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Scalded 100% whole rye bread with raisins (CLAS!)

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Scalded 100% whole rye bread with raisins (CLAS!)

As I mentioned in comments over the last few days a couple of times, I was making a CLAS starter. In case some people missed Yippee's posts about it, CLAS stands for "concentrated lactic acid sourdough", and it's just like a regular starter - except it doesn't have yeast, only LABs. I made it using whole rye flour, diastatic malt powder, a little vinegar, water by inubating at ~40°C, where LABs are happy, but yeast are suppressed. Vinegar creates a low pH to prevent growth of unwanted bacteria. Access to oxygen is also restricted with the same purpose. While CLAS has been around for a while, the easy application of this type of sourdough has been extensively covered and popularized by Rus Brot, and he even has a web page about it in English: http://brotgost.blogspot.com/p/clas.html

The advantage is separation of souring and lifting powers (lift is provided by commercial yeast, and  souring, critical in particular to rye bread, is provided by CLAS). In addition, while I didn't use it this time, overnight refreshment of CLAS and simultaneous scalding really simplifies scheduling for scalded dough, which otherwise takes basically the whole day.

My CLAS didn't smell quite right after building (I only had diastatic barley malt, not diastatic rye malt, could be because of that): it had very prominent fruity notes which it shouldn't have. So I refreshed it once, and then the fruity aromas were gone and it was ready to use. I followed this recipe for all whole grain rye bread with a scald and including raisins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpAfPmKkn_Q&list=PLrSg5cYpPtU96v2LWR9rETxWDEHe3iIcj&index=36

Since I was testing my new CLAS, I decided to halve the recipe just in case something goes wrong. I also forgot to add caraway seeds :( Here is the formula: https://fgbc.dk/1o2h Normally it would include 2g caraway seeds in the scald (this is for my half-sized recipe). I also used mostly new flour that I haven't used before (Polish whole rye), and I think it was much more thirsty than what I am used to, and what Rus used, and I slightly underhydrated it in the end: when shaping the dough was stiffer than I expected and what I see in the video, and the final bread seems a little less soft than Rus shows. Half of the recipe made a little neat loaf, I shaped it quite long and thin.

The flavour is really-really nice. I don't know if it's the new flour or the CLAS, but I think the flavour of the bread itself is a little fuller and more complex than I previously experienced (different recipe too, of course), and addition of raisins makes it an almost dessert bread. Delicious. The bottom crust is deeply caramelized from baking on the steel (but not burnt), which actually adds nice flavour and texture contrast.


Comments

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

That looks like perfection.  You blow my mind, Ilya.  Well done, to put it lightly.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you! I'm sure you'll manage this just as well, after a few tries if not right away. The procedure for the Borodinsky is very similar, except it uses a traditional starter that needs to be properly refreshed before baking.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Thank goodness, I'm not alone anymore! Your bread is beautiful! It looks perfect!

Yippee

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you Yippee! I am also very pleased, and the look is great I agree - smooth, dark and shiny :)

So do you think CLAS produces more flavourful bread of any kind? I was thinking it's super convenient for multistage recipes, in particular with scald, to do the refreshment and the scalding overnight. But I thought it might be easier to just keep using my regular starter for wheat bread... What do you think?

Yippee's picture
Yippee

If you ask me. As they said in intermittent fasting, you can eat whatever you want, and with CLAS, you can bake any bread you like and get excellent results. Before deciding whether to keep the traditional starter, why not use CLAS exclusively for a while to experience its versatility? It didn't take long for me-one bake and I was hooked. I threw away all my traditional sourdough starters and never looked back!

I'm so glad you're on board. Now we are comrades!

Yippee

 

P.S. When it comes to bread, it can't go wrong with Rus's choice, and we all know that he likes CLAS.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Hmm.  I'm not sold.  Wild yeasts add more than leavening....souring isn't the only sensory attribute we're looking for...i.e.,:

Hence, while use of a relatively homogenic group of Scerevisiae yeasts for bread dough leavening has improved the speed, consistency and overall quality of fermentations, it also limited the sensorial complexity of the end product.

