All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reinhart's Potato Onion Rye Meteil

Reinhart's Potato Onion Rye Meteil

I certainly don't need another rye loaf.  There are currently 4 of them on the counter that I am busily eating.

But there were potatoes for dinner last night, and leftover potatoes and potato water saved.  There is Rosemary and onions growing in the garden, ripe for the picking.  Rye bread keeps well, so they say.  The timing was perfect.  Why not carve another notch in my belt (or should I release another notch on my belt, as I go through the carbs?), as I tick off another loaf on the list of Reinhart breads?  Why not bake the Potato Onion Rye Meteil, since I've been playing with meteil loaves so much recently?  I can't think of any good reason why not.

DAY 1:

I made up the soaker and the starter at the same time; the soaker was refrigerated right away; the starter sat out for 8 hours, and then was also refrigerated.  I planned to bake the following day, at about the 30 hour mark.  It turned out to be more like 36 hours.

Soaker: uses Potato Water

The Starter uses a Whole Wheat Motherstarter: it is a bit gooey but comes together well.

The Starter sits out for 6 hours, and becomes the consistency of meringue.  I degas it and put it away in the refrigerator.

The Starter before it rises...

...and just before refrigeration.

DAY 2:

I had a few troubles when I set out to gather the ingredients for the final dough.  I had set aside some potatoes, but I hadn't weighed them, so I didn't have quite enough.  In his commentary, Reinhart says that you might have some leftover potatoes but you might not have the potato water, so he gives a work-around for that.  Well, I had the potato water, and I had the potatoes, but I didn't have quite enough.  I remembered that my mom used to add some milk and butter to the potatoes when she was mashing them, to 'extend' them, if company was coming.  I had some milk ready to add, to bring the weight of the ingredients up, but before adding it I wanted to make sure that the hydration wouldn't be affected too much.  Turns out, I felt that I didn't require it, so I didn't add it.

That's how much Rosemary you need

You need more potatoes than that!

My onion was a bit small, too: only 64g.  I tossed in the greens of the onion as well, but that was only another 16g.  The potato was 90g low, and the onions were 33g low in weight.  I could add the extra weight in flour, but I decided to just go with what I had.  I had the milk ready, but I added nothing to make up for the loss of 123g.

The ingredients.  Didn't use the milk.  That's a lot of Caraway!

The rosemary smells wonderful when you are tearing it apart to put in this dough.  The fresh onion also has a lovely scent that makes you weep with joy. Or it may be the enzymes acting on the sulfoxides.

Speaking of enzymes: I've been researching/thinking a lot about which enzymes are in the flour, which get activated by Reinhart's  delayed fermentation methodology, and which ones get added due to ingredients.  Here we see onions being added that are chock full of enzymes.  The evidence will make you cry: allinase and lachrymatory factor synthase tear apart the sulfoxides in onions when they are cut, and we get this gas released to the air that irritates the eye and makes us tear up.  Onions have lots of other enzymes and affect the pH of the dough.

As far as other ingredients or additives that one could add to the dough to increase the enzyme activity, I have been on the lookout for some diastatic malt, which I would like to try adding to some of the simpler loaves I've been making, to see if I can persuade them to approach Reinhart's loaves in taste.  This is an extension of the experiment I performed the other day (the simpler Meteil), to see if it really was the enzymes that made Reinhart's loaves so sweet, or if it was merely the enrichment (honey, molasses, etc.).  So far, I haven't been able to obtain any diastatic malt.  All of the winemaking places near me seem to have closed up shop or moved.

Back to the task at hand: I mixed up the final dough and kneaded it.

I didn't add any extra milk

This dough kneads quite easily by one hand method.  Cutter not required.

After one hour, the dough has not expanded to 1 1/2 x the size, but it has expanded a bit.

Nevertheless, I turn it out on the floured counter and divide it as per the instructions.

The dough relaxes a bit, more than it rises

I was originally going to make one big boule, but opted instead to follow the recipe and divide the dough into 2.  At which point I decided to make some smaller batards, so they would fit better on my (recently cracked) baking stone.  I don't think that this dough is really tight enough to see any further rise or oven spring.  It is more like working with soft spam or meatloaf consistency than with dough.

I scored the loaves.  

