I've been eyeing this one for some time -- http://theryebaker.com/vitebsk-rye/. My partner doesn't like the heaviness of whole grain ryes, so I figured a 100% light rye might intrigue her. Also, in a different thread, where I foolishly argued that I could see no reason to use light or medium rye when you could use whole grain, Ilya recommended that I try a light rye to see how it showcases flavors like fennel and anise. What's more, Alcophile, Benny and WatertownNewbie all recently baked the Latgalian Rye ... and this one, calling for a pale rye malt scald as well, seemed like a not-so-distant cousin. Finally, another thing to recommend it: it's relatively quick -- 12 hours max from starting fermentation to pulling the finished loaf from the oven.
Still, assembling the ingredients took some time. First, had to I pick up rye malt at a brewing supply store (interestingly, the proprietor asked if I was growing mushrooms, as rye malt is apparently in demand as a medium for fungi.) Then, the quest for light rye was somewhat complicated: my relatively local Polish grocery has gone out of business and the three other places nearby had no rye flour at all. I was about to give up, but checked one last store and discovered two fornlorn bags of mąka żytnia typ 720 on the shelf. Success!
As usual, I wasn't totally on the mark with the temperatures. I don't have an oven thermometer (or indeed, any cooking thermometer at all) -- so I just winged it. To approximate an 85F/30C environment, I just preheated my oven on low for a bit and then turned it off. I did this every 2 or 3 hours.
I knead all the breads I make by hand and, when the final dough didn't seem to be moistening all the flour quickly enough, I dipped my hands in water to help. This turned out to be a mistake, because it transformed the dough into a ferociously sticky mass. Perhaps because of this, I didn't achieve the milestones that the Rye Baker blog describes in terms of dough growth and holes. But I plowed ahead.
I baked it in a dutch oven, 5 minutes covered at 500F/260C, 33 minutes uncovered at 450F/232C.
With a lovely anise-infused flavor, a wonderful shattery crust, and a moist, light crumb -- incredible given that we cut into it half an hour after pulling it from the oven -- this is a bread to be savored. My partner has finally endorsed a 100% rye, calling the flavor "amazing." I concur.
Come to think of it, I'm sure we're not going to savor it. We're going to gobble it up.
Fabulous bake Rob. I love that crumb, really awesome given 100% rye even if it is light rye. I’m amazing that your partner says she likes it having not liked 100% rye breads in the past. I wonder if I could get close enough to light rye by sifting my whole rye with a #40 sifter. Might be something to try in the future.
It's a revelatory and delicious bread. The feathery lightness of the crust and crumb, as well as the understated flavor combo, is I think what distinguishes it from whole ryes. My partner just texted me: "It is too good!" -- high praise indeed. I just had two slices with plain avocado: a totally satisfying lunch.
As for sifting, you probably could. I thought of that, too, but, after my experience with several bags of whole grain flours going bad, I switched to a very coarsely ground local flour, and I doubt much of it would go through a sieve. I read somewhere that type 720 is 65% extraction -- though the Polish site from which it took that figure is no longer online.
This looks great Rob, glad that you tried a light rye bread! Nice that both you and your partner liked it so much!
1. I wouldn't have baked it without your prompt.
2. If you can dig up some light rye, I'd urge you to try it. It's super-tasty -- and there's lots to learn from the process.
Glad I could point you to trying this bread that you liked so much :)
I actually have some light rye sitting and waiting for me to use it! I'm guessing it's more of a weekend bake though, as these multistage rye breads tend to be... Is it just me or is theryebaker website not working at the moment? I am stuck at the rotating "loading" sign... Rus brot has a video about it too though! So I can get a recipe. I was already planning Latgalian rye at some point, but it's difficult to schedule.
yeah -- theryebaker site is not loading for me either.
you can find the original recipe here -- https://crucide-livejournal-com.translate.goog/167102.html?utm_source=3userpost&_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp
(of course, I've googletranslated it into English and there are some wacky word choices, but as the original is Cyrillic, I am sure you can find it in Russian on the site.) The only diff I can see is that theryebaker doubled the formula.
Ah thanks a lot Rob!