible".  The bread contains 3.3 oz of rye flour, vs. 8.5 oz of bread flour, so it is scarcely any more sticky than a wheat dough would be.  And with 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds, rye isn't the dominant flavor.  The bread begins with a yeasted sponge, which is allowed to ferment 1-4 hours.  It eventually bubbles through a flour layer that is placed on top of the sponge:

Fermented sponge 

Once the sponge has fermented, the flour mixture, oil and salt are stirred in.  The dough is then kneaded and left to ferment under an overturned bowl for a 20-minute rest:

Resting dough

After the dough has rested, it is kneaded again and then allowed to rise until it is doubled.  At that point, it is given a letter fold, then returned to the bowl until it doubles again.  After the second rise, the dough is flattened slightly and then shaped into a ball and allowed to rise until it has doubled.  Ms. Levy recommends that the final rise after shaping occur in a covered bowl.  I opted to use a fabric-lined banneton, dusted with rice flour, covering the exposed surface with plastic wrap to keep it from drying.

Ms. Levy suggests baking either on a baking sheet with steam, or in a cloche.  In both cases, she recommends having a baking stone in the oven as it preheats, then setting either the baking sheet or the (also preheated) cloche on the baking stone.  It seemed like overkill, but I followed the instructions as given, using the cloche.  The risen loaf was tipped out onto parchment paper, slashed, then placed in the cloche and covered.  I'll need to practice the technique a bit.  I was a bit gun-shy about burning myself on either the cloche base or its lid, so I wasn't as gentle with placing the loaf as I should have been.  It deflated slightly but recovered most of the loss with oven spring.

Based on the directions, I pulled the cover from the cloche about 10 minutes before the estimated completion of the baking time, expecting that it would finish browning during those last few minutes.  Instead, I saw that the loaf was already well-browned.  So, I stuck a thermometer in it, which quickly registered 210F.  At that point I declared it done and placed it on the rack to cool.  Here's how it looked:

Cooling rye bread

And a shot of the crumb, taken the next morning:

Crumb of Levy's rye

More of the color comes from the malt syrup in the recipe than from the whole rye flour that I used.  The crumb is firm and moist, the crust thin and chewy.  It makes a mean ham and Swiss sandwich. While I like caraway in a rye bread, the amount in this bread is more than I would use for my tastes.  Next time I make it, I will either cut back on the caraway, or substitute fennel or dill, which will be more to my liking. 

Thank you, RLB.  This is good stuff!

Paul

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Fantastic bloom, Paul.


David

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I made that recipe every week for a year and I do have one complaint: her use of quotation marks around the word real. The recipe/bread matches all three of the descriptive words in the title so it is real, not "real".

Other seeds you might want to try include celery, poppy, and cumin. Be careful with the cumin; I got started using it when I mistook it for caraway and put 1-1/2 tbs in the dough. That was a bit much! But 1 tsp gives a nice bite with or without the caraway.

sPh

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Wow! Looks fantastic. For an everyday bread you can just skip the seeds altogether!

Jane 

2brownbraids's picture
2brownbraids

Your bread looks absolutely beautiful ! The crumb looks good too !  I too made this bread before and have the same feeling regarding the amount of caraway seeds used in the recipe. ... especially my husband does not like caraway seeds so much, I totally skipped it or I will try using 1 TBSP  as suggested by sPh instead next time. I think may be the "real" Jewish rye has a large % of caraway seeds ? As for the cloche, I like to use it best,  much better than dealing with steam and ice cubes.

I like RLB, her recipes always work out for me, and often very good. She foresees just about everything, makes it much easier to make much advanced level breads.

-2brownbraids

   

holds99's picture
holds99

Your loaf is beautiful. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

for your kind comments.

Paul