Thursday, October 17, 2013

25% Whole Wheat, 25% Whole Rye with Caraway, Fennel and a Rye Chop Soaker

Have you ever taken a really great bread and completely re-created it?  Well, I've done just that and today's entry is about my recent "re-creation". This bread originally is made with whole wheat flour, whole rye flour and bread flour, but my re=creation includes a rye chop soaker, caraway and fennel seeds. The original formula can be found in Hamelman's book Bread, but I have made so many changes that it warrants its own name. I call it Rye Sourdough Whole Wheat Spice Bread with Rye Chops. 

The first change was replacing three ounces of the whole rye flour with rye chops, and combining it with 3 ounces of water to create a soaker.  On a whim I also added 0.4 ounces of caraway and 0.1 ounces of fennel seed. Typically I use 0.6 ounces of caraway when I bake two loaves but I wanted a slightly milder caraway flavor with a hint of fennel. I love fennel; but more for the aroma, than for the flavor. I find that fennel can be a bit over-powering, so I thought I would use a very small amount. Empirically, I know that a very small amount of fennel in a bread can go a very long way. 

The next change I made was sort of forced. I had to lengthen the mix on first speed from three minutes to four minutes, secondary to the addition of a rye chop soaker. I did this to ensure that significant gluten was developed in this dough. Also, since I removed 3 ounces of whole rye flour from the rye sourdough build, I added a very small amount of yeast (less than 1 teaspoon). The addition of yeast can be avoided, but the rising time and proofing time will nearly double. 
Sourdough build

If you do this, stay as close to 80 degrees as you can in your baking environment, or just adjust the proofing time accordingly. This bread ferments for one hour with no folds, which is very typical for rye breads. It is then shaped oblong and is proofed in brotforms for 50-60 minutes. The bread is then baked at 460 degrees for 15 minutes and then the bread is finished in a 440 degree oven for about 30 minutes. This bread browns up all at once, so be careful in the last ten minutes of the bake. Stick around the oven. Hint: If you get a strong whiff of fennel all of a sudden, there is a good chance it will be done in the next two to three minutes. 

I really want to emphasize that it is very easy to adjust recipes as long as the amount of flour stays the same and the hydration stays the same. Although I replaced some of the rye flour with rye chops, the amount of rye in this bread did not change. This will impact the flavor and especially alter the texture of the crumb, not to mention the excitement that the spices will bring to this reconstructed bread. 

I did let this bread rest for about 24 hours, but it was not really necessary because this bread is only 25% rye. A good 12 hours rest is generally the recommended rest time. 

The crumb

If you want to re-create this bread, let me know! I am willing to share this formula as it is another adaptation. 

After taking my first bite, the caraway is a little more upfront than I wanted, but the fennel is just right! Nice, mildly tart flavor, great crust and a nice tender but chewy crumb...success! You get a bit of fennel, and everything is just groovy!

Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

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