Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grandma's Bread #13

Making a going-away loaf for my lady, who will be San Jose at sommelier school next week. No better reason to bake some comfort food that she can bring with her!

Grandma's Bread #13 - Sept 14-15, 2009

Makes 2 loaves

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. In stand mixer bowl, pour in rye mixture. Add yeast, then honey, then flour. Using beater attachment, 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 10 minutes (should be 20, but I used 10 min this time).

3. NOW ADD THE SALT ALL AT ONCE. Mix using dough hook for 8 minutes, set to "2" (low speed). You may need to clean the dough hook once in a while. Dough will be very thick and sticky; it will never clear the sides of the bowl, more like a thick wet batter...it will not stop sticking! This is why the stand mixer is so handy. Total kneading time is 8 minutes. You will see some gluten strands forming in the dough towards the end.

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 inflated plastic grocery bag, and leave in warm place to rise for 2.5 hours.

7. Cover with inflated plastic grocery bag, and refrigerate for 6 hours.

8. Cover loaves with a towel, and let rise again at room temp (~74F) for 2 hours.

9. 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 with a serrated knife or a sharp razor blade, 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 exactly 40 minutes; they will look dark chocolate brown (almost black!) on top.

10. Take bread from oven, remove from pans. Let cool on rack, uncovered, for at least 30 min; will still be warm 2 hours later.

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

  • Inflatable grocery bag worked very well! Even when dough stuck to it, was easy to peel off without ruining texture.
  • Crust is as good as #12. There were huge, puffy bubbles on the top crust. Had to deflate these before baking; even then a few popped up.
  • Interior is less holey (see pix). I think it needs more fridge ferment time, more like #11 and #12
  • Flavor is the same, again, slightly more damp, with same flavor and texture.
  • Good rise and good oven spring.
  • Overall interior seems more damp than #11 and #12; but not too damp, still good. After 30 minutes of resting, still feels like there's steam/moisture coming out.
  • Brush tops with butter this time after removing from oven. Gives it a nice shine!
Notes/Next time:
  • Go back to longer fridge ferment time; 7.5 to 8 hours will be best, or overnight (like v11).
  • Might have used 5 extra minutes of bake time, or even letting it rest in the pan after removing from oven.

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