Back for a visit with Rye
It's been a long time since I've participated in TFL. It seems that baking for a living has become nearly all-consuming, and while I lurk around here looking at the wonderful breads being baked, I haven't had the time or inclination to even comment on what I see.
Back in April our bakery, located in a restaurant on the Georgetown waterfront in Washington, DC ,was flooded when the Potomac River overtopped a levee that had (for reasons no one has yet explained) been only partially raised. The results were devastating: our restaurant and two others were destroyed. At the time we were supplying bread for our restaurant, a sister restaurant and one of the restaurants on the waterfront that was flooded. We were working with close to 700 lbs of dough a day when the disaster struck.
In the aftermath, our sister restaurant - Founding Farmers - was forced to purchase nearly all their breads for several months. The exception was the production of English muffins, which a couple of us did from midnight until 6am each morning in the cramped kitchen at Founding Farmers which was simultaneously being cleaned and awash in water and suds. It was an unpleasant couple months, but we were lucky to still have jobs, so that trumped our discomfort.
Eventually we were able to lease space at a commercial cake bakery while a new bakery is constructed for us. Life has returned to normal - I now begin my day at 4am (bankers hours by bakers' standards), and we work in a well-equipped kitchen with a 4 deck hearth oven and double stack of convection ovens. Below is a rack of freshly baked ciabatta awaiting delivery to Founding Farmers.
During this time I've continued my own baking adventures at home, mainly involving pain au levain, ryes and a memorable fougasse consumed on the lawn at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts while listening to kd lang.
But lately, I've focused more on ryes, and last week I returned to a favorite of mine: a 72% rye with a rye soaker and seeds. It's a 100% hydration dough, due to the seeds (in this case, equal weights of sesame and sunflower), which means that you pretty much pour the dough/batter into pans. There is no shaping or bench resting with this dough.
Below is the formula I constructed. This produces 3 x 1.5# loaves.
I mix the dough for about 10 minutes on speed 1. What makes this dough particularly interesting, I think, is that there is no water in the final mix: All the water is used in the levain and the rye soaker.
This dough has a short fermentation period and only slightly longer proof before it is baked. I fermented it for 35 minutes, and then poured it into the pans, where it proofed for 55 minutes. I docked the tops of the loaves using a fork.
They went into a pre-steamed oven at 475 ° F oven. After 15 minutes I reduced the temperature by 25 °, and continued to do so until the loaves had baked for 75 minutes (so the final bake temp was 375 ° ).
Loaves were cooled on wire racks, and once cooled wrapped in linen for 48 hours before I cut into them.
I'm quite happy with the result. The crumb has a nice openness for a high percentage rye, and the combination of the seeds enhances the flavor - especially if the bread is lightly toasted.
Still being a goat cheese aficiando, I enjoy it with this tasty rye in the afternoon - often with a nice glass of rye whiskey!
Good to hear from you Larry, I understand the lurking of TFL due to the restraints of working at a bakery. I am happy to hear you are doing fine and the baking is continuing on regardless of all that has happened!
As for the 4 a.m., come on now Larry, I've been at it for a few hours ;) That's sleeping in! Haha!
All kidding aside, the rye looks delightful. The crumb shot is what sold me though. Then when you added the goat cheese, it just took it over the top. I too am a fan of some nice spreadable goat cheese and have often thought of it to be the perfect treat for hearty rye bread.
A final note, I noticed the sprinkling to the tops of your loaves. It is a great method, I do it as well for higher percentage ryes. I believe I picked it up from the Culinary Institute or some other school's textbook. Do you typically treat your ryes that way?
Hi Arlo- Yeah, you have me pegged pretty well. But I pay at the end of the day when I have to do the costing, spreadsheets, projections, etc.
I'm glad you liked the crumb shot - I think it's a pretty open bread for its rye concentration. I think I probably caught my rye levain at its peak, something that's hit or miss for me.
The sprinkling of rye flour on the tops of the proofing loaves I learned from Hamelman. For my high percentage ryes I do that, but for anything under 40% I typically treat the loaf like any other.
Thanks for your comment!
first of all it is so good to have you posting back on TFL....and to see your lovely rye breads too.
You seem to be having challenging times at work; join the club! I will be working back in Leeds next academic year, which involves extensive travelling and having to stay away from home 2 nights of each week.
I love the open crumb you have achieved. I wonder if you had given any thought to including the seeds, maybe the salt too, in the soaker? You would then only be adding your high gluten flour to the final dough!
Enjoy your new bakery, Larry!
Very best wishes
I've missed our conversations, but just too done in to converse. Best of luck in the coming year - that sounds like a challenging schedule....and then there's the two nights away from home. I don't envy that.
