The Fresh Loaf

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Ammerland Black Bread/Ammerländer Schwarzbrot - Ginsberg

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Ammerland Black Bread/Ammerländer Schwarzbrot - Ginsberg

Well, lol, as an actor, if dress rehearsal blows opening night has a chance.  I'm really loving Stanley Ginsberg's The Rye Baker and am drawn especially to dense, really aromatic and really dark rye breads.  I was introduced to them by my wife and her family (all Estonian), they are served constantly and I love them but never baked them.

Oops.

I think a few things may be at play, just guessing.  Based on the formula I didn't expect the bread to ferment so explosively, so much so that it was well above the 9" pullman by the end of fermentation.  In the oven it sprung significantly.

Normally I bake so the loaf basically sits right in the middle, with the crust just above that line.  We rent and we have a small oven.  Even though the oven drives me crazy with an inconstant thermostat and it cooked a long time at 350 v. the 375 of the formula, the top of the bread was too close to the top oven surface.

I also wonder if my attempt at "light molasses" parsing was not conducive to the right "tone" in the caramelization.  The recipe calls for light corn syrup, light molasses and malt syrup (I believe).  I like more aggressive flavorings in "things that are meant to be bold" (e.g., don't be stingy with the caviar - it's meant to be luxury), so I tried to parse light molasses with 75% Brer Rabbit "full flavor" molasses and 25% light Caro.  Too dark?

I wasn't close to 60 minutes after pulling the foil (formula calls for 60-75 minutes), so was hesitant to pull the loaf even though it was literally right up against the cliff to burnt.  Internal temp 209F.  Should have pulled it.

The only other note I'd add is that I don't think my poor, elder KA can handle this 4 pound, heavy as hell dough.  Really got hot and labored too much; had to start and stop many times.  I added additional water in two additions.

It was a total joy to make as this is my first rye outside Hamelman 3-Stage 70-90%'s, and it's in that N. German line.  I just bombed.

I want to make this or another in this vein the third of my "training triad," three breadsI want to work one exclusively in order to better learn.  The others are Hamelman's VT SD, and Gerard Rubaud's pain au levain, with the latter being the major focus.

Cooling now, will do a crumb shot.  If we can slice through it.  And sorry for the goofy rotation - straight in my photos, can't figure out how to straighten here.  Lol:

 

Edit:  Hmm.  Edible topless?

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Give it a couple of days before slicing into it, so that the moisture has a chance to equilibrate throughout the loaf and the crust softens a bit.  This is one of the breads that I got to test bake for the book.  My notes say "I found the bread to be drier than I expected, with an extremely hard crust.  By that, I mean that a bandsaw would be helpful for slicing the bread.  This after almost 48 hours in plastic."  This bread is a good candidate for brushing with boiling water as soon as it comes out of the oven, as I mentioned in a comment to Stan's post about the bread.

The bread is one that I like.  It has a very grain-forward flavor, with little sourness (at least when made with my starter).

Your stab at mixing molasses and corn syrup shouldn't have hurt anything.  It probably did promote faster and deeper browning, since the corn syrup has more sugar than an equivalent amount of molasses.

It does look a tad overfermented.  The "wings" that formed around the pan rim indicate a small amount of slump after baking began.  I'm not sure how that might affect crumb structure.  The bread is fairly dense normally.  Worst case scenario (which I don't expect): you have four pounds of altus to use in future rye bread.

Your poor mixer!  Yes, this is a stiff dough, especially for a KA machine.

Like I said at the top, this is a pretty good first try.  You now have a base from which you can make some judicious tweaks that will work in your kitchen with your tools.

Paul

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Fantastic, thanks for your info, Paul, gives me a lot going forward.  Your mention of the Hamelman black bread triggered my memory - this is the Horst Bandel bread, right?  Always wanted to try that one.  May go back and check it out, though this one has that kind of "I'm not going to let this thing beat me!" dynamic and I should probably stick with it until I am taught by the experience.  Do you think the Hamelman version is a good bread, and beyond, a good "foundational" bread with respect to learning this style of rye?

Thanks on the overfermentation note - didn't know to look for that "tell."  I was surprised at how rigorous this was - from the book I wasn't expecting much of any rise and by about 1:45 hrs, it was well-domed so I called it.  Definite area to learn my starter and dynamics with this dough.  Thanks too on the molasses note - makes perfect sense.  I actually just ordered some Brer Rabbit "light" so we'll see.  Brewing supply place just a couple blocks away, so malt syrup is also a possibility (can't wait to mill some 120L crystal malt, sieve it, and use it - love that kind of toffee/roast quality contribution in brewing).

Thanks again,

 

Paul

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Which, by the way, is one of my favorite rye breads.  That, and Borodinsky rye, are worthy additions to your rye repertoire when you've got a handle on the Ammerland.

