Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Double Dutch

Ever get the craving for a real brick of a bread? I'm sure you know what I mean - the rich, dark, heavy and seed-filled rustic loaves that can serve as a meal paired with strong cheese, mustard and maybe a touch of jam. The deep brown, vacuum-packed sourdoughs in the deli section of the grocery store are the perfect example of the artisanal breads I adore - except for the fact that those are pasteurized (!?) and often hard as a rock. I don't have an issue with storebought bread, if it's decent... but it's becoming harder and harder to find a nutritious, tasty option that you don't need a chainsaw to slice.

My mom is as much of a bread addict now as I used to be (in a past life, before wheat and gluten began making my life Hell), and has reawakened her love for my homemade, rather unique creations after a few months on an *ahem* nutritionist-mediated weight-loss diet. Now that I'm back in the breadmaker's apron, making an incredibly healthy, preferably sourdough-based, loaf was first on my list. I'm not entirely sure how I came upon the blog Bochenkowo / Bread at Home and their recipe for this traditional Dutch loaf known as Frisian Rye, but once I set my eyes on it I knew I had to make it ASAP. Like all good things (especially sourdoughs!), making this bread is a bit of a process. There are three rest / rise periods and a fairly lengthy stint in the oven, not to mention the weeks (or months or even years) of sour starter maintenance to keep the wild yeast alive... but I promise you, it's not hard labour, and the hours are more than worth it! This is definitely not a recipe you can get away with chomping on right out of the oven, the middle will still look raw if you try! For the ultimate flavour in this bread, let the cooled loaf sit on the counter covered lightly with a tea towel for 24 hours before cutting into it.

Because this bread is not shrink-wrapped, preservative filled or otherwise antiseptically treated, once it's been cooled and aged it's best to slice it, wrap it well in plastic and heavy-duty foil, and stash it in the freezer. Then all you have to do is separate as many slices as you need from the frozen loaf and tuck them into your lunchbox with the rest of your ploughman's feast.

This loaf is being sent to Susan's YeastSpotting event.

Frisian Rye
Makes 1 loaf, 20 thin slices
Primary Build:
100 g dark rye flour
90 g unfed sourdough starter
200 g warm water
100 g assorted seeds (I used a mix of hemp, poppy, pumpkin, sunflower, quinoa, amaranth, chia, sesame and flax)
100 g boiling water
"Sponge" Dough:
all the "primary build"
100 g dark rye flour
100 g whole wheat bread flour 
200 g warm water
Final Dough:
all of the sponge
all of the soaker
100 g dark rye flour
100 g whole wheat bread flour
50 g warm water
10 g honey
  1. Stir together all "Primary Build" ingredients in a bowl. Cover and let stand (at room temperature) for 4-6 hours (or overnight).
  2. Combine "Soaker" mixture in a bowl, cover and let stand at room temperature 8-24 hours.
  3. After "Primary Build" is established, mix the ingredients for the "Sponge Dough" until well combined. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 4-6 hours. If needed, place (covered) in the refrigerator overnight and let stand at room temperature 1 hour before proceeding.
  4. Finally, stir together the ingredients for the "Final Dough", adding warm water until dough has the consistency of thick muffin batter.
  5. Fill a well-greased 9x5" loaf pan 3/4 of the way with the dough. Cover and let proof 5-6 hours, or proof at room temperature 3 hours and refrigerate overnight. (If refrigerating dough, remove from refrigerator 3 hours before baking.)
  6. 40 minutes before baking, place a baking stone (if you have one) on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 475 F.
  7. 10 minutes before baking, fill a 9" square metal pan with hot water and place on the bottom of the oven.
  8. Place the loaf pan on the stone and immediately turn the oven to 450 F. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pan of water, reduce temperature to 375 F and bake another 15 minutes (until it holds its shape when removed from the pan).
  9. Remove bread from the pan, transfer to a piece of parchment and slide onto the baking stone.
  10. Bake 24 minutes, rotating loaf every 6 minutes so that each "long" surface of the loaf touches the stone.
  11. The final bread should be caramelized and crisp on all sides.
  12. Cool on wire rack. For the first 24 hours, keep in a paper bag to prevent mould and steam development, then it can be wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic and refrigerated.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 118.4
Total Fat: 2.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 5.3 mg
Total Carbs: 22.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Protein: 4.1 g

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