Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Three-Stage 80 Percent Sourdough Rye



This bread is a piece of art and is really a cool bread. The sourdough build has three stages. Each one incorporates a different attribute to the finished product. It requires patience, understanding and a delicate hand, but I promise you......It's Worth It.

The first step is to make "The Freshening". This step creates the yeast potential for the sourdough and It is very wet. Also, since the sourdough develops for so long, only a very small amount of actual starter is used. Only 0.1 ounces. The freshening is 150% hydrated, which is about 50% more hydrated than the standard rye sourdough build. The high moisture content helps to create yeast. Organisms need two main things to grow, food and water. This is the perfect environment to produce the little dough-rising helpers. This stage lasts for five to six hours.

The second stage of the sourdough development is know as "The Basic Sour Stage". This stage is 76% hydrated and is much drier. This stage lasts for 15-24 hours depending on the temperature of the room. Since it is fairly warm in Ohio this week, I chose to go for 16 hours. This stage produces the acetic acid in the sourdough build.
The basic Sour


The final stage is called "The Full Sour Stage". This stage is 100% hydrated and helps to produce the lactic acid in the sourdough. By the time this stage is complete, the build will have that characteristic sour smell and that slight acid burn when you take a good sniff from the bowl that it has been growing in. It has a fluffy appearance and it looks and smells great.

The full Sour


Hamelman notes that the yeast is optional in this bread, depending on the potency of the bread, but I knew that I would leave it out. I think it will be fine. Due to the high amount of rye and water in this dough, it is going to be a tough bread to shape.

Look how much starter goes into this bread
Look, the yeast is going strong! I am glad I did not add it.

The final dough is mixed for four minutes on first speed, and 2 minutes on second speed. I have included a picture of the dough after mixing. As you can tell, it is wet in nature and there is not much gluten development. This is normal. I have to note that all of the rye flour called for in this recipe is supposed to be medium rye flour. I do not believe in using medium rye flour and I do not really believe in light rye flour either. There are some cases when they are great, such as in a Light Chleba, but I really do prefer the full and robust taste of whole grain rye. So I used whole rye flour in this bread. That means that is going to be heavy. In fact, the finished bread will probably feel more like a 90 percent rye bread. Even Hamelman's 90 percent rye uses some medium rye flour.

The appearance of the dough after being mixed 
When you use whole rye flour you get the added bonus of all of the bran and the germ. This means that you get lots of fiber and lots of wonderful nutrients from the germ. For those readers unfamiliar with the wheat grain, the bran is the outer husk and is thick and protective (fiber). The germ is where the plant would have germinated from, and it is loaded with nutrients and fats and proteins. It is "delicious and wonderfully nutritious". When I sift my rye flour I always save the bran and germ and put it in my oatmeal, it is wonderful. As a side note I think fresh ground rye flour smells like black sunflower seeds...aka...bird food.

Because of the potency of the sourdough starter, this bread only bulk ferments for 20-30 minutes.  It also has no folds. The dough is then shaped and then ferments for an hour at about 82 degrees. It is 84 degrees in my apartment, which makes for perfect dough rising conditions. I am going to use a ton of flour on my board to make sure the dough does not stick.

I have just shaped the loaves, and though the dough was wet, they were not too tough to handle. It is hard for me to judge whether the dough was well produced or if I am just becoming better at it, or maybe just more patient. When I shape doughs of this wetness, I like to use the dough scraper and I sort of shape my other hand in the shape of a rubber spatula and just guide the dough. I also tend to use one more technique. After the dough has been shaped, I remove my hands and spread some bread flour around the dough. I then use the dough scraper to distribute this bread flour under the loaf. This added step usually makes the transition to the board much easier. This might seem like a Mickey-Mouse thing, but it really works for me and I highly recommend it.



This bread has quite a long bake between 50-60 minutes depending on the size of the loaf. I chose to make 1.5 pound loaves (divided dough in half). The bread is baked for ten minutes at 490 degrees. Then the temperature of the oven is lowered to 410 degrees for the rest of the bake. The aromas that this bread produces will be the best indicator of the bread's doneness. I try to avoid opening the oven door, especially with breads such as this, but I know my oven and I knew that I had to rotate the dough in the back of the oven to the front, so I simply worked as fast as I could. I try to do these maneuvers within a 5-10 second window so that I do not lose much heat. This bread is docked, which means that small holes are poked in the finished dough just prior to baking, this helps to ensure an even baking and is often used with heavier rye breads. I usually use my handmade Korean chopstick to do this, but they are currently packed. So I washed a philips head screwdriver really well and used that. It worked really well. I might simply buy a screwdriver and only use it for this purpose.

These breads have such a wonderful smell, and aroma and a heaviness that I really like. This is the first bread of this type that I have posted on. When I baked through Hamelman's rye breads last year, my blog did not exist, so I think I will have to go through them again for all of my readers. There is something very magical about these breads .The time and effort required and the timing of the different aspects of the sourdough build are really worth the effort. TRUST ME. You will not be disappointed.

He is the appearance of the bread when docking is used


Bake On

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