Monday, March 31, 2008

Sourdough Rye With Medium Rye

I was eager to try out the new medium rye flour as I've been baking with the heavy stuff which is well, heavy. I also experimented with using the caraway seeds on top, rather than in the dough so that the seed-haters can just brush them away. How anyone could hate a caraway seed is beyond do those freaks boil their potatoes? Anyway, this recipe will make two small loaves or one monster.

You Will Need:

1 cup fed starter

3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup First Clear flour

2 cups + medium rye flour

Caraway seeds if you like

In a large bowl, mix the fed starter with the warm water and break-up a bit. Stir in three cups of all purpose flour and mix well. Cover, and let soak3-6 hours. The longer it soaks, the more sour you get (I usually do about four because anything after that just seems like overkill).

The mixture should be bubbly by now. Stir in the sugar and salt. Mix in the cup of clear flour. Slowly add the rye flour about half a cup at a time until you have a sticky, but manageable dough. Resist the urge to add too much flour. I knead my breads by hand (the Kitchenaid bit the dust over a year ago and I never bothered to fix or replace it) and it takes a good ten to fifteen minutes of work to develop any gluten, even with the high protein First Clear flour. The medium rye was much easier to work with than the dark.

Place the bread in a buttered bow, turn to coat and cover again. It will need a good, long rise-probably close to three hours (or more) until doubled in bulk. Don't try to rush things by placing it atop the oven (it will dry out). Just be patient and let it rise slowly.

When the dough has doubled, divide it in two (if making two loaves) and let rest, covered for ten minutes. Sprinkle a baking sheet with semolina and shape the loaves as you like. Place on sheets. Brush the loaves lightly with water and sprinkle with caraway seeds and a bit of white flour (to prevent the towel from sticking. Cover with a cotton (not terry) towel and let sit another couple hours until almost doubled.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use whatever method you prefer to create steam and slash the loaves. Load into steaming oven and bake twenty minutes. Rotate pan, and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until well browned and internal temperature is around 190 degrees F. You can go to 200 degrees F. but watch to be sure it does not burn.

Cool completely on racks before cutting.

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