Monday, February 02, 2009

Grandma's Bread #10

OK, I've decided to use a numbering scheme for Grandma's bread instead of the year. Although the best one so far has been the 1st of 2009, this may be better, and will make it easier to track.

Grandma's Bread #10 - February 1-2 2009

1-1/4 cups water
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/3 cup rye flour

6-1/4 cup AP wheat flour
2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup honey
3-1/2 + 1/8 tsp table salt

1. Over medium-low heat, warm buttermilk and water, stirring occasionally, just until it curdles and remove from heat. Stir in all rye flour, cover tightly and leave at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours).

2. Into dough mixture, add white flour, yeast, honey. Mix on speed "2" for 2 minutes, until the dough is uniform. It will look like a thick, uniform batter at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. NOW ADD THE SALT ALL AT ONCE. Mix using dough hook set to "1" or "2" (low speed). You may need to clean the dough hook once ina while. Dough will be very thick and sticky; it will never clear the sides of the bowl; while mixing, maybe 50% will clear the sides while the other 50% adheres to the bottom. It will not stop sticking! This is why the stand mixer is so handy. Total kneading time is 6-7 minutes. You will see some gluten strands when you're done.

6. Grease two bread pans with butter, and dust them with white flour. Using a wooden spoon or stiff bowl scraper, turn out the sticky dough onto a very well floured board. Form into a single round; dough will be very soft but with a well-floured board, won't be very sticky and will form a smooth surface. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces, shape dough into loaves (they will feel pretty soft, not quite baby's bottom but close) and place in bread pans. Press down on dough to get loaf to expand across the bottom of the pan. 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, and REMOVE PLASTIC WRAP carefully; it may be sticky (if it sticks, try pulling gently from the opposite direction). The loaves will have just about doubled in size.

8. Cover loaves with a towel, and let rise again at room temp (~74F) for 1 hour (645-745). 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, 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 40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped; they will look dark chocolate brown (almost black, but not!) on top. Alternately, should be done somewhere around 190-210 degrees.

8. Take bread from oven, remove from pans, and brush tops with 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.


  • Crust color, evenness and flavor:
  • Salt/honey amount:
  • Texture/crumb:
  • Rye flavor: good, but mild

Notes/Next time:
  • Dough is very sticky while mixing; maybe use beater instead of dough hook in mixer? Still use low settings 1-2. It doesn't clear the bowl, EVER. Using a spoon or a scraper to make sure flour at bottom is incorporated as well is important.
  • Turning out onto WELL-FLOURED board is the key; then it comes together and shapes very easily and smoothly before forming into loaves.
  • I ran out of honey, so I used a little less than 1/2 cup of honey and added about 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • I ran out of table salt, so I did 1tsp table salt + 3 tsp kosher salt. I don't know if this will work out the same way, we'll see.

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