Rye adventure

My rye starter is looking nice and healthy, its time to test it out.
Was only going to try making one rye bread, but looks like I’ve got a lot of starter – much more than the recipe requires, means that I can try out two different recipes – yay!!
First one is “Seeded Rye” from “Bread Matters” by Andrew Whitley and second one is “MiniOven favourite 100% rye” from TheFreshLoaf website.

First one, hmmmm, I think I’ve messed something up already. I’ve been feeding my rye starter 1:1 ration (by weight), keeping it at a 100% starter. The book’s sour rye is kept at 200%, with 2 parts water to 1 part flour. The recipe asks for 160 g of sour rye, so, I’ve figure, I could just use my starter and adjust the recipe to fit it. I meant to reduce the amount of flour, but somehow ended up reducing amount of water – muppet!! Tried mixing it all in my mixer, and got something that looks like a crumble topping instead of a dough. More water, hard to tell exactly how much, trying to achieve “a very soft dough” as it is described in the book, and I ended up with a soft-ish dough, quite a heavy one, full of seeds. I’ve used all sunflower seeds instead of sunflower and pumpkin as it describes in the recipe.
This is a very odd recipe, not the type I am used to, but then again, I tend to make white and mixed breads rather than “properly” wholemeal ones. Odd in the way that you mix everything in one bowl, shape it and plonk it straight into a pan to rest and ferment. Lets see ..


Seeded Rye
Adapted from “Bread Matters”

160 g rye starter (100% hydration)
240 g light rye flour
160-ish g water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dark molasses
100g sunflower seeds
More sunflower seeds for topping

Combine all the ingredients together and mix with your hands until you get a sticky dough, with molasses and seeds distributed evenly in the mixture. Shape the dough into a small log, rub wet hands all over the top and sides of it, and roll in extra sunflower seeds, until all top and sides are covered.
Line a small loaf tin with baking paper, drop dough into the tin, cover and leave in a warm place for two to six hours – mine took the whole six hours, party due to me kindda forgetting about it. The dough did sweel up a little bit, but nothing too major, I think its quite heavy with all the seeds.
Bake for 10 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 210C, turn the heat down to 200C and bake for further 25 minutes.
Take it out of the loaf pan, remove baking paper, cool completely and wrap it in gladwrap for 24 hours before slicing it.
While I was waiting for the bread to be ready for a taste-test, I thought I’d try the recipe again. I’ve mixed the right type of starter – 200% hydration, followed the recipe pretty much exactly (less seeds inside and no coating outside) and baked it again. The result was truly disgusting – very bland, horrid flavour and not much on the texture front either – yuck!!
I am so nearly ready to give up on that book, to be honest – the instructions are very unclear, not many details on shaping, baking temperatures or timings, very VERY frustrating.
I’ve sliced up the first attempt (the recipe above), and its actually not too bad – quite dense, but the flavour is okay – I’ll definitely eat it with a slice of Cheddar and a pickle.
As far as the book goes, I really don’t know if I can be bothered wasting all that time and ingredients again ……


The second recipe, the one from MiniOven, I’ve been wanting to make for a while. I’ve been lurking on TheFreshLoaf site for a few years, and posted a couple of things too. MiniOven’s recipes always look really good, and have lots of followers – time for me to join them.
She is starting with a 100% rye starter – check! And is using 1:3.5:4.16 weight ration for her starter:water:rye flour ration. Meaning that whatever amount of starter you have, time it by 3.5 to get your water measure and time it by 4.16 to get your rye flour measure, with salt being around 1.5%-2% of total flour (total = flour in the starter plus + recipe four).
Again, I’ve managed to mess it up a little bit (living it up to my name already). I forgot to measure how much starter I’ve put in that recipe, and calculated my water and flour measures based on how big I wanted the loaf to be – this is going to be interesting!!

100% Light Rye Bread
Adapted from "MiniOven Favourite 100% rye"

150-ish g rye starter (100% hydration)
400 g light rye flour
335 g water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp spice mix
To make up spice mix, I’ve mixed together half a tsp of coriander seeds, fennel seeds and caraway – bash it together in a pestle and mortar to mix them up and break the seeds up a bit, but not completely grind them.

I’ve mixed starter, flour and water in my shiny KitchenAid, with a dough hook on speed 2 for a couple of minutes until the dough resembles greyish goo – no other way to describe it, really, and left it for an hour, covered.
An hour later I’ve added salt and spice mix, mixed again for a minute or so – now it is a darker looking good due to the spices, but still goo texture never the less. Cover and leave for three hours.

The next thing the recipe tells me to do is to fold the dough – hmmm, how do you fold a pot of goo? Oh well, wet hands if water, and try to attack that brown-grey mess, I am not even going to try to do an “air fold” – whatever that means – cause that sounds like a disaster, I have images of my entire kitchen being covered in flicks of brown goo. The cleaner only just been and I want to keep my kitchen nice and tidy at lest for the rest of the night.
So, “ fold and shape the dought into a smooth ball” – in reality, its more of a “get a shaggy goo out of a bowl, pat it together into a smooth ball-ish shape goo”. Looks distinctly like an un-healthy cow pat at this stage, this is gotta be worth is at the end, cause so far I am not impressed. I am going to bake it in a loaf mould rather than a ball shape, rye bread in my head is always square share rather than a loaf of a round shape – just one of those things. So, a loaf tin lined with baking paper – I am not taking any chances, in case it decides to stick to the tin or something, a "shaped" log is going in, to be covered and placed in a warm place, the recipe tells me it will double in volume – now, that would be cool!
I’ve just realised that I sound quite pessimistic, but rye bread has always been one of those super advanced, super scary things for me, and I am trying not to get my hopes up too much, in case it all goes pear-shaped.
Well, four hours later, and man, did it double!!! If started exploding a little bit – I covered the loaf tin with a plastic shower cap (note – good tip for breadbakers, saves on gladwrap), and the loaf expansed so much, it actually touched the top of the cap, meaning that the surface of the load got a mangled when I took the cap off. However, I’ve made a little dome out of foil and baked the loaf for 25 minutes as 210C, remove the dome and bake for further 20 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 93C – 96C . I’ve got one of those digital prod thermometers, and I love it – buy one if you can, you can use it for anything you like – bread, cakes, syrups, meat …
Same thing – take the loaf out, remove the paper, cool completely, and wrap n gladwrap for the next 24 hours. The loaf turned out quite light in colour – but that’s light rye flour for you, isn’t it? But also very light, as in weight, and I couldn’t wait to try it. It was meant as a present for someone from Mr Ranty’s work, but I had to slice it to see what it looks like inside and have a taste of it. I must say, I am AMAZED!!! Such a nice flavour, texture, crumb, tanginess, everything about this loaf is perfect. I might play with different flour and different bread spice mix a little bit, but it is definitely going to be one of my favourite breads.
Mr Ranty took it to work, and the girl loved it – she nearly finished the loaf when I spoke to her at the end of the day and is considering putting in a standing order – weekly order of rye loaf.
I am pleased as punch with this recipe, a huge thanks to MiniOven, I cannot recommend it enough, a great loaf.

Three loaves (from the top) : first attempt at Seeded Rye, second attempt at Seeded Rye, MiniOven 100% Rye

MiniOven's Rye, sliced up

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