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Sunday, 30 June 2013

"Local Breads" - Whole Rye Berry Loaf (Volkornbrot)

I'm not entirely convinced I got the right "rye berries" for this recipe as they didn't become all that soft after soaking, but make the bread I did.

This is the second to last recipe in the Germany section of Daniel Leaders book "Local Breads" that I am working my way through.  I think Mr Leader left out part of the recipe as he mentioned in his preamble that he had included a refreshment step or "build" to make sufficient rye starter for the dough, but in fact he had not.  So I just made double the amount of rye sourdough preferment that he suggested in the recipe.

Starter - this is 1.5 times the amount mentioned in the book - 50g starter + 170g water + 225g fine rye flour - left to sit at room temperature for 16hrs.
Rye starter bubbling away after 16hrs

Soaked berries - 125g whole rye berries + 175g boiling water - placed in a bowl and also let sit for 16hhrs at room temp.  They didn't swell up that much and didn't soften, which makes me think they weren't quite the right think.  Or alternatively I guess, they could have been old and past their best?
Soaked rye berries
Take out 50g of starter to keep for next time and then add the remaining starter (400g) into a mixing bowl along with 50g of water, your soaked rye berries, 200g fine rye flour and 10g salt.  I then mixed all of this on my stand mixer (#2 speed) for 2 minutes -it was supposed to form a thick, batter-like dough but wasn't quite battery so I added a touch more water until I was happy with the consistency.

I covered the bowl of dough with a plastic bag and let ferment at room temp for about 1.5hrs. It was lightly spongy and had only slightly risen.

I oiled a loaf pan (a fairly big one) and coated the oil with rye flour then scraped the dough into the pan with a spatula (yes it is the consistency of peanut butter!) and smoothed it over.  The loaf pan was popped inside a plastic bag and left at RT for just over 1hr to proof.

The oven was set at 160°C about 15 minutes prior to the loaf going in with a rack in the centre of the oven.  The loaf had formed a slight dome prior to going in the oven and was baked with steam for nearly 2 hours.  It had come away from the sides of the tin and didn't leave any wet dough on a skewer when poked.
I let the bread cool overnight before slicing it - this is recommended for high percentage rye breads.
The rye berries were a bit firm for my liking, almost a bit dry, but the bread had a really nice flavour.  As mentioned earlier in this post I don't know if the berries weren't right for the recipe or what, but next time I make this bread I think I'll use rye flakes (like coarse rolled oats) instead.

"Local Breads" - Spiced Rye Rolls (Vingchter)

A rainy day is a good day to make bread (although actually any day is a good day if I have to be completely honest!), because I don't feel guilty about spending the time indoors!  And the day I made these was especially awful!  I don't even think the dog got a walk.
The view outside!
These Vingchter are an Austrian roll seasoned with the alluring combination of ground fennel and cumin, that smell completely divine whilst proofing and especially during baking!  They aren't shaped but are left to fall into individual irregular rolls.  It is a wonderfully soft dark dough, but is sticky and wet to start so is best mixed by machine.

I fed my rye starter 15hrs prior to making my dough - 50g starter + 100g water + 75g rye flour - and let sit at room temperature fermenting.  Room temperature during this time was probably <18°C as  made them at the beginning of May.

Rye starter ready to roll
I made this dough using my stand mixer as recommended.  380g water + 100g starter + 1/2tsp yeast + 380g rye flour + 120g high gluten bread flour + 10g salt + 1/4tsp each of toasted and ground cumin and fennel seeds. 

The dough was kneaded in machine using dough hook on low (#2) for about 10mins, then was left to sit for 10mins, then mixed on medium (#3) for another 10mins.  You should be able to see some strands of gluten at this time even though the dough will still be sticky and won't clear the sides of the bowl.

The dough was then fermented for about 2 1/2hrs at room temperature in an oiled bowl.  After this time it was much less sticky and had almost doubled in volume.

I covered 2 baking sheets with baking paper and dusted them with some rye flour.  With oiled hands I scooped out palm-sized portions of dough (about 100g or so each) and let them "plop" onto the baking paper in free-form shapes with some breathing room between each.  The "plops" were sprinkled with rye flour and covered in plastic to proof.

After about 50mins the rolls had spread and looked nice and pillowy so into the oven they went (I had heated the oven to 230°C prior) with a rack near the top and one in the middle (no  baking stone) + 5 ice cubes for steam.  After about 10mins I switched the trays around and rotated them (I have a hot spot back left corner!), and baked them for a further 25mins.

I managed to wait until they were cool enough to handle before I ate one, and it was a wondrous thing!  Not only was the smell of them cooking enough to bring the neighbours out, but the taste was splendidly spiced and unctuous - just with a dribble of butter.  I have since eaten with cheeses, jams, marmalade, for lunch with soup, for breakfast, and for no reason at all!  They froze really well and were great popped in the microwave to heat up slightly!  YUM!

Sunday, 2 June 2013


= Soulful German Farmhouse Rye (Local Breads, Daniel Leader)

I made this bread back in March, in fact it was Easter weekend.  The weather was still very warm, I kind of got a bit carried away in the garden and forgot about my bread fermenting in the kitchen!  Being a delicate mostly rye dough, with not much wheat, I think I should have been paying a bit more attention to what was happening inside rather than my planting!

Toasting and grinding the spices for the loaf was wonderful, such a great aroma from the coriander, cumin, fennel and anise combo - YUM!  I think these spices go with sour rye doughs just perfectly, although they aren't always to everyone's taste.

When I turned the dough out of the banneton, I thought perhaps all was well as it looked just gorgeous, but then when I slashed it tic-tac-toe style as stated in the recipe, it collapsed so was clearly over proofed - stink.

Proofed loaf (in bannetton)

Baked loaf

Loaf crumb

The baked loaf, while not as high as I would have liked, had a lovely moist crumb and fabulous flavour.

I need to make this one again, getting everything just right!