I had not thought of including the seeds in the soaker, but you've set me off to try it! I add all my salt into the rye soaker as a precaution against an amylase attack. But my curiosity is now piqued by what impact adding the seeds to the soaker might have.
I will try this next bake and let you know the results.
As always, best to you,
to see what you are baking and doing. The crumb of your bread is amazing and undoubtedly would be a huge challenge to get something close to it. -Varda
I'd love to take the credit, but I think the secret to the crumb is 1) the very high hydration of the dough, and 2) catching the rye levain at its peak when it's really active. If you like ryes I'd encourage you to try this one. There's very little mixing, no folding, no shaping. It's like working with a pudding.
Best - Larry
Glad to hear you are doing well after the floods. Your loaves are beautiful. The crumb with seeds looks very tasty and nicely written formula too! Keep up the good work. I wish the very best for you.
It's good to hear from you! I've been lurking here, and among other things watching your adventures with your wfo. Especially the latest dessert one.! You really get the most out of that oven and I suspect if you ever got a notion to give some classes on cooking on one you'd have no trouble attracting students.
Best - Larry
The openness of the crumb of your bread is really challenging for any rye baker. Great bread, Larry.
If memory serves me, you've made some challenging ryes. I think this one really is pretty easy if the conditions are good.
That's really lovely open crumb for rye bread! Thank you for sharing, Larry. :)
Very best wishes and even brighter and successful business in the new premises,
For the comment and the good wishes.
Love that crumb. I can imagine how sweet and grainy the flavour is. Mm-HMM.
Good on you for throwing yourself wholeheartedly into your baking. In my experience, so few truly commit to what they really want to do. I'll bet it's a good sort of tired.
It's a good tired, but I'd like it if I wasn't too weary to spend more time on TFL. I get great ideas from this wonderful forum, and it's fun to see what imaginative things people cook up (ok, bake up) with respect to bread.
Best - Larry
Glad to hear you are well, all things considered. I'm making a batch of your cheese bread today with added hot peppers and a little fresh whole wheat. Love that recipe.
Really, so glad to hear you have survived the summer after all that has happened in the area. You are a trooper.
Eric - Wow, I'd never thought of adding hot peppers to my cheese bread, until I just read your post. That is something I will definitely try! Oh that must be a nice kick to the cheesiness.
Thanks for the comment - and for sharing that great idea!
Best - Larry
And good to see your beautiful results, as always. You've been missed. Best of luck in your professional circumstances.
ps: I still have your panned cheese bread high on my list.
I'm glad my cheese bread has been such a hit! BTW- I loved the fougasse you posted a couple months back. I really love making them and boy do they draw attention if you happen to be out in public eating one.
What a beautiful rye bread and this formula of yours looks like it makes really good bread - thank you for sharing!
I am sorry to hear of the flood and its effect on your restaurant, and hope things can be rebuilt/back to normal soon.
My thoughts are with all of you on the East Coast, who have been through so much weather-wise this year.
:^) from breadsong
Larry, what Wonderful looking Rye.. Yum. welcome back!
I've missed being a part of this forum. Hopefully, life will settle down a bit and I'll find more time to spend here.
We were lucky to have been spared by Irene which wreaked havoc further north. But it has been an interesting year here: one flood, one earthquake, and a near miss with an earthquake.
Luckily bread is around to distract me from the disasters :)
bet I could use a bundt pan!
I was pleased - all credit to a healthy starter. Now I'm wondering how I'd serve this a la bundt pan:) It might be interesting, though.
Just got back home last night from a weeks vacation and have been catching up on TFL when I saw your post. What a pleasure to see you again!
I thought I'd had it bad when they renovated our shop a few years ago and I had to work around all that that entailed, but your situation must have been a nightmare to work in. Good on you for hanging in and getting it done.
Your 72% Rye looks wonderful, and as many have remarked, the crumb is excellent. I did a very similar loaf to take on vacation, but it was an 80% with 74% hydration. Flavour-wise It was good, but not remotely close to the type of open crumb you've achieved with yours. Thanks for sharing your formula, as the open crumb is something that continues to challenge me with high ratio rye breads. I'll be having a closer look at your formula to see what I can do to improve my own.
Great to see you back Larry and looking forward to seeing more posts from you...when possible.
All the best,
For the welcome back and the warm comments. I've missed the forum and the back and forth, but this summer I've just felt too pressed for time. Maybe I can get back on track.
I really think the hydration is one key and the other is catching the rye sour at its peak ripeness. Sometimes I manage the latter, but it's still pretty hit or miss, so I know I haven't mastered my reading of the levain yet. But you can certainly tell when you've hit it right, because in a little over 30 minutes you've gotten a lot of expansion in the dough and you know it's ready for panning.
BTW- when I was in lurking mode here I did take note of your beautiful blueberry tart from a month ago I think. Oh, man oh man that looked delicious!
Best wishes in baking!