Saturday, June 9, 2012

Flaxseed Vollkornbrot

Finished Vokornbrot with Flaxseeds

This bread is for a special occasion. I am making it for Dave's Vegetarian Graduation Potluck which will  celebrate the completion of my Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition from Ohio State University. There have been some obstacles and some tough breads along the way, but I have prevailed. I am just so excited to be done. I can not believe that my thesis is complete and that I am one step closer to being Dr. Dave!

This pot luck spectacular is not for several days, but this is a loaf that really deserves about 48 hours to sit and come to terms with its complete awesomeness. And on the note of awesomeness, I am listening to the show of the week right now, and it is a good one, check back soon for that!

Rye chops before adding water
The hydrated rye soaker
Close up of rye soaker

This bread contains a sourdough and two soakers, so be ready to wash four or five bowls. Don't worry though because it will be worth it. Another very cool thing about this bread is that there is only half of an ounce of water in the final dough because of the three soakers. There is 12.2 ounces of water in the sourdough, 10.1 ounces of water in the rye chops soaker;  and 4.4 ounces of water in the flax seed soaker.

Flax Seed Soaker the night before

Flax seed soaker

This bread is made completely of rye meal and rye chops which which are both derived from whole rye berries. It is thought to be impossible to make a bread composed only of rye because it has less gluten than wheat. However, this bread seems to defy this misconception and myth. In fact, the flavor of this bread will blow you away. The sourness it achieves, along with its moist grainy texture, is unbeatable. The addition of the flax seed soaker makes it even better.

One thing to note about the rye chop soaker is that when you first add the water, it seems that there isn't enough water. Don't worry. Over night a cool process occurs. The water is gradually spread across all of the grains. It is similar to the way that osmosis occurs when using a semi-permeable membrane. The chops act much the same way that the semi-permeable membrane works.

The flax seed soaker seems to contain an excessive amount of water, however, go with it. These hard little seeds will soak up an immense amount of water. This soaker becomes a gelatinous mass, a consistency I would call 'goopy'.

The dough prior to being mixed

Another really interesting thing about this bread is the mixing technique. All of the ingredients are combined in the bowl (including all of the soakers). Combine the water, sourdough, flax soaker and rye chop soaker in the bottom of the mixing bowl and then add the remaining dry ingredients (salt, rye meal and yeast). The bread is then mixed on first speed for ten minutes, a technique which is also used in the pumpernickel that I posted on recently. Although the baking process for this bread is much simpler, the high amount of rye flour in this bread combined with the nature of the flax seed soaker make this bread very sticky. When mixing, the dough plasters itself to the sides of the mixing bowl. There are two schools of thought on what to do. One school of thought is to scrape the dough down every minute or so. The second scool of thought is to just leave it alone. Very strong gluten development is not necessary for this bread as it is being baked in a pan. Personally, I take an approach that utilizes a bit of both techniques by scraping it down two or three times during the mixing process.

The mixed dough

Another really cool thing about this bread is that it only bulk ferments for 10-20 minutes. There is a lot of sourdough in this bread as well as quite a bit of yeast. It will rise in the pan quite a bit during its proofing stage, which only lasts about 45-50 minutes.

Prior to proofing

After the proofing

Since this bread is baked in a pullman pan, it does have a longer bake. It bakes for 15 minutes at 470 degrees which helps to provide oven spring and helps to form a crust. The oven is then reduced to 380 degrees for an additional 75 minutes. Unlike the pumpernickel, this bread is not baked with a cover.

IMPORTANT: Prior to placing the dough into the pullman pan, the pan must be sprayed generously with oil spray and then coated well with rye meal. I use the same technique that is used to coat a bundt pan with flour. I place about 3/4 of a cup of rye meal in the oiled pan and carefully slide the pan around and shake the flour along the sides of the pan. In the future I will include a video of this. It is too late to do a video at this point because  the dough is already in the pan.

There are 2 methods used to place the dough into the pan. One method is to make a log and place it in the pan as gracefully as possible (it is never as graceful as one hopes). The other method is to pick up large sections and place them in the pan and then spread them out using a rubber spatula. I usually make a log but this time I used the latter technique. It worked just fine and it was a bit less stressful.

This bread has so many wonderful characteristics. Its intensity (like camping), its chewy crumb, its flavor, its multiple soakers and the fact that it will melt any rye lovers heart. I hope you all try to make this bread at least once in your life, it is wonderful. I know that Michael Jubinsky from Stone Turtle Baking and this students love this bread almost as much as I do and so will you!!

The finished bread

The finished bread with a close up on the crumb

1 comment :

  1. David, your bread looks very nice. (By the way, it's spelled "Vollkornbrot", voll = full.)
    Why do you make two different soakers - and not all in one? I usually make a mash with the rye chops first, add the flax seed afterwards, and then let them soak in the mash.