Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dark Rye Bread: The Untasted Loaf of Mystery

I received the following text message the other day:

"Been meaning to ask you... Have you ever made a dark rye bread?"

Now, some of you might have read that as a question. But, I'm willing to bet that there were also some of you (those of you a little bit more like me) who read that as the glove-slapping, gauntlet-laying challenge that it is. In my head, the text might have well said:

"Dark Rye Bread: GO!" or "Dark rye bread today. Make it happen."

I took the challenge and scoured the interwebs until I found Lady Disdain's Drama-Free Rye Bread. The title caught my eye, but the recipe won me over. It really did look drama free.

So I went to the health food store and picked up Wheat Germ and Dark Rye Flour. Went to the grocery store for molasses and caraway seeds, but alas they were out of the latter. Next time.

If you want to look at the recipe in all its traditional glory, head over to Lady Disdain's blog. If you want to see how I did it, then follow me.

I tossed these dry ingredients into the KitchenAid mixing bowl.

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder

I stirred it briefly, just to get everything mixed up.

In a small saucepan, I heated the following wet ingredients just enough to activate the yeast in the dry ingredients
1 cup water (to create buttermilk out of those 4 tablespoons of powder I used earlier)
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil

Slowly add to the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed.

Gradually add between 2/3 and 1 cup bread flour to create a slightly sticky dough.

Once the flour is incorporated, switch to the dough hook and let it knead for 8 minutes. This was the point at which I tweeted about how a bread machine is probably not in my future. I felt so odd passing off this part of the job on my KitchenAid. At this point in my life, I like the therapeutic aspects of kneading, I guess.

Anyway... Once that job was done, I placed the dough in a lightly greased bowl in a warm place (the closet my water heater lives in) to rise for an hour.

After that rise, I rolled the dough out on a lightly floured surface.

And then I rolled it up like a tight jelly roll (without the jelly, of course) and plopped it in a greased loaf pan to rise in a yet warmer place (my oven, heated to 150 and then turned off) for another hour and a half.

After that second rise, it mostly filled the pan. Next time I'll do both rises in my oven. I think I keep my house too cool for dough to really rise well without it. I thought it was getting warm enough to try again... but I'll just stick to what I know.

Lady Disdain's directions instructed me to bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes at 375 until the loaf is "well browned and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom." Bakers... this question is for you: Do you honestly dump out your loaf just so you can tap it on the bottom to check for doneness? This seems so bizarre to me.

I didn't dump it out. I went by the "well browned" bit. I was afraid the top would burn and I know my oven runs hot... so my loaf came out at 25 minutes and looked like this.

So how did it taste? What did it look like on the inside? Was it cooked through?

Hmm... I'd love to know. I made this loaf for the texter I mentioned at the opening of this post. And... I gave it to him. But... he's busy and hasn't tried it yet. So... the results of my first attempt at a dark rye bread remain a mystery. Ah, well.

But... the construction of the bread was as drama-free as any bread I've ever made. The next time I'll just slice that sucker and make myself a reuben before I hand off the rest of the loaf.

Dark Rye Challenge: Met. (-ish)


A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Generally, you thump when it's not in a loaf pan. But once you think it's done, yes, take it out and thump to check for doneness.

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Hope the pate a choux got you out of your blahs. It got me outta mine. Nothing like eating your own fresh profiteroles (or whatever you do with them) in your pjs :)

The College Baker said...

I'm glad you rose to the baking challenge! haha :)
I admit that I am rather intrigued by the rolling-up part of the recipe, as I haven't seen this done with bread before. Do you know if there's reason for it?

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Rolling is mainly for structure. Better than just throwing it in the pan and letting the top look like elephant man. Not to say that it will look like elephant man but it insures that it won't.

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

P.S. Sorry Amanda for taking over your comment board for this post :-P Feel free to comment til your blue on one of my posts :)

Amanda said...

No way! I've enjoyed each one of your comments! I was just sitting here reading the two new ones and thinking... oooOOoooh... that's why they told me to roll it. : ) Comment away, sister.