A couple of days ago, I posted here about my failed attempt to make a 100% rye bread. I had followed a recipe by Hadjiandreou, and experienced some problems: I had a gummy crumb and flying crust. I received many helpful comments from the users of this community. The "post-mortem" of the bread suggested that the reason for my problems was excessive enzyme activity. There could be various causes for this (e.g. bad flour quality, insufficient acidification, etc.).
I had checked that my sourdough is acidic enough, and at one bake I actually added extra vinegar, so I was pretty sure acidification wasn't the problem. The flour is stone ground, and I have no way of checking its quality other than baking. (I have 3 kilos of it at home, so I hoped its quality was adequate). One other cause for increased enzyme activity is letting the dough proof at a high temperature for a long time. The recipe calls for mixing the dough with boiling water, which obviously raises the dough temperature considerably.
I decided to try making 100% rye bread again. I used the same flour, and the same recipe, but made the following changes:
- Instead of hot water straight off the boil, I used room temperature water.
- I introduced only a small amount of steam in the baking. (Using a plant mister at the beginning of the bake).
- I used an aluminum foil tent halfway through the baked to guard the dough from burning
- I baked at 220C for 50 minutes (30 in the tin, 20 out of it) + left it in the turned-off oven for a further 10 minutes.
I took photos of the process and resulting bake. This time I am very happy with the crumb. The dough baked out, there was no flying crust (!), and the flavor was excellent. I still need to improve the baking (I'll mention some things I want to improve next to the photos), but this is a big improvement. Thank you all for your help!I first refreshed my stock sourdough in preparation for making the production sourdough (to borrow a term from Andrew Whitley):
Here is the sourdough after overnight fermentation:
It rose well and smelled nice and fruity. I weighed out the rye flour for the production sourdough:
I added the water and starter, and mixing to get a cohesive dough. Here is the just-mixed production sourdough:
At this point, I went to work. When I got back from work, it has matured and risen nicely:
I mixed in the salt, water, and remaining flour. Here is a picture during the mixing:
And the mixed dough:
With wet hands, I shaped the clay-like dough into a log and placed it in a pan:
It's not the best shaping job (shaping 100% hydration rye is not an easy task), but it is shaped. I fermented the dough for exactly two hours. It rose slightly but did not seem to do all that much during fermentation. My kitchen temperature was 18C.
I baked the bread, and this is what greeted me out of the oven. First a top view:
It looks okay, but it is a little too dark in some places, and also there's a large rip down the side (I was hoping for the mottled look). I then took a picture of it from the side:
The unattractive rips are quite apparent here. Next time, I think I will try to dock the bread before baking. I also too a picture of the bottom of the loaf:
There are a few patches of darker color that I cannot explain. If anyone has an explanation, I'd love to hear it! After an excrutiantingly long wait, I finally cut into the bread. It was a little soft upon touch, which could have been due to a flying crust. I cut into the loaf with dread, fearing another hole. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was no flying crust, and that the crumb baked nicely:
Now if I could only find what happened to the bottom of the loaf (where you can see the gummy strip)...Thank you all, again, for all the help. This is a fabulous bread, well worth making.