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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Two Thanksgiving Breads : Rye, and Dilly-Chia WW

I was working nights over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and needed some bread to tide me over.  These loaves were made out of desperation, and I didn't give much attention to process, since I was away.

Excuses, excuses.

You might guess that I'm not at all proud of this first loaf.  It is only reported on here because virtually every other bread I've ever made since I started this blog is here too, the good, the bad and the ugly.  This is definitely one of the ugly.  It is here for 'completeness'.

#1: Rye Bread
I had a hankering for a 100% rye bread, but I forgot everything I ever thought I learned about rye and just made one.

I mixed up some sourdough starter with 1 tbsp of my whole wheat starter, and left it overnight with 200g each of rye flour and water.  In the morning it was expanded and softened -- but it may not have been at its optimal leavening ability.

Half of the starter was mixed with 1000g of rye flour and 670g of water.  I added the salt after a short autolyse, along with the rest of the starter.  I simply pressed this dough into pans.  Then I took off for about 12 hours.  I didn't see any rise at all to this -- it may have done so, and fallen back, I don't know.  The top seemed quite dried out when I returned home.


  • 1000g rye flour
  • 400g rye starter
  • 670g water
  • 20g salt


Some yogurt was placed on top of the dough just before placing it in the oven with steam.  I baked it for 10 minutes at 450 degrees F, then another full hour at 350 degrees F.  The final 10 minutes of that hour, the loaves were removed from the tin and placed directly on the oven's shelf.

Flat loaf, cake-like crumb, sour taste.  Edible, but not choice.  I ate one of these loaves anyway, over the long weekend.  And I gave thanks for it, but also gave thanks that it wasn't all I had to eat.

#2: Dilly Chia Whole Wheat Bread
This bread was also made while I worked nights, and slept days, over this Thanksgiving weekend.  Some of the ingredients are a bit strange, as are some of the ways I put it together -- a symptom of my sleeplessness.


  • 850g ww flour
  • 150g chia, ground
  • 65g wheat germ
  • 20g salt
  • 30g dillweed
  • 60g dillseed
  • 800g water
  • 200g ww sourdough starter @100% hydration

This dough smelled a bit like dill, but looked and felt a lot like mud.

Mistaken Method
I had the whole dough made, and kneaded for 5 minutes after adding the salt, prior to remembering the sourdough starter.  Adding it at the end, rather than incorporating it with the water as I usually do, changed the whole breadmaking process.  Adding the starter to already-salted flour, when the gluten structure had already mostly formed, did not allow the yeast and LAB to do their job properly.  This is a bad way to make bread, I thought.  But I persevered, because my bread-on-hand situation was pretty bad.  I only had a heel of a pumpkin loaf and some awful cake-like rye bread to get me through my weekend of work.

While I slept about 6 hours during the day, this dough bulk fermented.  Upon waking, I divided the dough, shaped it, and placed it in baskets.  Then 2 hours later, I baked it with steam on a stone.

Once baked, this bread smelled curiously like butter.  And I ate it with delight, even though I don't think that the bottom of the loaf was properly cooked all the way through (I should have preheated the stone a full 30 minutes, rather than 20 minutes, probably).

I liked this loaf, but my wife was flabbergasted.  "Why don't you just make a bread without all this extra spice and weird stuff in it?" she wanted to know.  "I want something that I can put jam on, and still taste the jam!"

So, next loaf is just going to be an ordinary whole wheat bread.  

Notes to Myself
  • How nice it is to know that I can bake bread at any time, even when utterly sleep deprived, and even when I've been neglecting my sourdough starter for a couple of days.  However, a better bread can always be made if I give it some attention, when I'm making it.
  • Why does this loaf with ground chia smell like butter when baked?  Or is it the dill that makes it smell this way?  Or the combination of ingredients?  I've looked at the list of oils and scents in chia and dill, and neither has anything that looks like the fats of butter.  So this remains a mystery to me.
  • Chia contains more alpha-Linolenic acid (Omega-3 oils) than flax (see wiki on ALA). Despite what is often reported -- i.e., that flax oil will quickly oxidize but chia doesn't -- I frankly don't believe it.

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