Sunday, April 26, 2015

Three Stage Sourdough Rye with Rye Soaker


This bread has been a long time in coming. I have been waiting a long time for the weather to warm up so that I could produce a new starter. I have had a very difficult time finding a warm enough area in my apartment to accomplish the task. But finally, here in New England, we started to get some warmer weather. As soon as that happened, I pulled out my mill, and ground up some rye kernels. I decided to go with different starter process. I think that it is much easier. I used my friend Ralph's approach, which is quite simple. Essentially, you just add water and flour each day without taking any of the build away, except for once during the process. This cuts out a bunch of unnecessary scaling, which is nice. As per usual, this formula starts with rye. I had some difficulty getting it rolling, so I stuck with rye flour for the whole process and I increased the hydration by between 15 and 25%. In the past I have found that the increase in the hydration helps the seed to grow faster. 

In biology, water is an essential component for growth. And like other bacterial organisms, water activity increases bacterial growth. Personally, I am also a fan of a wetter seed. The weather got colder, so I did have to use my oven on a very low temperature for a few days to continue the build. I am happy to report that by the seventh day the starter was ready to use.

I had originally planned on making vollkornbrot to test-run this sourdough, but I decided that I wanted something a little different. Actually, it's something that I have not done in a very long time. I settled on a Three Stage Rye with a few modifications. I decided that I wanted to use a grain soaker so I substituted rye chops in place of 11 percent of the whole rye flour. I soaked the chops for the last 8 hours of the sourdough build.

Now is as good a time as any to explain how to create a basic three stage rye build. Since I needed roughly 600g of starter, I decided to use 100g of rye flour and 100g of water with each feeding. I started off with 50g of Rye Seed. I fed it roughly every 6-8 hours, give or take an hour for my sleep schedule and my long day cooking for Kelly's mom who needed our help. The build handled itself just fine. The three stage build provides great flavor and excellent keeping quality.


The dough comes together very quickly. Most of you know that I have been kneading my doughs by hand since my mixer broke. I have to be honest with you, this is the kind of dough that would benefit from a mixer. The dough is so sticky from all of that fermented rye flour. I simply combined all of the ingredients, including the soaker, and kneaded for five minutes. The dough is then fermented for 60 minutes at room temperature and then shaped into boules/batards and proofed at room temperature of another hour. I had preheated the oven to 460 degrees (although it is a dial and I can not be certain of its accuracy). I chose not to preheat my dutch ovens this time, because the past few times my oven has burned the bottom of my loaves. This loaf requires a serious time commitment with the feedings and all, so you want it to work out.  I baked these breads at 450-460 for twenty minutes, removed the lids from the dutch ovens and then reduced the temperature to 415 and finished the bake.

I really am very pleased with the way that loaves came out. I did remove them from their dutch ovens and finished them on a cold sheet pan that was placed on the hot baking stone. This helped keep the bottoms from burning, but the bottoms are still slightly over done. They actually have a pretty good taste, but they are hard to saw through. I am also pleased with the chew and the crust. I was not expecting an open crumb from this loaf, so I am quite pleased with the structure. I think I am going to use this as a base and perhaps add some raisins and/or some chopped prunes. That would be super tasty. I am also glad that I used a grain soaker. I think it added a moistness to this bread and also a little texture. In the future I will dust with bread flour for greater contrast and to give the loaf a more clean finished look. 


Bake On
-DW, The Rye King

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