Nils's 60/40: episode 1
(using a 50:50 mixture of Whole Wheat and Canadian All Purpose Wheat Flours)
This bread is what Reinhart and the French call a Siegle, that is, a rye bread made with more than 50% rye flour.
Probably Germans would call it a Roggenmischbrot, or rye-wheat bread. But rye is so common in German breads, it probably is simply a given, and doesn't need to be named so explicitly. Nils calls it his "60/40", and that is enough for everyone to know what he is talking about, 60% rye, 40% wheat.
Originally I wanted to make two loaves, one with completely all-purpose flour, and one with completely whole wheat flour, to see what the difference might be. When I was making up some sourdough starter for these two loaves, it occurred to me that I should also make a loaf with a mixture of these flours, too.
But rather than make another sourdough starter to test that idea tomorrow, I decided I'd bake that mixed loaf immediately, with some of the 100% hydration starter I had on hand. I had to refresh it today anyway, so I might as well use up the left-overs.
Rye Sourdough, Rye Flour, WWflour, AP flour
Mis en place (except for the water)
The wheat flour that I used for this recipe, then, is a 50:50 mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flours from the nearby Arva Flour Mill. Both of these are made from hard red spring wheat, so they will have slightly more gluten than the flour that Nils is using. I'm convinced that our rye is different somehow too.
The recipe is very easy. Once you have the sourdough on hand, the trickiest part is getting the water temperature right. And that is where I ran into a bit of a head-scratcher.
The importance of the ambient temperature of the flour (yes, I meant flour, not dough) first came to my attention when I made Myrtle Allen's Brown Bread. In that recipe, the flour is placed in a gently warming oven. And it makes a substantial difference when you go to mix up the dough.
Nils' "Appendix on Temperature" talks about the ambient temperature of your flour, and he gives a simple formula for calculating how hot your water should be to achieve a certain temperature of dough for your specific ingredients. But the appendix suggestions don't actually gibe with that given in this recipe for Nils's 60/40. Based on the recipe, it seems that we are aiming for a 26 degree C dough (thus, the 'magic number' of 52); but the appendix on temperature says that for a bread containing >50% rye, we should be aiming for a dough of between 27 and 30 degrees C. So our 'magic number' should be between 54 and 60, not 52 as Nils gives it, or so I thought.
I wondered if Nils offered the lower number because half of Nils' rye flour is in the sourdough starter. That rye flour is already mixed up: in other words, we can forget about it. The rye flour we are now mixing up is in the ratio of 47:53 percent with the wheat flour. This means our target is the 'Moderately Warm Dough', and our 'magic number' would be in the range of 50-54. And of course, it is.
What I ended up doing was aiming for the 26 degree temperature, but not worrying too much if I was a little bit hotter by a degree or two, based on my cheap analog thermometer.
Analog: Temperature of the flour, temperature of the water
But the colder sourdough throws off the careful calculations
It was only when I mixed up the warm water with the flour that I realized all my calculations were going to be off anyway, because my sourdough starter was only one hour out of the refrigerator, and so that was going to bring down the temperature of the dough as well. So, from high ideals to the reality of baking, I goofed. I should have waited at least another hour so my sourdough starter came to room temperature. My dough was probably too cold, after all.
Turn, turn, turn
Other changes I made: I used kosher salt, and not sea salt. I used 1 g of dried yeast instead of fresh yeast.
Comb-over for balding bread dough
And I wasn't quite sure what Nils meant when he says "give a turn", after the first 45 minute rest. I decided to pour the loaf out on the counter and use my pastry cutter to do a single 4-fold envelope style bending. I suspect that this is where Nils uses his unique 'fork' technique (but as far as I know, he hasn't yet shown us how this is done, with pictures. I can hardly wait.)
The fold that I did isn't a stirring or a kneading, but more like a mere 'comb-over' for a balding bread dough. Then I put it back into the container for the second 45 minutes. If I was supposed to merely turn it over, this was a mistake, but I was hoping that the final proofing might fix any mistake I might be making.
I don't have the proper banneton, but I did recently buy a nice little somewhat oblong whicker basket at the local second-hand store for 25 cents. I even spent an afternoon trying to make a dedicated couche lining for it, but the experiment in sewing was unsuccessful. My wife has said she will make one for me, for her it is child's play. But she just doesn't have time right now.
Improvised Banneton, manhandling of dough
In the meantime, I just line it with one of my bread linens, and take whatever folds there are in the cloth as a texture in my final crust.
Maybe some family member who reads my blog will get me an authentic banneton for these rye breads for the upcoming holidays, hint hint. I don't have one yet because they are not that easy to find. If one bought it through the internet, the shipping would be the most expensive part.
