Country Rye (Tartine)
From the number of recent postings about sourdough starters, it appears that many have taken up bread baking. This seemed a good opportunity to illustrate various steps during my preparation of Country Rye from the Tartine book. I always benefit from seeing what something is supposed to look like, which is why I have included so many photos.
My starter is fed with a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours (as described in Tartine, and I like the results, so I have stuck with this approach) and an equal amount of water in a 1:2:2 ratio. For the levain I scaled the ingredients to 30 g of starter, 150 grams of the 50/50 blend, and 150 grams of water so that I would have 200 grams of levain available. So little starter is needed, but it provides so much lift.
When all mixed together, the levain initially has much less volume than it does the following morning. This composite photo shows the levain just after being mixed and then top and side views a little less than twelve hours later.
The Tartine method mixes the levain in the water before adding the flour. Here is the levain going in and after being dissolved a bit in the water.
The flours are then added. This bread is 83% bread flour and 17% whole rye. The key at this stage is to get all of the flour wet, and a scraper helps to reach the dry flour at the bottom of my Cambro tub and distribute the water.
With no remaining dry flour, the mixture is ready for the autolyse stage. I went for sixty minutes to give the gluten a chance to begin its formation. This composite photo shows the dough mass at the beginning of the autolyse, at the end, and after the addition of the salt (20 g) and held-back water (50 g).
For this bake I decided to include some French Folds (aka slap-and-fold), but first I needed to mix the dough in the tub so that the salt could be distributed and the newly added water absorbed. Finally I had a dough mass that could be worked on our granite counter top. This photo shows the dough when first placed on the granite and then after the French Folds. I did a set of 200 followed by a minute of letting the dough sit and then another 200. The gluten development and strength of the dough were a pleasure to feel. I always take the dough temperature at the end of the initial mixing so that I have an idea of what to expect for the bulk fermentation.
The recipe calls for four sets of stretch-and-folds (S&F) spaced thirty minutes apart. This photo shows the dough just before the first and fourth of these sets, and the growth of the dough mass is evident.
Only two hours had passed by this point, however, and sourdough baking requires patience. The Tartine book says to watch the dough and give it additional S&F as warranted. To give this 80% hydration dough some added strength, I did three more until the dough had expanded sufficiently during the bulk fermentation and exhibited readiness to be divided (dough not spreading to the walls as quickly after an S&F, bubbles on the sides and bottom of the tub, a puffy feel from the gas being produced inside). The entire bulk fermentation took about five-and-a-quarter hours in my 68 degree F kitchen. This photo shows the dough about a half hour before it came out of the tub and then on the countertop ready for pre-shaping.
After pre-shaping I let the rounds sit for a twenty minute bench rest before the final shaping. Then I shaped one into a boule and the other into a batard. Into the bannetons they went. This is a somewhat sticky dough, and I made sure to flour the bannetons with a mix of rice flour and whole wheat flour. The bannetons were placed into plastic bags, which were clipped shut, and put into the refrigerator for overnight proofing.
This morning, after sixteen-and-a-half hours in the fridge, the dough had expended nicely.
I baked the boule in a Dutch oven and the batard on a baking stone. The lid stayed on the Dutch oven for the first twenty minutes, and the total bake was 44 minutes. I use two aluminum pie pans filled with lava rocks to steam the oven with the baking stone, and the total bake for the batard was 40 minutes. Here are the loaves.
The batard was given to a friend, and this is the crumb from the boule.
Nice chewy crust and moist crumb with a definite but not overpowering rye flavor. A really nice bread.
Hopefully some of you enjoyed going through the description and photos. Happy baking -- and stay safe and healthy.