The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions About Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Rye Meteil and Seigle

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Questions About Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Rye Meteil and Seigle

I’m a newbie to whole grain breads (and dusting off the bread-baking cobwebs after 25 years). I have made a couple of Peter Reinhart’s recipes from Whole Grain Breads and really like the ease of preparation and the quality of the resulting loaves.

I have some questions concerning his rye sandwich meteil and sandwich seigle. In both of these recipes he offers the option of using a biga in place of a sourdough starter, but he doesn't actually describe how to do it. I found a post from 12 years ago asking the same question. Has anyone else tried these recipes with a biga in the intervening years?

If using a biga, Reinhart says that the dough won’t be acidic enough to control the enzymes in the flour and recommends adding ascorbic acid to help control the enzymes. He doesn’t say when to add the ascorbic acid. Is it in the soaker, biga (starter), or at the final dough stage?

Would the addition of other acids (acetic and/or lactic) accomplish the same function as the sourdough starter in reducing the pH of the dough?

I also wonder why the meteil has the option of buttermilk or yogurt in the soaker, but the seigle’s soaker uses only regular milk, nothing acidic. Is there a reason for this difference?

Thanks!

Rock's picture
Rock

The biga, if refrigerated overnight, will contribute to acidity, without any dairy. I don't know this particular recipe and couldn't find it on line, but I've used cider vinegar (0.65 to 0.75%) in the final mix of a 50/50 rye/bread flour loaf followed by an overnight cold ferment. 

You may have to do a little tweaking with Reinhart’s recipe. Just remember that your goal is to slow down starch to sugar conversion with acid. This is where sourdough really shines, with rye bread especially, but I think you can come up with a good rye loaf without it.

Dave

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

On page 116, the formula for the Rye Sandwich Seigle, in the sidebar, he refers to the biga instructions on page 81. Page 81 is part of the "Master Formula" that begins on page 78.  This sidebar paragraph on page 116 is identical to the sidebar paragraph on page 113, except for the reference to page 81.

 My copy of the book is the first printing.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Thanks, idaveindy. I have the Kindle version of the book, but I think I found the reference. I wish he had included a short sidebar on building the biga for the rye breads.

Based on his discussion, I think I will switch the the acidic dairy to the biga from the soaker. He doesn't mention kefir as an option, but I also might try using it for the acidic dairy.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Kindle locations: 2726 & 1907.

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Thanks, idaveindy. I found those references and also re-read the biga discussion beginning at location 1654. Here Reinhart discusses using dairy or acidic dairy as options for the biga. He goes on to say that the biga for rye breads should use acidic dairy for hydratiion. I had forgotten this section when I was reading the rye recipes. It would have helped me if he had just reiterated this in the build of the rye bigas (e.g., "If not using a starter use buttermilk in place of water in the biga.").