Monday, May 27, 2013

Three Stage 90% Sourdough Rye Bread (90% Dreistufiger Roggensauerteigbrot)

As I sit here with a strong urge to write about this bread I am on Facebook chatting away with my good friend Douglas, who owns a bakery in Maryland. We were actually roommates in college freshman year. Imagine this, a beginning to a great joke A jew, a catholic and a buddhist walk into a bar....... that was our life for nine months! We had a great time!

Back to the bread!

As I write this, I am feeling a bit "frisky" and wound up, so you are pre-warned.
This is a bread that I suggest making on a weekend because it requires thee different feedings. The first feeding is to build up the yeast; the second is to build up the acidic acid; and the third is to build up the lactic acid. The yeast stage is called the freshening because you are re-freshing the yeast! The first stage lasts about five hours in duration. 

This is all the starter that is used to provide lift and acidity for both breads!

The second stage lasts between 15-24 hours. In this 2nd stage, the freshening is re-vamped with more rye flour and water. The resulting consistency will be a bit dryer because itis only 50% as wet as the first stage. The water acts as a buffer for the acid in the first stage, so the reduction in the water content in the second stage allows for a much lower pH to be achieved. 
The build at the beginning of the second stage
The last stage is only four hours long and develops the lactic acid. This stage is hydrated at about 100%. Let me re-cap: Stage One hydration is about 150%, stage two is about 75% and stage three is at 100%. In all honesty, one can simply increase the amount of pre-fermented flour and skip all of this nonsense but it would not have the wonderful and subtle flavors of the 3-step process.  Also remember that the 3-step process increases the complexity of the overall project (and the amount of dishes), and it also increases the fun factor of making this bread.
As you can tell by the bulge of the plastic, this build is ready to rock and roll!
This bread called for medium rye flour, which of course I did not use! You know how the Rye King rolls, so I simply replaced it with whole rye flour. I did not change the hydration levels to compensate for the use of  whole rye flour because I did not feel that it was necessary. I looked at the dough; I touched the dough; the dough and I conversed metaphysically and he (the dough) told me that he would be fine.  And I trusted him. And by golly he did not betray my trust after all. This bread came out great! I mean GREAT! The look of it is enough to drive me crazy, and to know deep inside my heart that I will not be able to eat this one until Tuesday morning greatly upsets me! But I must wait. It is one of the sacrifices that I must make to ensure the right crumb. And my readers should know by now that there are few things in this world that I would not do to ensure the proper crumb!

I hereby dedicate this bread to Jeffery Hamelman, who is responsible for this formula! I am not at liberty to share his formula, but this is only because I want you to take his book, Bread out of the library! If I could only count the number of pieces that my copy of the book is currently in. I have used it so many times. Hamelman was able to write a book geared towards bakers who have baking experience, whereas most bread books are geared towards new bread bakers! I strongly recommend it over any of the other bread books that I have worked with in the past. I have an urge to make this bread into a flax seed and caraway bread with anise seed. Maybe that will be one of my next projects!

Bake On!
-DW, The Rye King

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