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Friday, April 13, 2012

Some 30-70 rye breads for Easter

Some 30-70 rye breads

I mixed up two 30%-70% sourdough rye/wheat doughs in the Tartine style for this Easter holiday weekend.

1. Herbed Rye
The first couple of breads, I just tossed in an indeterminate amount of Italian herbs .  It was a mixture that we had kicking around in our cupboards -- sort of like an Herbs de Provence, but made with Italian herbs, unnamed -- although I bet Oregano is one of the unnamed herbs (I think I recognize the scent).

2. Beanwater Rye
The other dough made a couple of 30/70 rye breads whose only difference was that instead of herbs I used some left-over water from the second soaking of some dutch brown beans.  The water was tea-brown, and I got it from the refrigerator, so the water was ice-cold when I began to use it.  It would take the wild yeast a bit of time to wake up, at this temperature.  But the flour immediately felt different using this bean-water: it felt softer, but tighter.  Difficult to explain.  This bread would almost certainly turn out much different than the other, I figured.


I made these for the Easter weekend, which unfortunately I had to work (somebody had to, and I had the Christmas season off).  I figured I'd need some bread to carry me through this 3-day stretch while my family met around the table and ate their large meals without me.

My family even had to make the traditional Easter loaf without me.  It wasn't whole grain of course -- but they did a much better job of it than the one I made a couple of years ago.  That disaster made my 'top ten' list for awful loaves of 2010.  I had a slice of this year's loaf that they made, and it was good. 

But I'll stick to my sourdough, whole grain loaves, thank you very much.  It just fulfills me; I prefer it; it tastes better; I feel better after eating it; and my research tells me it is far healthier. 

I liked both of these 30/70 loaves.  There was a mild scent of the herbed bread, but it was more noticeable when you bit into it.  It tasted like a normal rye, the herbs just made it more interesting. 

I loved the dark slash on these loaves

Nice tight crumb

These breads made with water left over from soaking beans turned out nice and did not stale quickly

A bit holier than the other bread. 
Gee this is blurry.  Got to get a new camera.

The bread made with bean-water did not stale, it stayed moist a long long time.  I loved both of these loaves, which is obvious since I return to them again and again.

Notes to Myself
  • At Easter, when I bake bread, I'm singing the late Stan Roger's great song, The Mary Ellen Carter (a song about raising a valuable sunken ship against all odds and despite all naysayers):

    Rise again
    Rise again;
    Though your heart it be broken, or life about to end
    No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
    Like the Mary Ellen Carter, Rise Again!
  • Some nay-sayers will turn up their noses when you toss handfuls of dubious herbs into a bread.  Let them!  They don't have to eat it if they don't want to.  Their loss.
  • I sent one of the beanwater loaves home with my son when he left town after the long weekend.  Hopefully he will report that the loaf did not go completely stale before he could get through it, otherwise what I've written about it here will have to be amended.

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