Sunday, June 1, 2014

100% Rye Sourdough

I come by my love of bread honestly. Not only does my mom crave slices of a good, hearty loaf (none of that Wonder stuff), but she's a fabulous breadmaker in her own right. She in turn learned at the hip of my grandfather, when the two of them would churn out 4+ loaves a week in order to feed the 5 person family. While the recipe wasn't extravagant (and certainly not expensive), it was good and filling, making fabulous packed lunch sandwiches for many years.

I can only guess where my grandfather honed his art, but family lore suggests it might have to do with an influx of old-world Jewish culture mixed with our family's Scottish heritage. Nobody knows for sure if there is actually Hebrew in our ancestry, but my grandfather, uncle and male cousins on that side of the family all have what we call the "Jewish nose" and even I (the pasty-white redhead) have been asked if I had Jewish roots. Whatever the reason, I always associate the best loaves (homemade or otherwise) with his chewy, robust whole wheats and ryes.

100% Rye Sourdough

It is the dark, rich rye sourdough that wins my mom's favour when presented with an array at the bakery. I have played with rye flour in the past, but never exclusively used it in a yeast bread since it's low in gluten and makes for dense, dry outcomes. That said, my sourdough starter is fed almost 100% with rye flour, and I knew artisan bakers make pure rye loaves, so why not me? I found a promising recipe on Shipton Mill's website to start from, and added colour with cocoa powder and molasses, tenderness with pineapple juice, flavour with caraway seeds and texture (not to mention extra rye-ness) with rye flakes. Like all sourdoughs, the dough takes a good, long time to rise: 6 hours after the first mix, followed by 8 hours in the fridge and another 3 at room temperature before baking. Once cooled, the loaf is moist, dense but not heavy and definitely a perfect loaf to slice thin and put on a cheese or charcuterie plate. If cheese and cold cuts aren't your thing, thick slabs of this, toasted and smeared with jam, make a fantastic breakfast too! 

Like I try to with most of my breads (and especially sourdoughs), I use weight as my measurement. It solves the issue of settled flour and helps when you're modifying the baker's percentages, basically ensuring consistency in the final dough.

Shared with YeastSpotting

100% Rye Sourdough
Makes 1 loaf, 18 slices
400 g dark rye flour
10 g unsweetened cocoa powder
80 g rye flakes
12 g sea salt
400 g fed sourdough starter (100% hydration)
300 g warm water
40 g molasses
40 g pineapple or orange juice
8 g caraway seeds 
  1. Mix rye flour, cocoa powder, rye flakes and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Weigh in the starter, water, molasses and juice.
  3. Mix until a smooth, firm dough is reached (it will look and feel similar to “plasticine”).
  4. Knead in caraway seeds.
  5. Place into a bowl, cover and let proof 6 hours.
  6. Stir down and scrape into a banneton or a greased loaf pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
  7. Remove from fridge 3 hours before baking.
  8. Preheat the oven to 500F (with a pizza stone for banneton loaves).
  9. Place the loaf in the oven, close the door and reduce the temperature to about 400F.
  10. Bake for one hour. Turn out immediately onto a wire rack and cool before slicing. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 64.4
Total Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 266.8 mg
Total Carbs: 13.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 1.8 g

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