Malt syrup is a good choice for rye breads if you can't find a recipe's specific sweetener, such as beet syrup.

Paul

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Thanks Paul...man I'm so geeked, hard to settle down and work on one (which I think is the right way to go, to learn).

In-laws aren't coming in, so we broke it open:

I'd call it solid "good."  Not great, but good.  A bit dry.  Almost underwhelming, bland - expected more up front, given the ingredients and healthy souring.  However, and this is interesting, I think, if I slow down and "sip" the bread, eat it with focus, I'd say there's a very subtle but very definite depth of flavor that has length, complexity, and good pleasure, to it.  

Not bummed for a first time, but "miles to go before I sleep," of course.  My wife likes it (she's just thrilled to see a rye in the house....years since I've baked rye at all) well enough, but I know it's not her true bailiwick.  She described it as "good."  "Very German" (she wasn't aware of its provenance), so I find that interesting.

She describes a classic Estonian rye like she grew up with as much blacker, much more just a fundamental, simple crumb - no cracked rye, wheat, seeds, etc, and much bolder up front.  So - wonderful road ahead.  Thanks for your help guys. 

Mini, we need an excuse to break out some Grüner.  I have a dedicated cold smoker, begging to fire up with salmon again, to be joined by the other side as cured salmon ("French" - fine herbes, green and black coarse crushed peppercorns, cognac...the kid thanks you, M. Pepin). Suggestions?

Paul, can I ask - it's probably obvious from here and elsewhere that I am trying to seek out "foundational" breads to work on, breads that can teach a lot just by trying to hone in on their particular qualities when done well, gaining mastery over them and therefore gaining skills to work on other, perhaps more involved breads.

I do like hearty.  I do like true rye expression, pure, assertion.  So would you recommend that it's not a bad way to learn, just dive into these more complete ryes, with scalds and meal and chops, etc., or would you recommend rather it' s better to do something like we were discussing above - start from the beginning of Mr, Ginsberg's book, and work forward - more mixed wheat/rye breads, deli and so forth?

You mention the Horst is one of your favorites and it (and the Borodinsky) are good additions to the repertoire - when I've a handle on this bread.

Thinking of these three (gosh, so many more I'm already itching to do - the Riga Rye, the Scalded Rye, those using red rye malt, unleavened like the Westphalian pumpernickel (unleavened!), would you call it not a bad thing to focus on this Ammerlander, or another, as a "foundational" bread?

I'm sorry - I know I sound like a broken record with this "foundational" stuff across the forums.  I'm just congenitally feudal in my view of training, to a fault, always have been.  Any guidance you or mini or anyone might have, in terms of this, would be very much appreciated.  Thanks for the comments thus far.

Paul

 

 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Even more so for your first try. 

Like you, I find this bread to be a bit dry.  Presumably, that is characteristic of this bread but it wouldn't hurt my feelings any if the hydration were slightly higher and the finished bread somewhat moister.  My experience with the flavor is that it is more grainy than sour, shading more toward earthy than toward spicy. 

Whether you want to spend more time with it before moving on to other breads should be driven by what you want to achieve.  If this is a bread that you see yourself enjoying frequently, then it's worth the time to master it.  If you think a different style might be more to your (or your wife's) liking, then spend your time on that, instead.  You aren't one to go rabbiting around willy-nilly, so I might suggest that you do some exploratory bakes of different breads to get a sense of the possibilities, then pick one or two on which to focus your attention.  That will satisfy your preference for full immersion while ensuring that your energies are devoted to something that you really like.

Stan chose to organize the book by regions, so baking your way through the book won't follow a typical pedagogical progression of mastering Skill A, then adding Skill B, etc.  You'll eventually encounter a range of ingredients and techniques but not in any particular order.  Consequently, I don't see a particular advantage in treating the book as if it were a textbook.  For instance, I tried the rye that contains blue fenugreek and did not like it at all.  Turns out that fenugreek isn't on my list of preferred flavors.  The Tyrolean Zelten, on the other hand, is so good that I could give up stollen for Christmas with scarcely a murmur.  YMMV, of course.

So, yes, dive in.  Some skills you gain will be unique to a particular bread, others will be transferable to multiple breads.  You'll gain a sense of what ingredients and processes yield particular textures or flavors.  And you'll find out which you really like.

Paul

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

I couldn't think of a more helpful post.  Thank you Paul.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a nice dry white?  Or are we talking herbs.  Sometimes the simplest are the best.  We like to chop up chives, and other garden herbs sometimes,. Smear the bread with cool unsalted butter or "Philly" then face down in the herbs, or onions etc and get a decent coat on top.  Open face. Then cut with a big sharp knife into two or three bite sized pieces.  The sharp knife will work well cutting the loaf as well. ( not serrated )

Cottage cheese is also a good topping, might have to blend it a bit with sour cream or yogurt and add in fresh herbs, garlic, chopped olives or gherkins.  Chopped variety of different colored bell peppers is always delightful to spoon over such open sandwiches, pickled onions, long spicy pickled peppers, or hard boiled egg slices w/ a dash of tabasco or finely sliced purple onion or schallots.  Really, let your creative energies go for it!

