Home Bread-Bakers v104.n009.2

rye bread [long]

fred smith <fredex@fcshome.stoneham.ma.us>
Sun, 8 Feb 2004 06:57:55 -0500
The original recipe as posted on the list (bread-bakers.v102.n059.4) is 
below. As usual I tend to tweak things a little. In this one here's the 
tweaks I do:

1. I find the sour sponge, when made as described here (or at least as I 
understand the description), is way too stiff to handle, and too stiff to 
get bubbly (which may depend on the flour I use, or the temp/humidity in my 
kitchen). I find it is better if I add a little more water (or a little 
less flour) so that I get a thick/gooey/sloppy mess, which can be stirred 
and which will bubble.

1a. I'm using the same batch of starter I began with over a year ago. I 
made it according to the   instructions below. I find that it's character 
has changed as time goes by, the aroma and flavor are not the same as they 
were at the beginning. But it is still a good starter with good flavor. Not 
terribly sour (which is fine by me, I really don't care for breads that are 
strongly sour) but you can tell it is in there as you enjoy the bread. if 
you like a rye with even more punch to it, KA sells 3 or 4 different kinds 
of rye enhancers you can try (I've used 'em, but for this recipe I find 
it's lovely without them).

2. I add a little (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 cup or so) corn oil to the recipe when 
blending all the ingredients. I find I still get a nice chewy loaf with a 
good heavy crust, but overall it is less dry and stays fresh a little 
longer. I'm sure that olive or canola or your favroite oil instead of corn 
would work just as well.

3. I tend to use two different kinds of rye flour. I made (and feed) the 
starter with Hodgson's Mill medium rye flour (conveniently available in the 
local Shaw's supermarkets), and then the rye that is added during mixing of 
the bread is King Arthur's Pumpernickel. There's no particular GOOD reason 
for this, it's just that I like the texture I get from using the two 
different flours--the Hodgson's Mill is fairly coarse, the KA is fairly fine.

4. Instead of "gluten flour" (which I don't have) I just use some of King 
Arthur's "vital wheat gluten" along with either their unbleached 
all-purpose white, or their "first clear" flour, if I have any. Follow the 
directions on the gluten packet for how much to use (I usually use 3-4 T).

4a. I also use (whenever I have it) King Arthur's "FIrst Clear" flour 
instead of white. They claim it gives a more chewy loaf like a good "deli 
rye" should have. If I don't have any, I use KA AP unbleached and find it 
is an equally good loaf.

5. and I tend not to bother with the cornmeal on the baking sheet, I just 
give the sheet a squirt of PAM and bake right on top of that. cornmeal may 
be more authentic, but to me it's not worth the trouble.

Rye doughs can be really sticky. the tendency is to keep adding flour to 
hold down the stickiness (i use disposable latex gloves when handling dough 
to reduce the gooey mess that sticks to me), but you don't want these 
loaves to have TOO stiff a dough, or you'll get a hard dry bread. (I now 
mix in my Bosch Compact mixer, so the stickiness isn't as big a hassle for 
me as it used to be.) It's a juggling act, if not stiff enough it'll 
spready out instead of rising up. Practice makes less imperfect!

I've found that "the devil is in the details". Pay close attention to the 
small details, measure carefully, use the same procedures every time (make 
notes on your printout of the recipe), and given some practice you'll be 
able to get a good and consistent loaf of rye bread.

Good luck, enjoy the bread!
Fred Smith

This recipe is from Helen Witty's "Better Than Store Bought."

Sour Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds

These tawny-crusted loaves have a crackled surface and the proper rye tang, 
enhanced with caraway seeds (which you can omit, if you like, but they lend 
much character to the bread). If you keep the bread for a few days (we 
think it improves in flavor for at least 24 hours after baking), restore 
the crispness of the crust by warming the loaf briefly in the oven before 
slicing it.

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (110 F) water
Pinch of sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 cup tepid (80 F) water
2 cups active Rye Sourdough Starter*,
     stirred down before measuring, at room temperature (recipe follows)
3 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup medium rye flour, or as needed
1 cup gluten flour
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
Cornmeal (for sprinkling the baking sheet)

Glaze: 1 teaspoon cornstarch, cooked in 2/3 cup water until translucent (2 
to 3 minutes) then cooled.

1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar and let stand until very foamy, 
about 10 minutes.

