Whole Rye (Volkornbrot) crust problems
I have attempted to make a whole rye loaf similar to what my German wife enjoyed eating back home. I have not been successful using the formula from Dan Leader's "Local Breads" book. I used that recipe because it called for (finely ground) whole rye flour and rye berries, both of which I can find in Atlanta. I finally decided to try Hamelman's version which calls for rye meal and rye chops. I ground my own rye meal and chops using a small electric chopper. Not the most efficient way I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot. I sifted the contents through a regular kitchen strainer. What came through the strainer I used as the "meal". What was strained out I used as the "chops". Working with these ingredients felt more "right" to me as I followed Hamelman's instructions. I baked it in a loaf pan with no cover, just sprinkled some meal over top. It looked real nice when I took it out of the oven 90 minutes later. I let it cool for a couple hours on a rack and then wrapped it with a kitchen towel and left it on the counter overnight. My wife eagerly tried it this morning (about 14 hours after it came out of the oven) and e-mailed me at work to say it was very hard still, but tasted good. Will the crust soften as it continues to cool? I know Hamelman recommends 24-48 hrs before slicing. I thought this was more about the crumb stabilizing than the crust softening. Is there any reason why the crust would come out this way and how can I get a better crust in the future? Sorry for the long-winded post and thanks for any replies.