Monday, June 23, 2008

Rye-s to the challenge: the Bread Baking Babes again

Breadchick Mary being our Kitchen of the Month, decided to use our starter again and asked us to test-bake a recipe she was working on. Between the Babes we cover a lot of different ground (as in soil) and thus flours. I think every bread baker experiences adjustments when baking US-based recipes because of the difference in wheat (summer, winter, hard and soft) but even in rye we discovered a variety. So Lien and I, based in the Netherlands, couldn't get the recipe to work. We needed to adjust it to work with our "sharp" whole rye flour which is very gritty, rather coarse and needs some help to get a decent loaf.

A decent loaf..... there's an enigma! Subject to personal, regional and country preferences. We had a very interesting challenge this month! I baked three times, my first one using Mary's original recipe didn't make it to the oven, even though I gave it 10 hours to rise it just lay there stunned... Second try was best in my opinion, recipe is below.

toss off as per Mary's recipe
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rye
1/2 cup bread flour
1 small red onion, diced and sauteed in butter

1.1/2 tbs treacle (stroop)
2 tbs brown muscovado sugar (for color, sweetness and moisture)
1.3/4 ts salt
2 scant ts caraway seeds
1 cup rye
1 cup bread flour (added some more during kneading, haven't measured how much)

Left the dough feeling rather soft and wet, gave it a couple of lashings against the work surface to get it together but it was still rather tacky and sticky when I put it to rise. I think this is much needed to give the rye some extra moisture to suck up. Got a great first rise (took approx. 5 hours to double) and not so much ovenspring.
Loved the flavour of this finished loaf, a bit sweet with a distinct caraway flavour, just a tad bitterness from the rye. Not sour at all! Definitely a bread that will hold up against cold cuts, cheese or a nice soup. It reminds me of the bread you get with an Austrian/German "Bauernplatte" or Jause.
A similar Dark Onion Rye can be found in Peter Reinhart's book the Bread Baker's Apprentice. I've baked that as well and found it very nice, really good with cheese and some chutney.

Just to show you what our Dutch whole rye looks like.


  1. The bread from your adapted recipe looks good doesn't it!
    Just remember when it fails... it's never us, it's always the flour!

  2. Yes--damn flour!

    I love the way your bread looks. I sort of cheated by using a 50/50 ratio---and I don't have European rye! Go ahead--smack me.

    I blame the anemia.

  3. Yep, mine just laid there like a lump too, right before it went "ker-splat!" Sorry yours made bricks too. Maybe next time it will work better for us.

  4. All these bricks make me think it is the recipe gals. Going to go back to the drawing board.

    Thanks for the test kitchen.

  5. Who has baked bread and never taken a brick out of the oven . . . they haven't baked much bread. I have had my share of bricks.
    I know your bread and it is stellar; so a brick is not your bread.

  6. It looks nice though. I forgot to take pictures of the inside of my bread.

  7. Sounds delicious, and yours turned out wonderfully, from the looks of it. Yum!

  8. I think you and Lien were heroic, I feel almost bad for surfing on in the backwaters, using all the information like that!

  9. I think it looks lovely... And the taste sounds perfect - for me, anyway. I like a bread with some body ;-))

  10. like the looks of your bread :o)
    what counts is how it tastes anyway, may breads never seem to look like they are supposed to... ugh!

  11. Your bread looks delicious. I enjoy a good rye... and a good rye bread ;)



Thanks for visiting! I really appreciate and enjoy reading all your comments! If you have any questions feel free to email me.