Thursday, July 26, 2012

40% Caraway Sourdough Rye

This is a bread that I have baked once before. In fact, it was the first sourdough rye I ever made on my own. This is one of the few sourdough rye breads that contains caraway seeds and their presence in this bread is very pronounced. My intention was to eat this bread with red lentil soup but that did not happen because my dinner plans got all messed up.

As mentioned above, forty percent of this breads is rye flour, and all of the rye flour in this bread is contained in the sourdough build. Hamelman calls for the use of whole rye flour in this bread, and I could not agree more. The whole rye flour really adds a sense of character and complexity to this bread. It also makes the crumb a wonderful deep color. The sourodugh is supposed to build for 14-16 hours, but I only had time to let it go for ten hours. I think the bread would have been a bit more sour if I let it go the complete 14 hours, but I was baking with friends and I did not want to pull the bread out of the oven at one in the morning. Therefore, I shortened the time a few hours. It is also important to note that this formula uses only a small amount of yeast.  Had it not, I might have run into some serious trouble.

Here is an observationan email from my Uncle Phil, in Montana. He grew up in Mattapan, a suburb of Boston, famous for its large Jewish and its fried clams. (I know that is ironic). This is what he had to say about caraway seeds:

"I also really like the taste of caraway, and always viewed it as a key component of Jewish Rye Bread, My friend's folks, who owned a bakery on Blue Hill Avenue, used caraway in their rye bread. Only thing I ever had against it, is that the seeds would get stuck between my teeth."

I feel about the same way. I love the flavor it provides, but some people just hate it, so I guess that it tends to be a matter of personal taste. The weight of the caraway seeds is 1.75% by flour weight, and they add both a significant flavor and a significant fragrance to this bread. Another good thing about this bread is that the caraway seeds are not soaked, yet they do not remain gritty in the finished bread. As a matter of fact, It is even hard to see them in the baked loaf. So they will not quite get stuck in your teeth, but rather will give your taste buds a good slap in their proverbial face.

As noted previously, I always weight the water in the mixing bowl first and then combine the sourdough build with the water. Then I add the rest of the ingredients. Since I was baking with my freinds, I had them do a lot of the process work. I told my friend Caryn to mix the build and the water together, and she was there mixing for at least 30 seconds. I was laughing to my self, until she asked me why. And I said "Well, you could have been done mixing 25 seconds ago." It is not important to really blend it but rather to simply get the build wet and slightly broken up.

This bread is mixed on first speed for three minutes and is then mixed on second speed for another 3-4 minutes. I think that I mixed this on second speed for close to five minutes. The dough simply needed the extra mixing time. This might be a result of the shortened time that I gave to the sourdough build, or perhaps to Caryn's extensive stirring. Perhaps it was due to some other reason that I did not even notice or take into account.

This bread is given about 2 hours to rise in bulk fermentation and is then shaped and then given one more hour to proof. The dough is folded half way through bulk fermentation. Since this dough was just a little on the wet side, I did use some flour during the fold and also during the shaping process. At this point I was getting tired, and stopped paying attention to the finer details. After baking for twenty minutes the oven is supposed to be lowered by twenty degrees. I forgot to do this. WHOOPS. So the crust is a little dark, and it happens to be quite thick, most notably on the bottom of the loaf. The bread is just slightly over-done, but nothing a hungry person can't handle.

As you can see from the final picture, the score did open nicely and the bread is dark. That is nothing that a little bit of cold sweet cream butter can not fix. This would also be great with some sharp cheese such as cheddar.

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