Monday, April 23, 2012

German Dark Rye

Picked up some Hodgson Mills stone ground rye flour and decided to give a recipe for German Dark Rye (on the bag) a shot.

3 1/2 cups Rye Flour
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of bread flour (I used AP)  2 1/2 cups was more like it.
2 tbs vital wheat gluten  (because the rye is low in gluten)
2 pkgs of yeast (3 tsp or 14 grams)
2 cups of warm water (probably more like 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
3 tbs of cocoa powder
1 tbs caraway seeds (I don't like caraway seeds and left them out)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of melted butter

The brown sugar and yeast are disolved into the warm water in the mixing bowl.  Let this sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast is bubbly.  Add the molasses, rye flour, vital wheat gluten, cocoa and caraway seeds.  Mix well and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Mix in the melted butter and salt.  Slowly add in 1 cup of bread flour and add enough of the flour balance to get a soft dough.  

This dough was a bit stiff so I quit adding flour at around 2 1/2 cups.  Concerned that it was still too stiff, I added approximately another 1/2 cup of warm water.  

I kneaded this for about 10 minutes in a KA mixer, placed the ball in an oiled bowl, covered it and let it double in size at room temp (about an hour).  I then knocked it down, cut it in half and formed two small boules which were placed on some parchment paper and covered with saran wrap.  These were left to rise for approximately 1 hour until they were almost double in size.

The tops were scored and both loaves were placed onto a baking stone in an oven pre-heated to 400F.  I added about a cup of water to a lower cookie tray for "steaming".  The loaves were removed after around 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread was 200F.

To date, this was the best overall bread I've ever made.  Crispy crust, light airy crumb and outstanding flavor.  A perfect compliment to the corned beef and cabbage I made for lunch / dinner today :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pain au Levain (bake day 2) UPDATED

My starter wasn't quite as active as it should have been and I had to dramatically increase the proofing time prior to bake.  The small boule I made yesterday was "OK" but the crumb was pretty dense.  Today's look's like it's going to be a little better...  Will have to check out the crumb tomorrow morning.

As anticipated, the crumb was pretty dense.  I probably should have fed my starter the night before.  I should also start monitoring the temperature of the dough and the room so I can collect some data on proofing times (just for the heck of it)  I'm pretty sure this just needed to be proofed a lot longer.  Unfortunately, since I was going out last night, I had no choice but to bake it (ready or not :) ) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pain au Levain (Day Two)

The mother starter had been in the fridge overnight.  It was cut up into a dozen or more small sized pieces and placed in the mixing bowl afixed with a beater attachment.  To this I added  312g of warm water and mixed on low speed until the starter was softened / mixed.  This was followed by the addition of 454g of flour and 17g of salt.  With the dough hook attachment, the flour / salt was slowly added until a course ball of dough was formed.  Total mix time on medium was about 4 minutes.  I then let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

After the rest, kneading continued for about 3 or 4 minutes until the dough was soft, supple and tacky (but not sticky).  It was then kneaded by hand for a very short period of time, formed into a ball and left to sit uncovered for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, a stretch and fold was performed; front to back and left to right.  Here's Reinhart's demo on a very high hydration dough.  It's amazing how quickly a totally unmanageable dough is quickly transformed after just one stretch and fold.  A bench scraper is an absolute must!

The dough was then flipped over, formed into a ball, covered and rested for 10 minutes.  This S&F / rest process was done three times over the next 30 minutes.  Once formed into a ball for the last time, it was placed into a lightly oiled, tightly sealed bowl where it will stay for 2 hours.  It is not supposed to rise much (because no active yeast is used) but it should show some signs of doing so before it's put into the refrigerator for overnight fermentation.  

Here's what it looked like after the final S&F...  I'll post a pic later once the two hours is up.  Tomorrow is bake day :)

UPDATE:  After 2 hours: Not a lot of action but there is activity.  Into the fridge it goes...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pain au Levain

I'm going to have a 2nd go at Reinhart's Pain au Levain.  I'll be using the "Mother Starter" I've kept going from the seed culture I made back on 9/1/11.  While one of my blogs does have this recipe, I'll just re-post it here.  

I diluted the mother starter with the warm water and then added the flour (I'm using King Arthur unbleached All Purpose and KA Red Whole Wheat).  Using a wooden spoon, I mixed all of the ingredients to a shaggy mess and then kneaded it on my un-floured countertop.  It was a bit sticky at first but quickly took the shape of a somewhat stiff, slightly tacky dough.  It's now sitting covered in a lightly oiled bowl.  This will stay at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.  By then it should be about 1.5 times its original size.  It'll then be refrigerated overnight.
DAY 1:  


⅓ cup (2.5 oz / 71 g) mother starter, cold or at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 oz / 142 g) unbleached bread flour
⅔ cup (3 oz / 85 g) whole wheat flour
⅔ cup (5.35 oz / 151.5 g) water, at room temperature

                                                        Here's how it started (1:30pm)    

UPDATE: (9:30pm) Lookin' good...