Yet. Another. Rye.

January 17, 2010

I think that this is going to be my year to go all out with the whole grains.

I like white bread. Love it even. however, when I’m looking for toast in the morning, it isn’t white bread I turn to. Multigrain, rye, whole wheat…this is what my nightly dreams are made of. 100% whole grain? Sometimes, but usually even just a hint of whole rye or whole wheat in a bread will give it a good enough flavor to be deserving of a name other than plain.

This is one such bread.

Behold the 10% Rye Sourdough.

This is a simple, extremely basic loaf of bread. Your ingredients are starter, white bread flour, whole rye flour, water, and salt. It stays good for more than a couple days due to both the rye and the sourdough if kept in an airtight container. An extra long fermentation period, but not too long, and the addition of the rye flour give the loaf a pleasant, subtle tang, but nothing a person who doesn’t love sourdough bread would detect.

And the crumb…

Perfect for sandwiches. Not completely uniform, but your mustard isn’t going to slip out of these holes…much.

If you want a slightly higher loaf, add a bit of gluten flour in place of the white flour in the formula. It’s slightly wet at 68%, so it would benefit from stretching and folding after the all-night ferment. If I hadn’t shaped a round loaf (and scored a bit too long) I think I would’ve achieved something that could be a little higher…but this is just fine for my sandwiches.

Basic Sourdough Rye
My own recipe

175g 75% hydration starter
350g bread flour
50g whole rye flour
14g salt
265g water

Dissolve your starter in the water. Mix together the bread flour, rye flour, and salt. Add to the starter/water. Mix until you form a shaggy mass.

If using a stand mixer: I like to give it about 4 minutes, turn off the machine and let the dough rest for 10 or 15 minutes, then 3-4 more minutes to make sure of good gluten development.

If using the stretch/fold method: I don’t think I’ve really explained how this method works on the blog, but it’s explained elsewhere. For those of you who don’t understand the method, this is how it goes.

After the dough has had a 20 or so minute rest, take the edge of the bowl in one hand and use the other hand, with a bowl scraper or not, to gently fold the dough in on itself while turning the bowl. I hold the bowl with my left hand and use my right to fold. I move the bowl in a clockwise motion, slowly, while stretching small amounts of the dough into the middle of the larger mass. I do this as much as the dough can actually stand; you don’t want to see gluten strands breaking. That’s generally 20-25 times. You want a 20 minute rest between each of these little sessions, and I generally do about 3 of them. Then I do a letter fold twice during the fermentation time: take the dough out of the bowl, flatten it a bit on the counter, and fold in thirds like a letter from left to right and from top to bottom. This will give the dough even more strength.

Once your dough has finished the initial first ferment (mine rises about 2x the original size in about 4 hours), punch it down and do one more. If you’ve used the mixer method, I suggest at least one letter fold here to strengthen your dough. Allow to double in size again.

Shape your dough to proof. About 30 minutes before fully proofed, if using a baking stone, or about 15 minutes if not, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. When your oven is ready, slash your loaf as you choose and slide it carefully into the oven, whether on parchment, a cookie sheet, or just using semolina on a peel. Bake until a thermometer registers at least 200 degrees. My one large boule baked for about 35 minutes.

Makes 1 large boule or batard, 2 medium sized boules or batards, and about 3 smallish baguettes.

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Today’s first: bagels. Sourdough bagels. With no added yeast. My first try with bagels, I decide to try a formula that I’ve come up with off the top of my head. Yes, I’ve read enough to know the very basics of what makes a good bagel, but, as you can see…

Had I kept them on a parchment sheet, they would’ve been fine…but I didn’t. I wanted to bake them on the stone. Without semolina. Without parchment. Plain bagels.

They stuck.

Four of the six at least look edible, but the other two were beyond help. This was really my second error. My first was letting them come to room temperature.

The one thing I did right, though: the taste is almost spot on. It’s exactly what you want a bagel to be like. While I plan on getting some malt powder to compare, I really don’t know if I’ll use it. The brown sugar seems to do a great job of getting color on them and the little bit in the dough is not really even noticeable, but seems to give the bagels a depth of flavor that a straight flour/yeast/salt/water dough wouldn’t have.

I plan on trying this exact formula again side by side with a less hydrated dough and see what happens. I also plan to boil right out of the fridge.

One other tidbit of information: if you don’t have a stronger mixer such as an Electrolux DLX or commercial-style stand mixer, just knead by hand. I have a KitchenAid Pro and my bowl liked to pop off the tab in back that holds it down on the mixer. I may look for a solution to that problem, but for now I plan on doing bagel doughs by hand. A KitchenAid without the bowl lift is going to be destroyed by this dough.

The formula, in case anyone wants a puffier, breadier bagel:

Sourdough Bagels (Bread-like)
Adapted from various sources

175g 75% hydration starter
375g bread flour
25g gluten flour
20g brown sugar
14g salt
200g water

Mix until you can’t mix anymore and then turn the dough out on a flat surface. Knead in all the flour, and then knead for at least 10-15 minutes. Your dough should feel just the slightest bit tacky, and not sticky at all. It should also be smooth, and all the flour should be incorporated into the dough.

Ferment until about 1.5 times original size. Took about 3 hours for me.

Divide your dough into your desired amount of bagels. I made 6. Shape bagels. I used the poke and stretch method. Put on a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, remove the bagels from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and put a large pot of water on to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the water. Drop bagels in the boiling water in groups of 3 or 4, giving about 30 seconds on each side. Drain well and place on parchment.

Bake on a stone or baking sheet for 20 or so minutes, until the bagels are golden brown and delicious.

Makes 6 good-sized or 12 mini bagels.