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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Everyday Bread: 70 Percent Rye Sourdough Hearth Bread

70 Percent plus Rye Sourdough Hearth Bread

This is not exactly a 70 percent rye, with 30 percent whole wheat; it also includes a lot of rye in the sourdough starter.  I could figure out the ratio, but who cares?  I am using the same old recipe for the tinned loaves I've been making, the only difference here is that part of the flour I am working into the final dough is some whole wheat.

I start with the Rye Starter; this one is at about 70 percent hydration.  I consider that to be 92.7% of the total flour I will use, and after weighing the starter, I calculate the amount of flour to be 100%.  

Formula:  Assume the weight of your starter is n.  n X 100 / 92.7 = w, where w is the weight of the total flour.

In this case, my starter weighed 598g.  So:       59800 / 92.7 = 645g.

I wanted to have about 30% of this total flour weight to be whole wheat, the rest to be rye flour.  So if 645g is 100%, then 30% is going to be 194g, and the rye at 70% will be 452g.  Yes, I said I didn't care how much flour was in the starter today.

The water is supposed to be 85.4% of this total flour, but since the thing is too wet for a hearth loaf, I will try backing this off by 5 % next time, and each time hereafter until I get a consistency that actually holds together on a hot stone.

Here is the latest whole recipe in a nutshell:

  • Ingredients:
    • Rye Starter 92.7% (598g)
    • Flour 100% (645g; 452g was dark rye, 194g whole wheat)
    • Yeast 1% (4g)
    • Salt 2% (13g)
    • Water 85.4% (551g)
  • Method:
    • Mix all the ingredients together with your hands and shape to a basket-sized lump.  Place in a couche-lined basket that is liberally sprinkled with some multi-grain flour.
    • Let rise min 2 hours, max 6.  You are looking for some expansion, but not a doubling in size.
    • Dock dough, then turn it over onto a hot stone and Bake at 450 degrees F for 65 minutes with steam.

I was hoping that this dough would hold together more, and retain its height, but it sagged a lot.  Would cutting down on the hydration help?  Would kneading it help?  I very nearly tried putting it in a bread machine and letting it knead for a while.  But I decided against it, and just floured a couche in a basket and after letting it rest for about 2 1/2 hours, I docked it, turned it out onto a hot stone, and baked it for 65 minutes at 450 degrees F with a bit of steam in the beginning.

Bread and 2 Goldfish that we saved from the pond yesterday before it freezes

The crust of this dark rye loaf is very hard and difficult to cut: it should keep out anyone but the very determined. But those who, like myself, are very determined, will find that this bread is very tasty.  It does have a mild sourdough scent, but there is no sourness in the taste.  I ate some with a Gouda cheese the morning after baking it, and it was very nice without being toasted.  I also toasted some to see how it would hold up under those conditions, and it was fine.  There is a lot of wheat on the surface of the crust, left over from sitting in the couche, and I really should shake some off outside, as otherwise it gets all over the slices that I cut.

Although I like the way this loaf tastes, and even how the crumb looks, my big complaint is that this loaf, as so many others that I bake, has sagged rather than plumped in the oven.  This happens to all of these highly hydrated loaves when they are baked freeform, i.e., not in a tin or some other container.  If they would just retain their shape on a hot stone, I would be a happy home baker.

Notes to Myself
  • Try 80% hydration next time for a hearth loaf.  And if that is too saggy, next try 75%.  Then 70%.  Etc. until you find the right hydration.
  • Try kneading this in a bread machine for a cycle before putting it in the basket to rise.
  • Let it rise more than 2 hours, but less than 6.
  • Does the old rule apply when making a rye bread that is not 100% (i.e. let it sit until cracks form in the surface)?

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