Nils' 60% Rye with Applejuice Soaked Rye Grains Revisited
I've made this bread before.
Nils Schöner's recipe and guidebook, "Brot" calls it a "60% Rye with Applejuice Soaked Rye Grains". The last time I made it, it was such a hit that my wife said that she thought even my mother-in-law would like it. And the last time I made it, I thought it might be a good idea to make 20% more dough so that it would better fit our North American pans. So what I did: I considered that Nils' recipe was 80% of what I needed, and I figured out a full 100% -- then I doubled it, to make a loaf for my wife's mom. So these are the values I used:
300g Rye Flour
25g Rye Starter
Rye Grain Soaker:
250g Rye Grains
-- Boiling Water (to cover)
-- Apple Juice (to cover) -- I used the juice we made with our Dampfensafter this year, a mixtures of apples, peaches and kiwi juices: a rather strange combo, but it is what we had available. It is a mild taste, not sharp like apple juice alone can be.
500g Warm Water
300g Rye Flour
400g AP Flour
25g Sea Salt
3g Instant Dried Yeast
The technique was the same as described previously. There was only a slight rise during the bulk fermentation. This time, I remembered to score the loaves before baking. There was a nice oven spring. The loaves came free of the buttered tins without trouble.
One of the loaves rose nicely, the other had slightly insufficient dough to climb over the tin. It reminds me of the first loaf -- more like a cake than a bread. I'm sure it will taste fine, and it should be the right size to put a slice of cheese on it. That is the one my mother-in-law gets.
We'll keep the loaf that rose a bit higher.
The loaf tastes good, but my wife wonders if perhaps the rye grains might be still a little bit hard for my mother-in-law to chew -- this, despite the fact that I boiled them for a full hour and soaked them for more than 24 hours in the juice. I love the chewy textures, and am pleased that the extra boiling didn't soften them too much. The crust is a bit crunchy though, and although I like the taste of it, my one complaint is that it doesn't slice evenly because of the fracture points on the surface. Overall, a good bread.
Update: My Mother-in-law liked the bread. She said that it reminded her of the "Kommissbrot" that the soldiers used to eat.
I misheard this, and thought she said that it was a "Komisch Brot", and I didn't particularly think that that was a rave review, because "Komisch" means funny, odd, curious, queer, unlikely, or strange. But it turns out that this loaf that I gave her was redolent of fond memories of a time forgotten.
She remembered that when she was a little girl, the soldiers of the Third Reich were given 1/3 of a loaf while they were out on maneuvers and couldn't make it back to the mess hall. Such loaves were, I suppose, commissioned by the army -- but the people could buy such loaves too, at the local bake shops. "I suppose that if Peblo were still alive, he could tell us the actual recipe." She was referring to a friend of the family who had recently died, a friend who was the baker in the small town where she grew up. That bakery had been in Peblo's family for generations, each father eking out a living and training his son, and this slow, steady employment worked even under the communist regime in East Germany. But when Peblo left it to his son shortly after the wall came down, Peblo's son expanded too quickly -- another store, several vans to transport loaves to retail outlets -- and he lost everything, including a long and deep tradition. The authentic loaves and the authentic bakers are a tradition that is being lost in this generation.
The great advantage of the "Kommissbrot" was that it was highly nutritious, but it also kept well. It didn't stale quickly, which meant that it would potentially last longer. "It did eventually get hard," she told us, "but then, it could be softened up and turned into a wonderful desert, with chocolate and whipped cream." She had fond memories of visiting some far-off family on a farm, and this desert was always a welcome end to a marvelous meal.
Notes to Myself
- Be mindful of the possibility of ergot poisoning. My bag of rye needs to be closely watched for rye kernels that are blackened by ergot fungus.
Recently I read an interesting book "Your Brain on Food" by Gary L. Wenk. There are a couple of interesting paragraphs on ergot:
A naturally occurring version of LSD is D-Lysergic acid monoethylamide. It is slightly less fat-soluble (one less ethyl group) than LSD, but it too can produce hallucinations. Claviceps purpurea, the ergot fungus that produces this compound, also generates a toxin that mimics the action of serotonin, particularly its ability to constrict blood vessels. Consumption of bread made from grain or corn that is contaminated with this fungus causes a burning in the extremities resulting from extreme constriction of blood vessels and leads to limb death. One outbreak of ergotism, as this condition came to be known, may have caused the death of nearly 40,000 people in Europe in 944 CE; at that time, it was called ignis sacer, or “Saint Anthony’s holy fire,” after the monks of the Order of St. Anthony. Consumption of ergot-contaminated grains may also have been responsible for a number of mystical experiences in the past, including the ancient Greek ceremonies known as the Eleusinian Mysteries.Occasionally I find the odd black rye kernel in the mix, and take it out. It may not be ergot, but who wants to take the chance? I prefer my highs with the gentler method of exorphins; I am rather fond of my extremeties.