Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Deli-Style Rye ..or.. I'm Proud I Did It :)

Abby's my latest hero. She's the one that was both curious & brave enough to experiment with a cool new-fangled method of bread-baking. After she made an inspiring journal entry -with pictures!- about this 'Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day', I decided to borrow a book from the library and think about giving it a try myself.

But it's been too hot, or I've been too busy, or it's too smoky, or I've got to get the relish made, or what if the recipe doesn't work for me, or, or, or. Well now. The wild fires all around us are either contained or right on the verge of it. The sky is mostly blue again & the air is almost always sweet to breathe once more. The garden's at the stage it doesn't need so much work or attention. I've just harvested cucumbers & peppers and turned them into our first batch of the season's Amish Pickle Relish.

..and I've renewed the book twice. That makes 6 weeks I've been toying with the idea :/

1. Kay had given me some rye flour from the Butte Creek Mill up in Eagle Point, Oregon.
2. I had caraway seed.
3. We love rye bread.
4. The Artisan Bread cookbook has a deli-style rye bread recipe.

And, with only 3 days left in August, the weather's taken a bit of a turn towards the cool of September. Okay then, I'm in!

And Mama's bakin' again =)

I mixed up the easy, no-knead batter, set it aside to rise for a coupla hours, then tucked it in the fridge to rest for the night. I got up earlier than normal just because I was so excited to try out this too-simple-to-believe recipe and play with the dough; shaping, sprinkling the cornmeal on parchment for it to rest on, brushing with a cornstarch wash to glaze it, making the deep cuts across the top for the 'oven-spring' rising, sliding the loaf onto the preheated baking sheet (I can't wait to get a baking stone!) and watching it rise in the oven.

And so how did it turn out? Absolutely, fantastically delicious! It's got that awesome rye bread flavor, and get this, store-bought rye texture; chewy with a fine crumb. A-maze-ing! The crust starts out crisp but then softens as it cools.

Peggie happened to stop by while I was baking so I couldn't resist sending that first loaf home with her for their supper.

I had enough dough left to make another loaf so I started right in on it. It didn't rise as high as the first, and, not sure if it was as yummy as we imagined, Papa & I kept going back into the kitchen for just another wee slice. We just had to keep checking to see if it's truly as good as we thought ;) We're treating it as dessert tonight...

After supper I mixed up a full batch that'll make 4 more little 1-pound loaves. Or heck, maybe I'll do 2 small & 1 larger one so I can slice it up for Papa's sandwiches for work. But at any rate I've GOT to get one made & sent over to Kay's family since she's the one that contributed the rye!

Abby was so enamored with the new baking skills this method opened up to her she wanted to invest in the cookbooks. I decided to surprise her with the first in the series for her birthday.  Now I've decided to 'gift' myself (& Papa & the neighbors ;) the book, too.

I'm convinced the elusive sourdough artisan bread ..that I've been spending years attempting to recreate.. is very nearly about to make its long-anticipated arrival on the Haus Der Baker culinary scene! Watch for it..

**9/6/12 UPDATE: I've learned that if you use a 'medium' rye flour it makes a lighter, less-dense loaf. My flour is stone ground 'whole' rye flour, which actually I've found I prefer though Papa likes the lighter loaf equally as well. Also, I've decided to leave off the caraway seeds on top. They just mostly fall off anyway. You may, however, decide to stick 'em on better with an egg white wash. I use the original recipe's wash w/o the seeds now before slashing the dough. Gives a nice shiny crust & helps the knife make the cuts nicely, too. But sometimes I don't bother w/a wash at all.

I've also had success cutting the stone-ground rye back to a half cup only & replacing the omitted half cup with unbleached all-purpose white. Makes it a tad bit lighter, though I do really like the more dense version as well.

**Additional UPDATES: as per the suggestions for using baking stones from the Artisan Bread authors, I recently purchased this ceramic glazed stone by Emile Henry from Zappos:

Beautiful & practical all rolled into one. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle the staining on a regular stone, and appreciated that this one can be beautiful & cleaned, as well as function perfectly as a 'regular' baking stone. I loved the eggplant color but decided the classy black one would better compliment my baked goods & match our awesome black oven. It works grand!

**Not wanting to warp my good broiler pan I've left off using it for the steam production during baking. Now I just place a Pyrex bowl filled with hot water on the bottom shelf at the same time I place the baking stone on the middle shelf for preheating. It works just fine! I've also discovered it's a-okay to omit the steam method all together.**

**One more cool note: the longer you leave the dough in the fridge the more of a sourdough it becomes. The rye breads I make by the 3rd day on become a real-live, noticeably tangy sourdough rye**

Jeff Hertzberg's Deli-Style Rye
Makes 4 one pound loaves

3 cups lukewarm water
1½ Tablespoons dry yeast
1½ Tablespoons salt
1½ Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup rye flour
5½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon corn starch
½ cup water

1 - 2 tablespoons caraway seeds

Mix the yeast, salt, and caraway seeds with the water in a large bowl or container. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients with a spoon until they are thoroughly combined. Don't worry about kneading, but you want to mix until there are no more lumps of dry flour. Use wet hands to do this, if necessary.

Cover the dough loosely and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately, though it is recommended to cover it and refrigerate it for anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks.

On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 pound chunk (roughly the size of a grapefruit). Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching and rotating it. Elongate the ball into an oval-shaped loaf. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel or cookie sheet for at least 40 minutes. {NOTE: I place the shaped dough on a piece of cornmeal-covered parchment paper on a cookie sheet so it can be easily slid off, paper & all, onto the pre-heated baking stone}

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty tray on another shelf in the oven.

Using a pastry brush, paint the top crust of the loaf with the wash and sprinkle on the additional caraway seeds. Slash deep parallel cuts across the loaf using a serrated bread knife.

Slide the loaf off of the tray onto the baking stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the other pan and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the loaf is deep brown and firm. Allow to cool before slicing and eating. {NOTE: crust softens after a few hours, especially if, after cooling, it's left in sealed plastic bag overnight}

More tips on baking this recipe here -> Artisan Bread In 5 rye bread tips

Plus the site's very helpful FAQ page here -> FAQ

1 comment:

  1. BEEEEAAAAAUUUUUTIFUL! I'm so glad it worked well for you :) They plain jayne bread makes good french toast or croutons too when/if it goes stale.