Experimenting with Flours

I’ve decided I do not like making rye bread. It’s just too emotionally-fraught for me. I can’t deal with this drama. I like my bread to tell me what it’s feeling. Rye bottles it all up inside until it explodes in one last burst of emotion. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Shall we continue?

Here’s the back story: last night “significant other” (we are trying to think up a good name for Mr. Bread Maiden) suggested pumpernickel bread as something to try. I learned that there is no way to get that great, super-dark coloring without artificial colors. boo. How is that authentic? Yet, I decided to continue the quest.

I couldn’t find a good rye/pumpernickel recipe online, so I gathered that it used about a 60% hydration. I had heard that making 100% rye bread was difficult, so I did 50% rye flour and 50% bread flour. Instead of finding “caramel color,” we brewed some strong coffee and I replaced some of the water with that.

For those of you who have never tried to make a mostly rye loaf, here is what you can expect:

That’s what the dough looks like. Even when I added a bunch of my bubbly starter. Even with all the high-protein bread flour. It just sat like that. All night long.

I wasn’t sure about the baking temperature, or why it wasn’t rising, or if it would be able to stand up in the oven, so I put it in a bread pan.

Here is what came out:

It was about the size and shape of a brick, although I was pleasantly surprised that it did spring up in the oven. Not that much, though, which is why you can still see the indentations of my fingers in the top of the loaf:

I was ready to throw it out and start over, but I cut into it so I could see the crumb.

Actually, that doesn’t look that bad. These breads are not supposed to be light and airy, they are supposed to be dense.

I took a bite. It was pretty good! Mr. Bread Maiden liked it too, and less hesitantly than me. He ate two pieces with the soup we made.

So it all worked out, I guess. I still would rather work with my trusty wheat flours, who tell me everything is going ok by rising and springing. They help me get through the long hours of waiting that try my patience in breadmaking.

Here is my recipe:
375g flour (divided into 187g rye and 189g bread flour)
225g water and coffee (60% of the flour weight)
100g starter
6g salt

1. Combine ingredients but do NOT knead. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit overnight.
2. Gently shape into a roll and place in a buttered bread pan.
3. Preheat oven to 470 degrees F.
4. Let bake 40 or so minutes.

Oh, and because the rye bread was driving me nuts, I went and made two other loaves to reassure myself that I actually do know how to make bread, it’s just this passive-aggressive rye that has me tearing my hair out.

1-2-3 Sourdough

Reinhart’s Many-Seed Bread (although Mr. Bread Maiden likes it with more grains than seeds, so this is a variation)

Thanks for stopping by!

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