I liberally coated the couche with a light rye flour (something I have very little use for, otherwise: I think I have gone through four bags of dark rye since the time I bought this bag of light rye).
I think I overly manhandled the rye dough, in getting it into a more-or-less oblong shape. I used wet hands, but by the time I was done tucking it under and gently elongating the boule I was making, the dough was beginning to stick to my hands anyway. I sprinkled a bit of light rye flour on the top of the loaf, too, prior to covering it for the proof.
Into the Oven
The dough came out of this basket after an hour a little misshapen, and I think it could have proofed a bit more. But I was afraid the structure of the loaf would begin to suffer.
Scored loaf just before the bake
I upended the basket onto a pizza peel liberally coated with light rye flour, scored the loaf and put it in the oven. With 40% wheat flour, the loaf does have gluten. The scoring revealed that there is some structure to the dough.
The liberally sprinkled rye flour, once it hit the hot stone, began to set off the fire alarm.
Best Use for a Pizza Peel
I have discovered the best use for a pizza peel is fanning cool air at a smoke alarm that is going off while your bread is in the oven.
Best use for a Pizza Peel
This bread smells great while baking.
I didn't get much oven spring, and I think this is a combination of using the wrong basket and under-proofing (the under-proofing could be a result of using a too-cold dough, i.e. sourdough starter that was too soon out of the refrigerator). My scar looks quite a bit different than Nils' picture. This is a result of the different texture of the flours, no doubt. But it might also have to do with the amount of yeast I've used. He is trying to minimize the amount to 0.5%, but because I am using Instant Dry Yeast, I may have put in a bit too much. If I scale the recipe up, but leave the yeast the same amount, perhaps my seam will look a bit nicer.
The scarred rye loaf looks like a salamander walking across the bread
This is a tiny loaf. I think that I would like to scale the ingredients by another half -- that is, if I can get a slightly larger basket to proof my dough.
I tasted one small piece of rye without toasting, and was thrilled at the taste. The crust is crunchy yet I think people will not break a tooth on it; the crumb is full of the wonderful flavours of rye and whole wheat, and when you chew it, you know you are eating something of substance. My wife will not like the amount of flour that I used on the exterior of the loaf during the final rise, but she can brush that off. And I think she will approve of the overall taste, which can hold up to different flavours that she will put on it -- her jam and her cheese.
Breakfast for me was three slices of toasted rye bread, buttered. The two smaller slices are accompanied by some recently home-made carrot cake jam (a sweet jam first shared by Michelle of the blog 'Big Black Dog' -- a jam with the texture but no bitter overtones of marmalade). The third slice had a couple of tiny slabs of Mecklenburg Tilsiter Cheese.
This is wonderful tasting rye bread. Have I accidentally hit upon the right combination and amount of Canadian wheat flour to make these German breads?
However, I would really like to not use any all purpose flour; and I would really like this bread to 'sit up' more, i.e., retain its structure during baking, and not spread out so much. The rapid high-heat initial baking has helped, but the banneton I used doesn't provide the right shape to begin with. I can still play with all these details. I'm very curious to see what tomorrow's bake-off will tell me about these loaves.
Tomorrow: The 60/40 loaf bake-off, one with whole wheat, one with all-purpose flour.
Notes to Myself
- Make sure your sourdough is at room temperature before starting: I would say more than 2 hours out of the refrigerator is needed to warm it up.
- Get a decent banneton, or get a dedicated couche for this one.
- Look for a slightly larger oblong basket, and scale this recipe by 1 1/2 times
- Pay close attention to the temperature of the water.
- Try aiming for a slightly warmer dough than Nils gives in his recipe: try aiming for the temperature of the dough as given in his Appendix on Temperature (i.e. use a 'magic number' of 54-60 minus your ambient flour temperature).
- Try this recipe again, but with a more recently refreshed 100% hydrated sourdough starter.
- Use slightly less Instant Dry Yeast than 1/8th tsp = 1 g for Nils' actual recipe, to see if that stops the scoring seam from blowing too far outwards.
- This is a tiny loaf, good for one person for 3-4 days; for two people, try these amounts, the next time you try this recipe (assuming my wife likes this loaf with some jam). Here I've just scaled Nils' recipe x 1 1/2:
|Ingredient||%||weight in grams|
|Rye Sourdough |
30% of total flour,
30% of total water
|Dark Rye Flour||30%|| |
|Wheat Flour|| |
|Warm Water||45% |
(with starter hydration,
total dough hydration is 75%)