In my own former life as a maker of French alpine cheeses, the "morge," or basically the brine that sets the substrate of the rind for spontaneous inoculation with the cave flora in place, is infinitely preferable to purchased cultures, blends or otherwise.  Many sell these latter cheeses with good success - but they are paltry poor cousins when compared to the real thing.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Works for me!

Yippee

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

But the vast majority of starters have only S. cerevisiae anyway, while the diversity and variability of bacteria is much higher, and must mostly determine the flavour...

https://elifesciences.org/articles/61644

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Wish I could do a proper experiment by making the same dough with either CLAS+CY or with sourdough to compare, but it's not really feasible at home for me.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Thank you, Ilya, that certainly flies in the face of received wisdom.  I'll look forward to reading it.  Slowly, lol.

Although I will say, arguing by authority, you're merely a molecular biologist while I'm a has-been chef who could roast a mean rack of venison.  I think we all know my word carries a lot more here.  Wait...lol.

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I think the proof would be in the pudding, i.e. comparing bread with your particular sourdough starter vs your particular CLAS + CY - theoretically you won't know for sure what flavour you would prefer. But at home it can be a bit tricky, if the difference is subtle. The profession does not matter, only the result and your preference :)

I do believe most aromatic compounds would be produced by time alone (i.e. enzymes in the flour) and bacteria, and less so by yeast. Evidently, using different yeast species produces different flavours, but in practice one never encounters bread not made with S. cerevisiae.

Also, you could try subbing baker's yeast by brewer's yeast (of which there are many varieties as well). They would likely rise the bread slower (the same Rus Brot sometimes uses some beer yeast he verified are quick enough btw), but many people claim they can produce superior / more complex flavours.

Whether the exact strains of S. cerevisiae in sourdough starters are significantly different from baker's yeast in the flavours they produce is unknown AFAIK - but I haven't ersearched this.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

I agree wholeheartedly - whatever works.  I also totally agree with you on the issue of subtlety and whether it can even be picked up. Briefly: long ago, in the midst of my brewing life, I abandoned the notion of "step mashing" with preference given to a-amylase ranges due to a perceived fuller mouthfeel, when I read in Briggs' et al's Malting and Brewing Science that the sensory threshold made any difference immaterial.  Long time ago and memory for it is sketchy.  Something like that.  Basically, b-amylase range mashes aren't perceived as watery and a-amylase intensive mashes aren't perceived as gruel.  So I hear you.

It might be my atavistic personality and predilection for scraping caves and rinds and streaking plates, over buying produced cultures, showing.  At one point I had banked 20 or so ale strains (most of them failures - they are not single strain brewing cultures so the only de facto way to continue with them was to brew with them, doing my best to replicate their environmental conditions.  Too much work) from across the U.S. and Europe but alas, I'm far removed from all of it any longer.  Just want to make good bread!

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

BTW re brewer's yeast, found Rus Brot's blog entry about his first try with them, he describes the added benefit of some fancy Belgian yeast strain like it improved the flavour greatly! He used them for the Riga bread together with CLAS to ferment the scald for 10 hrs to get nice aroma, and then added regular baker's yeast when mixing the dough for the lifting power.

(Sorry, in Russian, but you can see which yeast he used at least, and a few other strains he tried for other breads are in the table http://brotgost.blogspot.com/2018/12/beeryeast.html)

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks Yippee, I will try something like that! I don't want to through my starter away, but I would be OK with drying it for long storage. I like regular sourdough because I don't have to remember to buy the yeast and can start the dough by just adding any arbitrary amount of starter to any amount of flour/water/salt, and always get a good result, now that I have some experience :) And also maintaining 40°C for refreshment is a little tricky, and will get much harder in winter...

Yippee's picture
Yippee

to enjoy bread making!

Yippee

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you! I am moving in a few months, maybe in the new place I'll get some good equipment for temperature control, and a big bag of instant yeast can go in the freezer, then using to only CLAS will become very convenient. Let's see, I'll certainly continue experimenting with it now!

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

That looks perfect.  Well done!

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

You are very kind, thank you!

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Ilya I see this beautiful sheen on this bread, as well as your Borodinsky.  Without knowing anything, my instincts tell me that is eminently fitting and suspect that's the tradition.  You make reference to it a bit in your Borodinsky blog post.  Would you mind sharing the method here (I'll append it to Rus Brot's recipe)?

