Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grandma's Bread 2008 Again

OK, here's the usual end-of-year bread, taking it back east to PA.

Using different flour this type (Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye, instead of usual Hodgson's Rye or Arrowhead Mills Rye).

Makes 2 loaves

2 c. buttermilk
1.25 c. water
1lb 8oz rye flour, unsifted

2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 tbsp. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. warm water (120 degrees)

1 lb 14oz unbleached white flour, unsifted
4 tbsp. gluten
1/2 c. honey
3 tsp salt

4 tbsp. melted butter

1. Over medium-low heat, warm buttermilk and water, stirring occasionally, just until it curdles and remove from heat. Stir in 1.5 lb. rye flour, cover tightly and leave in warm place. Or, refrigerate and bring back to room temperature before continuing

2. The next day, combine yeast, 1 tbsp. flour, and warm water, and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast mixture gets bubbly.

3. Into dough mixture, add yeast mixture, honey, and gluten. Stir in 1.5 lb. of white flour and mix for about 2-3 minutes, until the dough is somewhat uniform. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

4. NOW ADD THE SALT ALL AT ONCE. Mix using dough hook set to "1" or "2" (low speed). You will need to clean the dough hook often (every 10 seconds or so), because the dough will bunch up a lot, over the top of the dough hook. After a couple of minutes, it MAY stop sticking. Total kneading time should be about 5-7 minutes.

6. Grease two bread pans with butter, and dust them with white flour. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces, shape dough into loaves (they will feel like firm little logs) and place in bread pans. Cover with plastic wrap and towel, and leave in warm place to rise for 1 hour. Refrigerate covered for 7-8 hours; you can leave it up to (but not more than) 24 hours.

7. Remove loaves from fridge, remove plastic wrap, cover with towel, and let rise again in warm place for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 450, adjust racks to put bread on 2nd to lowest rack, and put an empty broiler pan at the bottom. Slash loaves down the center; brush tops with butter, and place bread pans on rack in the oven. Add 1 cup hot water to pan to steam and close door. Bake at 450 for 30-40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped (this time, did 30).

8. Take bread from oven, remove from pans, and brush tops with remaining butter. Let cool on rack, uncovered, for at least 30 min; will still be warm 2 hours later.

9. Store in large Ziploc freezer bags when cool; this will help promote a soft crust.

  • Ferment mixture: was more like thick dough/paste, not loose like the "sour cream" that grandma described at all
  • Mixer kept getting clogged from the dough, had to clear the hook every 10 seconds, barely could turn; dough was pretty hard and sticky
  • NEXT TIME: try increasing rise time after retarding (increase 3 hours).

  • Nice dark crust on top, great rich toasty dark flavor
  • Crust is nice and thin/crispy
  • Excellent salt-to-dough ratio, perfect amount of salt
  • When cooled for 2 hours, very soft & tender & somewhat chewy, but not wet AFAIK
  • Nice rye flavor
  • Crumb is very even, small holes, a bit too small; should be about 1/8" size, and more bagel-like chewy
  • Was still a little moist in the middle of the loaf; needs to bake longer.
For next time:
  • Try coarser rye flour
  • Try kneading by hand
  • Try less rye, more white flour
  • Try less flour overall; more slack should yield bigger bubbles
  • Try longer baking time: 40-50 minutes should be good.
Here's a photo, just from the oven:

And here's a texture/crumb shot (sorry, quality isn't great, but I don't have a decent digicam right now).

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