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REC: Sourdough Rye Bread. Thank you, Steve2, for steering me in this direction...

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #10632 at 5:05 pm on May 11, 2008

I was disappointed with my attempts at whole wheat sourdough bread and Steve suggested I try rye. I found this very detailed recipe online, and had great results. I've edited it severely; the link is to the original. My rises took longer than stated, so concentrate instead on the volume.

European (sourdough) Jewish Rye Bread
From Utah Hillel

This recipe will not work with commercial yeast. It requires a starter (flour and water with natural yeast). To make your own, see the instructions in Nancy Silverton, Breads from the La Brea Bread Bakery. This recipe is descended from recipes in the Nancy Silverton book.

Special Equipment:
KitchenAid mixer or equivalent, with dough hook
Food scale.
Pizza stone.
Bread or pizza peel.
Razor blade

9 1/2 oz. starter, about the consistency of pancake batter or somewhat thinner, that was fed and brought to room temperature at least 4 hours earlier.
l lb. 10 oz. flour.
Use about 1 cup rye flour and the balance unbleached bread flour
14 oz. water, plus a little more if needed.
Use enough water to make a sticky dough that sticks to the bottom of the mixing bowl slightly but does not break apart after 4-5 minutes of kneading. Stickier doughs will produce more and more irregular air bubbles; doughs with less water will produce a more even and less interesting bread. I usually aim for as sticky a dough as I can handle without making a huge mess, unless I am aiming for a very high rise. Very small changes in the amount of water make large differences; be careful!
About 1 Tbs. olive oil.
1 Tbs. salt.
about 1-2 Tbs. caraway seeds (optional).


I. Mix (35-40 minutes)
Measure 9 1/2 oz. starter, 1 lb. 10 oz. flour and 13 oz. water into mixer bowl.
Mix, using dough hook, at lowest speed, for 5 minutes. Dough should be stickier than a bread machine dough -- it should stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl slightly.
Push dough off hook, cover bowl with towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.
Add salt, and, if desired, 1 Tbs. seeds. (Salt inhibits yeast, so we add it late to give the yeast a chance to get started growing. Don't forget the salt, though, or your bread will be tasteless. )
Mix, using dough hook, at lowest speed, for 4 minutes.
Mix, using dough hook, at next speed up, for 4 minutes.
(If you forgot to add the salt, add it now and mix for 4 minutes.)

II. First Rise (about 3-1/2 hours)
Oil a mixing bowl, by pouring about 1 Tbs oil in and spreading it over the entire bowl.
A steep sided glass or ceramic bowl about two or three times the size of your dough works best. Turn the dough into the bowl. Shape into a ball and press folds to seal. Reverse dough ball so that oiled surface is up and sealed folds are down.
Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise away from drafts 3 hours 20 minutes or until at least doubled.
Alternatively: refrigerate for up to 24 hours, and then allow to rise 4 hours 20 minutes.

III. Punch, Shape and Second Rise (20 minutes plus 1 hour 20 minutes)
Turn dough out onto unfloured dry wooden board.
Knock down, by throwing it against the board a few times.
Cover with a towel and allow to rest 15 minutes.
Shape bread into a boule and increase surface tension by rotating dough on board and pushing slightly down and under. It should stick very slightly to the board but not enough to separate. (To shape bread into a sandwich loaf or baguette, first flatten it into a disk, then roll it up.)
Place on a well-floured kitchen towel on a board, seam-side-up, and cover with another well-floured towel. Allow to rise until at least doubled, 1 hour 20 minutes
Alternatively: refrigerate for up to 24 hours, and then allow to rise 2 hours and 20 minutes. Preheat oven during this time (see below).

IV. Bake
Preheat oven for one hour at 500 degrees F. with pizza stone. If your oven is gas, place an iron skillet on the floor of the oven as it heats to create steam. Have one cup of water ready.
Dust peel wth cornmeal.
Reverse dough onto peel and shake a little to loosen it.
Slash dough with a razor and sprinkle with seeds if desired.
Slide dough into oven. Throw the water into the hot frying pan, or if your oven is electric, onto the sides of the oven.
Reduce heat to 450 degrees.
Bake 45 minutes. Don't open the oven during this time.
A finished bread will be dark mahagony in color--darker and richer tasting than a commercial bread.
Allow to cool on a rack. Listen for crackling sounds and admire the fine network of cracks before eating.


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