Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Rugbrød: Danish Rye Loaf

Boy, ever since I have had my starter really going I have been on a Miscovich Kick. I realized there are so many breads in his book that I have not made yet. I got so caught up on the 75% pain au levain that I left a lot of unexplored waters. I am still to get my hands on durham flour that is not semolina, but I see this happening in the not too distant future. There is at least five or six breads that I have not attempted either because they lack whole grains or because I do not yet have the ingredients. This is going to change very soon. I have made Rugbrød before, but I have never made it this well. The only thing I really did differently this time was I made sure my starter was very ready for action and I withheld the fennel seeds. I withheld the seeds for two reasons, one is I wanted a rye that I could taste nothing else but the rye and I wanted to see what kind of flavor and sour I could get out of this bread. I say that because I really like the texture of this bread, its dense but for a bread with as much rye as this one has it has a nice crumb. With very small holes and it is a great vehicle for cheese and spreads.

This bread begins with two preferments: a white levain which is hydrated at 100% and the rye sour which is hydrated at 82%. The rye starter contains roughly three quarters of the prefermented flour. Miscovich has adjusted the hydration of these preferments in such a way that they will be fermented in the same amount of time, always a step ahead he is! Always! There is also a rye chop soaker, which I off course used, which is hydrated at 200%. This provides no crunch to the bread but rather a chew to the crumb. A subtle addition.

The mixing of this dough is very simply, and although Miscovich does not recommend mixing this one by hand, I did it anyways, I had no choice really. All of the ingredients are combined together and I then kneaded this bread for about 7 minutes. I used a bowl scraper to do this, by continuously folding the dough in on itself until it gained structure and smoothness. This dough is a sticky one and I can see why Miscovich recommends the mixer. This bread also contains black strap molasses, which adds another depth to the dough.

The cool thing about this one is there is no bulk fermentation. This dough is placed directly into the rye flour coated pullman pan. I was nervous so I first rolled the dough in rye flour. So my loaf did not get the variegated appearance that I was hoping for. After baking this one, Miscovich informed me that if I had went straight from the bowl to the pullman pan I would have achieved the Rugbrød look, which is what I am going to do next time. 

The baking is unique the bread is baked in a covered pullman pan at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, the heat is then reduced to 400 and baked for 15 more minutes. The lid is removed and the oven is reduced to 325 and baked for an additional 45 minutes. I needed an additional five minutes for firming up the sides, for which the bread was removed from the pan and finished on a baking sheet on top of my baking stone. 

I am very pleased with this bake as well as my other bake this weekend, but I would like to try a few things with this recipe as the base. I would like to add some seeds to this, I am thinking pumpkin and sunflower and maybe just a hint of sweet molasses. Just to give it a bit of a different spin, to see how it comes out.

If you like rye you need to bake this bread, its a winner and one I will be coming back to over the years. Plus when you are in a time pinch, its works well, but just remember the bread cures for 48 hours after baking, but its worth the wait!

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