2. Dissolve the salt in the tepid water and stir the mixture into the 
sourdough starter. Beat in the yeast mixture, then the caraway seeds. Beat 
in the rye flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, then beat in the gluten flour.

3. Spread 2 cups of the all-purpose flour in a ring on kneading surface and 
pour the dough into the center of the ring. (I do this in the mixer). Mix 
just until thoroughly mixed, adding as much of the remaining white flour as 
necessary to make a medium-stiff dough, not too heavy.

4. Dust the kneading surface with rye flour and knead the dough very 
thoroughly until it is elastic and smooth-surfaced. Don't overflour the 
board; keep the dough as close as possible to medium-stiff.

5. Form the dough into a ball and place in an ungreased bowl; cover with 
plastic and let rise until doubled in bulk, at least 1 hour.

6. Turn the dough out onto your kneading surface, dusted lightly with rye 
flour, then expel the air from it and form it into two smooth balls. Cover 
with a towel and let rest for 20 minutes, meanwhile sprinkling cornmeal on 
a large (11x17-inch) baking sheet.

7. Flatten each ball of dough into an oval about 12 inches long and 1 inch 
think. Beginning at a long edge, roll the dough up and pinch the seam 
closed. Make a slightly pointed oval loaf about 12 inches long and higher 
than it is wide. Place, seam down, on the cornmeal-covered baking sheet. 
Repeat with the second half of the dough, leaving ample space between the 

8. Cover the loaves with a towel and let them rise until they have reached 
"three-quarters proof" (not quite doubled). When they have reached this 
point, the light pressure of a finger should barely dent the side of the loaf.

9. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 425 F, and put a large, 
shallow pan on the bottom (or on the lowest shelf, if yours is an electric 

10. Brush the loaves with the cornstarch glaze. With a single-edged razor 
blade or a very sharp knife, held almost parallel to the surface, cut three 
diagonal slashes 1/4 inch deep in the top of each. Put the bread in the 
oven & imediately pour an inch of boiling water into the preheated on the 
bottom. Close the door quickly.

11. Bake 15 minutes in the center of oven, then lower the heat to 350 F, 
remove pan of water and bake the bread for 30 minutes longer. Brush the 
loaves again with the glaze. Set them directly on the oven shelves for 10 
to 15 minutes, or until there is a hollow sound when you rap on the bottom.

12. Cool on a rack, uncovered. Wrap in plastic and store at room 
temperature. The bread may be frozen.

From: Louise Hyson Date: Monday, November 19, 2001

Rye Sourdough Starter

The 4-cup batch made by this recipe is enough to bake any of our rye breads 
requiring a rye starter, with enough left over to serve as the nucleus for 
another baking.

When you "feed" leftover starter-which should be done every 2 weeks or 
so-add a little rye flour and water, using 3 parts flour to 2 of water. To 
build up a small amount of starter to a quantity large enough for baking, 
do the job in several steps, never adding a larger measure of flour than 
the amount of starter on hand. Let the starter stand at room temperature 
overnight or for up to 24 hours, until it is bubbly and no longer smells 
floury. To increase further, add more flour and water in the same 
proportions and again let the starter ferment until it is bubbly enough to 
use. Store leftover starter in the refrigerator between bakings and 
"feedings," and for indefinite storage freeze it. Thaw, then feed the 
starter and let it ferment at room temperature until it is again bubbly 
enough to use.

1 package dry yeast
3 cups tepid (80 F) water
3 1/2 cups medium rye flour
1 small onion, peeled and halved

1. Dissolve the yeast in 2 cups of the tepid water, then beat in two cups 
of the rye flour, beating until no lumps remain. Add the onion, cover 
loosely with a cloth, and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

2. Remove the onion. Beat in 1 cup tepid water, then 1 1/2 cups rye flour. 
Cover with the cloth and let stand for 24 hours longer. The starter should 
now be pleasantly sour-smelling, almost beery, and bubbly. (Depending upon 
the temperature of the room, a slightly longer or shorter period of 
fermentation may produce this result.

To use: The starter is now ready for use and can be refrigerated for up to 
24 hours before use, without further feeding. If you must hold the starter 
longer before use, the night before it is wanted add 1/2 cup tepid water 
and 3/4 cup rye flour and let it stand at room temperature overnight.