Rye toast with Orange-Raspberry Jam
While we haven’t met a bread we didn’t like, we’ve always been partial to dense rye breads. This was our first sourdough experiment – doubly challenging because it is 100% wholegrain.
Meteil is the term for a rye bread that has less than 50% rye flour, unlike a siegle, which has over 50% rye. This one is a combination of whole rye (40%) and whole wheat, delicately flavoured with onion and caraway.
It was a resounding success. 75% of the breads we’ve made since have been sourdough with varying amounts of whole rye flour.
Wheat vs. Rye
Wheat breads are airier, with greater volume because of the high gluten content. Rye yields a denser loaf with a richer flavour and aroma and a longer shelf life.
Rye contains about only about half the gluten content of wheat. Rye proteins form a network of starches, as opposed to gluten. Enzyme activity converts these starches to sugars. This process compromises the gluten, affecting the structure of the loaf. Moreover, rye proteins gelatinize at a lower temperature than wheat starch and once the dough goes into the oven, enzymatic degradation takes place rather quickly. This leads to a gummy loaf.
Rye breads are usually made with part all-purpose flour which has a high gluten content. When it is substituted with whole wheat flour, vital gluten is added to aid the process. This is optional, but recommended.
Getting a good quality rye loaf requires some form of acidification. The best rye breads use a sourdough (wild yeast) starter that controls the enzymes during baking to prevent them from attacking the starches and breaking down the loaf. In lieu of sourdough, some recipes replace some of the water with yogurt or buttermilk. Others use vinegar. See what rye bread looks like with and without acidification.
This recipe uses both stiff sourdough starter and buttermilk. Vegans may use soy yogurt or soymilk.
Baking with rye calls for a different approach. This is outlined at Wild Yeast. In a nutshell:
We prefer to knead it by hand for 7 to 8 minutes, or in the bread machine bowl for not more than five minutes.
Rye gained favour in parts of Scandinavia and western Europe when harsh climatic conditions hindered the growth of wheat. In addition to being easier to cultivate, rye is also nutritionally superior to wheat. Breads made with rye are hearty and filling since even the endopserm of rye contains fibre.
The lignins in the bran also make it a higher-quality fibre. They create a favourable environment for benefecial bifidobacteria in the gut, and generate butyric and propionic acid that lower the pH of the colon and function as a natual antibiotic.
Types of Rye flours
1. Light/white rye flour – devoid of the bran and germ
2. Dark rye flour – mostly pericarp with a little endosperm
3. Whole rye flour or Whole grain rye flour – flour made from the whole grain
4. Pumpernickel rye flour – a more coarsely milled version of Whole rye flour.
Other whole rye products used in breads are rye meal and rye chops (cracked rye).
We use whole or pumpernickel rye flour depending on availability. The next best option is dark rye flour.
For the soaker:
227 grams (8 oz) – 1.75 cups – whole wheat flour, preferably fine grind (like chapati flour)
4 grams (0.14 oz) – 0.5 tsp – salt
170 grams (6 oz) – 0.75 cup – buttermilk, milk, yogurt, soy yogurt or soymilk
7 grams (0.25 oz) – 1 tbsp – vital wheat gluten (optional)
Mix them together in a bowl for a minute until the ingredients form a ball of dough. If you need more water or flour, add them a teaspoon at a time.
Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and leave it at room temperature for 12-24 hours. (Or refrigerate beyond that for upto 3 days, bring to room temperature and use.)
For the starter:
71 grams (2.5 oz) – 6 tbsp – stiff whole wheat or rye sourdough starter
213 grams (7.5 oz) – about 1 and 2/3 cups – whole rye flour
170 grams (6 oz) – 0.75 cup – filtered or spring water at room temperature
Mix them together in a bowl for a minute until the ingredients form a ball of dough. Knead for about 2 minutes. The dough will be tacky. If you need more water or flour, add them a teaspoon at a time. Rest for 5 minutes, knead with wet hands for a minute until the dough is smooth. A bit tacky is okay. It will absorb moisture as it sits.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and leave at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. The dough should nearly double in size and have a pleasantly acidic aroma like apple cider vinegar. If you test it with pH paper, it should register between 3.5 and 4.0.
Degas by kneading very gently.
This dough can be refrigerated for upto 3 days and used after bringing back to room temperature.
Soaker – chopped or pinched into 12 pieces
Starter – chopped or pinched into 12 pieces
5 grams (0.18 oz) (about 5/8 tsp) salt
56.5 grams (2 oz) whole wheat flour (about 7 tablespoons)
7 gms (0.25 oz) – 2.25 tsps – instant yeast
28.5 grams (1 oz) – 1.5 tbsps – unsulphured molasses/sorghum syrup/maple syrup
14 grams (0.5 oz) – honey/agave nectar/sugar/brown sugar (2.25 tsps honey/agave nectar or 1 tbsp. sugar/brown sugar)
28.5 grams (1 oz) – 2 tbsp – melted butter or vegetable oil
113 grams (4 oz) – diced onion (one very small onion) or 2 tbsps minced dried onion
7 grams (0.2 oz) – 2 tsps – caraway seeds/nigella seeds/aniseeds
Knead everything well for 5-7 by hand minutes until you have a not-too-sticky, supple dough. Form into a ball, let it rest covered with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes and knead for another minute. Add tbsp of flour or a tsp of water at a time to adjust the consistency if you need to.
If using a mixer, knead until it just comes together, and then knead by hand. Dust your palms liberally with flour. Knead until the dough feels soft and tacky, but not sticky.
Roll the dough into a ball and swirl it around an oiled bowl to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and and let it rise for 45-60 minutes until 1.5 times its original size.
If it is freestanding, place it on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal (or lined with parchment or silicone), dust with a bit of flour and let it rise covered for another 50 to 60 minutes until 1.5 times its original size.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F (218C) with an empty pan in the top rack and another rack in the middle.
When you are ready to bake, place it in the middle rack with the baking sheet, and pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the top rack. If using a loaf pan, we like to slash the loaf to release steam.
Reduce the heat to 350F (177C) and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaf registers at least 195F in the center. You can rotate it once at the 20 minute mark, but we didn’t find it necessary.
Cool on a wire rack for an hour.
This bread goes to:
Susan @ Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting
Event Details HERE
Camera: Canon EOS 300D
Lens: 100 mm macro
Shutter speed: 1/15 sec
ISO Speed: 200
DEADLINE: September 30, 2008