Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More adventures in sourdough

The day I made the cinnamon bread, Joel, Renee, and the grandkids came over. Debbie's been at her parents place, assisting for a week or so; they figured I needed company! They brought the main dish; I supplied the bread : )

At that point I had finished the original loaf, so I had a very dense rye, a very chewy whole wheat, and the cinnamon raisin. I sliced up some of each for everyone to try. As expected, the rye bread wasn't appreciated—by me either! But, the kids liked both the whole wheat and the cinnamon raisin bread. I gave Renee some starter for her to experiment and I gave her my revised recipe.

That night, I decided to try rye again, but using my own ideas. I took a cup of starter, 1.5 cups of whole wheat, 1.5 cups of rye flour, and 1.5 cups of water. In addition, I used 2 teaspoons of molasses, 1 tablespoon of caraway, and 1.5 teaspoons of salt. I mixed that whole thing together and let it proof overnight. The next morning, I poured it out onto the counter; it was very moist, almost too moist to work with. I put it into a parchment paper lined glass loaf pan, let it rise 3 hours, and baked it at 350°F for 60 minutes (no preheating of the oven). I lowered the temperature to 350° this time (from 375°) because of the glass pan...

Again, the parchment paper fell off the loaf when I removed the loaf from the pan. That's great for reusing; usually you have to peel it off the bread after it sits for about 5-15 minutes (Renee lets hers cool completely before removing it—I'm not that patient!). I let the loaf cool for an hour, sliced it, and tasted it. Delicious!

But, that got me thinking. With normal yeast breads, rye bread doesn't rise very well. I've talked about my experiments with rye bread before. But, this loaf rose so well, I figured I'd try a denser loaf. So, I went with 2 cups of rye and 1 cup of whole wheat. I left out the molasses, to see if the sugar had anything to do with the rising, otherwise I left it all the same. Plus, I used all the rest of the molasses in the baked beans that afternoon!

I didn't grind enough wheat flour, so I fed the starter with rye flour. The next morning, I fed it rye flour again. Let me tell you, I think sourdough starter loves rye flour! It was about ready to overflow the bowl after only 5 hours. I've read people who say that they can't get starter to grow except on unbleached flour; they should try rye!

Anyway, I let the bread rise overnight, poured it out the next morning, and made a loaf. I didn't notice any less rise than with a 50/50% mixture. I let it rise in the loaf pan; after 2.5 hours, it was ready to bake! It actually rose better with more rye flour! I baked it as usual and let it cool for about an hour. The flavor was intense! You can taste the sour of the sourdough more.

I think I'm going to go with 100% rye this time, add the molasses back in, and see what happens...stay tuned!

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