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Pretty sure it's explained in Rus's recipe. The smooth surface is achieved by

  • "painting" the bread with a liquid dough just before baking to form a nice strong but elastic crust
    • The best way to prepare it is by mixing 25g of your bread dough before shaping with 30g water and letting it ferment during final proof
  • and then applying corn starch glaze when the bread is just out of the oven - which gives the shine and also helps soften the crust while also helping trap the moisture within the bread
    • I think Rus has the measurements somewhere, but I always just eyeball it - about a teaspoon corn starch and a splash of water, either heated in a small saucepan with mixing until gelatinized, or for this bread I just microwaved the mixture in a few pulses
Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Sorry, Ilya, I'm thinking of the youtube writeup.  I'll check out the blog site.  Thanks for the info.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

It's in the video on youtube - he doesn't give all the details in the description, only the amounts of ingredients and baking conditions. Watching the videos is very helpful to see how the dough should look and behave at different stages anyway.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Thanks.  Been reading and not watching, will do.

Benito's picture
Benito

That looks incredible Ilya well done especially for your first go at CLAS. It sounds like a winner all around for flavour and appearance. 
Benny

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Benny,  Ilya's progression as a baker has been stunning since he joined TFL. He has a natural talent as a bread baker. (And I think you do too.)

It's probably been close to 30 years since I've had a succulent rye as good as Ilya's Borodinsky or that Borodinsky Supreme loaf that keeps showing up on the sidebar.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

The wealth of gifted people here is humbling.  I'm so grateful to everyone for contributing their knowledge.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you both Benny and Dave! You are too kind: the success of my ryes is really thanks to the detailed and scientific recipes shared by Rus Brot. So far every single bread made according to them has been outstanding, and I believe it's simply due to following his directions precisely.

You should give it a go Benny, you have a proofer to control the temperature precisely, that's the only difficulty for this kind of bread! I guess it can even be used to keep the scald at ~65C in the slow cool mode? Would be very easy when you don't have to fiddle with weak temperature control, and using an imprecise oven for the scald, like I do. And you keep a rye starter already.

Benito's picture
Benito

I think I should have a go at it at some point in the future.  My impression on the rye bakes is that you need ingredients that I have not been able to find, things like the various malts.  I will keep my eyes open for these ingredients and may try my hand at these wonderful looking rye bread you keep baking, they always look inticing.

Benny

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Right - red rye malt is a limiting factor, it's available on eBay and likely in Russian shops, if there are any near you. Malt extract should be easy to find, here it's available in health food stores, and of course in homebrewing shops. Good luck! These breads have such full flavour, it's very rewarding to just have a bite :)

Benito's picture
Benito

Malt extract isn’t available in any of the places I have looked including health food stores.  I have yet to go to a home brewing shop, living downtown there just aren’t any of these around.  Red rye malt I haven’t seen either.  At some point I may go to a microbrewery and ask if they have malt extract they might sell me.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Mh interesting about malt extract, that's unfortunate. Some kind of light molasses would also work probably, if that's easier.

Anyway, not all rye breads require these ingredients! Some are much simpler and just need flour, water, salt and starter, maybe with seeds or spices, for example, to try your hand and handling the dough at first, and seeing if you like the flavours.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I wouldn't recommend starting with a scalded multi-stage bread anyway, actually. Better get a feel for the dough handling on something simpler first.

harum's picture
harum

The flavour is really-really nice. I don't know if it's the new flour or the CLAS, but I think the flavour of the bread itself is a little fuller and more complex than I previously experienced...

 

Just curious, what was your maintenance temperature for the "regular" starter?  In my limited experience, the higher the temperature at which the starter is routinely maintained, the fuller the taste/aroma.  The "RT" breads were a bit too bland and boring,  "80F or so" were comparable to store-bought, and CLAS were even better.  

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Recently I've been keeping it in the fridge, but feeding warm at about 28C. Also fermenting the dough at about the same.

But when making similar breads to this (mostly or only whole rye) I always put the starter through the recommended strict refreshment series over three feeds, so the bread is not too sour.

Interesting observation!