Remembered this time.  And I did a pretty good job of it too.  Learned recently on the 'bread heads' forum that a very quick serrated knife, not vertical but instead fairly shallow, would score better and wouldn't drag the gluten.  But frankly, I didn't think it would make much difference: this dough wouldn't get any oven spring.  But it baked okay; perhaps I ought to be baking these loaves another 5 minutes, I don't know.  When I pick them up to move them, they seem very fragile.  But then, that is when they are still warm.

The Potato Onion Rye Meteil Bread is set out to cool overnight

The next morning, my wife "encouraged me" to freeze these two breads, so no crumb shots of them...for now.  They still feel somewhat fragile to me, as I place them in a bag to freeze them.  They smell great, even this morning.  Onions predominate in the scent.

All of these Reinhart Sandwich Breads have a very delicate, very moist crumb.  The Seigle (which I am still eating, a slice or two each day) is particularly crumbly around the top score mark.  It might be a symptom of an oven being not quite hot enough, or a loaf not baked long enough.  Perhaps this is what Reinhart's sandwich loaves are supposed to be like though, who knows?  I think I prefer a bread that hangs together a little better, though.  The taste may be superior, but if it falls apart as you lift it to your mouth, what good is it?  I am still awaiting the baking of the hearth breads.  But I am not yet half way through baking these enriched breads.

I thought this bread tasted okay, but it was nothing special.  My wife, however, did not like it one bit.  I ended up eating one loaf all by myself, and the second loaf got neglected, although both were pulled from the refrigerator at the same time.  Before I could get to it (I was experimenting and eating a lot of other fine loaves, of course), there was a bit of mold forming on it.  My wife tossed it. The crumb shot is from our camping trip.

It seems unlikely at this point that I'll ever make this particular loaf ever again.

Notes to Myself:
  • Consider that there may be times when your dough will not expand to 1 1/2 times the original size in the prescribed time (45-60 minutes).  (Why didn't it?  It had yeast, in addition to my wild yeast starter.)  Consider waiting for the dough, instead of slavishly following a schedule.  Even if it is midnite and you are exhausted.
  • Weigh your potatoes before you have to use them, to make sure that there is enough.  If there isn't enough potatoes, what other starchy thing might you use in its place?  Consider flour: and it doesn't necessarily have to be either the rye or whole wheat flour that the bread already has.  Why not oat flour, or rice flour, or spelt?
  • With 2 cracked stones, I have stacked one on top of the next, with the cracks going in different directions.  Perhaps with this method, you won't need to get a new baking stone right away.


  1. I am not a big fan of this recipe. I only made it twice and decided that it wasn't a very good one to begin with. The taste was on the awful side. Yeah, that bad. Oh well. You make really beautiful looking breads, by the way.

  2. Yeah, I have to agree that this Reinhart recipe is not a keeper. After you bake a few different breads, you get to know intuitively whether a new recipe has some possibilities. This one doesn't.

    I have been accused by some family members who occasionally read my blog that I never stick with any recipe long enough to perfect it. That is not always true, though. With Wolter & Teubner's Wheat Germ Bread, for example, I loved the taste of the bread long before I could make it properly. Unlike that bread, there would be no point in making this Reinhart recipe 6 times. In fact, I'm surprised you made it twice.

    Thanks for the compliment, but if you want to see some of the best bread pictures ever, take a look at Shiao Ping's blog at The Fresh Loaf. She seems to have reached a plateau in her blogging and baking, but I consider her breads and writing on bread to be the very best I have ever seen. She does not, however, strive for whole grains because she doesn't like the taste.

  3. Hi! I am anonymous, btw. Shiao Ping does make beautiful breads. I don't have fancy tools or bread cloches but I think I'll survive. Health comes first to me, then comes taste and lastly, aesthetics. Anyway, when I attempted to make this potato bread for the second time, I knew I was in trouble. But I really wanted to give Reinhart a chance. I adore him!

  4. I searched for Reinhart's 100% sprouted grain bread on your blog and see that you have not attempted that yet. Right? I am doing it right now. Thought I get some ideas. I'll let you know how mine turned out. Wish me luck. I am also in the middle of making the transitional country hearth bread - everybody loves this bread, of course!