Monday, April 25, 2011

The Rye Non-start

Some days I think it might be best if I just stay in bed. Rye flour day in artisan bread was one of those days, except that I had a group presentation, which would have made missing class a little more costly. Actually the presentation was partly to blame for my mess of a morning. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. so I could turn no-knead bread (for the presentation) and then again at 6:30 to bake it. The bread came out just in time for me to hustle off to class with two sourdough starters, a steaming loaf, a necessary cup of coffee, my tool kit (see above) and my book bag. It took two trips to the car. I don't even take that many loads to the car when I go on an actual vacation.

One starter was for Jewish rye bread with a liquidy sponge starter, the other for a 70 percent rye with a soaker and whole wheat flour (that is what the book Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes called it, and I barely know what it means). I made my first haul of the bread loaf and book back into the class, set up a little cutting board and cut myself of my knife. I ran out to my car to get the starters because it was just a touch cool outside and I wouldn't want to kill off my bacteria/yeast culture or anything. Well, the lid of the Jewish rye starter had just popped off, and the soaker had pooled out of the container onto the seat of my car. It was like the blob moving in on the outside world, feasting on anything it could get. The sourdough starter has already adhered itself to my wallet, keys, kitchen floor, various sweaters, book bags and kitchen utensils (this stuff is like industrial glue). Well I introduced a hole host of new bacteria to the culture by scooping up what I could salvage with my hand and scraping it back into the faulty tupperware container. Frazzled I ran back inside before it started raining leaving my keys sitting on the center console of the car. Fortunately, I didn't lock the car and fortunately no one stole it.
Things did turn up in class. When I discovered I had messed up the starter for the 70 percent rye flour recipe (regular flour is not an acceptable substitute for rye), my friend Angie shared with me. Rye flour really soaks up a lot of water and makes this nice denser sandwich bread. Angie really got people excited (no one wants to eat rye bread plain, trust me) by pulling out some duck breast pastrami from her garde manger class and by making 1000 island dressing out of mayo, catsup, sweet pickles, capers, lemon and sriracha. We found some sauerkraut and really dipped into some reubens. Everything ends right with a full stomach thankfully.
Jewish Rye Bread:
96 grams bread flour
96 grams medium rye flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
345 grams water, room temperature

285 grams bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients for the sponge together. Let ferment for 10 minutes covered.

Saving 1/4 cup of flour, mix the flour with the yeast. Place the flour gently on top of the sponge, cover and let ferment 1 to 2 hours. Add the salt and caraway seeds and mix for 5 to 8 minutes to develop gluten. Bread should be shaggy and moist, but do not add extra flour. Ferment for 40 minutes. Stretch the dough and fold it over on itself. Ferment for another 30 to 40 minutes. Form dough into a round loaf. Proof until it has nearly doubled in size. Score the bread and bake at 450 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest for 24 hours before eating.


Anonymous said...

Ooooh, that was a bad day! Want to buy some bread on Friday

chefmadness said...

that's funny about going back to your car and leaving your car key near your car, good thing you didn't lock it. making bread is really hectic, i mean that's a real baking going on there. i like baking cake but baking bread is tougher. i love to eat bread but i'll just leave it to the masters. but its good to know how to make it though.