Plenty of ice and sparkling mineral water to go with the wine. We offer ice cubes as optional. Anything else?

on Salmon, we never get past black pepper and olive oil, it is just so good.  Have plenty of lemon wedges.  

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

I really wish I had studied German!  Yep, I mean the dry white wine, mini.  My wife used to work for an American chef, Odessa Piper, an extremely important chef in many, many ways.  Her husband is Terry Thiese (great book, btw - Reading Between the Wines) who really has been instrumental in popularizing German and Austrian wines in the U.S., back when it wasn't "cool." He is particularly passionate about fine German Rieslings (don't get me going.  I am delirious for German Rieslings and French Burgundies), but also Austrian Rieslings and Veltliners.  It was through this connection I came to love Veltliners.

I love your accompaniments.  Like you, I like simplicity in cooking and eating.  Funny - there's a lot here you describe:

Part of a dinner with friends few years back.  That's cognac, fines herbes and cracked black and green pepper-cured salmon with an herb salad from our garden, red onion confit, crème fraîche, brioche points and goofy little brunoises of pepper "confetti." (I sometimes like whimsy on a plate).  Normally I do both cured and cold-smoked salmon, but I haven't had the proper event to break down an entire salmon and smoke a side, so my little cold-smoking cabinet has been retired for about 15 years now (no more.  We're going to throw a party finally, a celebration, and salmon a' plenty).  

I've never been satisfied using brioche and now I know why.  I cannot wait to explore ryes and great pairings.  I just can't wait to explore ryes!  Honest to god I feel like an entire other universe has opened up.  I'm so lit up.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"...I feel like an entire other universe has opened up."

Welcome to the dark side!   :)

Btw, Grüner Veltliner is my haus wine.  A Summer spritzer is more sparkling (gassed) mineral water than wine and a Winter spritzer is more wine than sparkling water.  Hubby and I converted an under steps shower (solid brick) into a little wine cellar and so far works like a charm to keep the wine cool. 

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Lucky you! :)

Sounds like a great solution for a cellar.  I built a cheese cave underneath our old place but it was a nightmare getting proper insulation so temperature swings were a problem.  Brick sounds great.  

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in a few days, you can grate away any dark parts and save the crumbs fo another loaf.  Do a taste test on them.  :)

I think you can definitely go with top of the finished loaf with middle line of the oven, esp. with grey pans. 

With the tilted photos....how cool it would be to actually cool our loaves on the wall.  It would be a great space saving feat. I think that is doable!

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

OK, coffee through the nose laughing, mini.  Too funny.  Hmm...will you be surprised to see "vertical loaf handlers" at Sur la Table by next year?  Ya want in? :)

Thanks, great idea on the grater.  I'm actually looking forward to doing an old bread, altus, too, like Paul mentioned - never done that.  But I bet the crumbs are delicious on their own and can see a lot of uses.  I mean, beyond patching a retaining wall.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

better to grate them off now before the charcoal flavour settles in.  (Then you might want to save the lava dust for an emergency poisoning.)  

Ever have postem?  Nevermind.  :)

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Thanks mini, never knew that.  Hard to tell, I know.  But I think just the top hard-lava soil ... chancing the rest of the loaf is edible.  Do you have any thoughts?

Of course, you know that means the plan to hold off on eating it for a few days is likely completely blown.  24 hours, prime, right?  

Post-em!, lol.  Man, I'm a terrible bad-cereal eater.  If we every once in awhile get something truly awful in the house (iike, Count Chocula awful), I'm instantly shot back a half century, to a very, very bad boy.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Just wanted to say thanks, mini.  I always grate burnt crusts but didn't know that about the need to do it early.

Just a pic of the demon brick.  It almost looks like bread I think, thanks to your note!

We're at roughly hour 36 post-bake.  My parents-in-law come in tomorrow.  If I really had any courage, I'd open it tomorrow, with them, and let the chips (or bits of teeth) fly.  

Should I open, or....? :)

alcophile's picture
alcophile

I commend you on your effort starting with a more difficult rye bread from The Rye Baker. I have been gently wading into the book starting with some of the lower rye percentage recipes but you went right for the deeper water.

I look forward to seeing more of your efforts.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Lol, thanks.  No courage here, this style is just overwhelmingly the preference of my Estonian kin.  They are a motley crew of genetic vikings, and they're scary when hungry. :)

I'm right there with you - starting from the beginning.  Good luck, also look forward to seeing your breads!