Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wild yeast ("sourdough") rye

I made this straight out of Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb, but I have a few notes I want to make.

After trying coffee and cocoa powder to get a dark rye bread, and even attempting to make my own caramel color, I finally gave up and just ordered the little jar of powdered caramel color from King Arthur. But along the experimental way, I decided I really like the flavor and aroma that the cocoa powder delivers, even if it doesn't add the color I was looking for. So this time I used a scant tablespoon of cocoa powder as well as a scant tablespoon of powdered caramel color.
(My real purpose in buying the powdered stuff is to try to make marble rye bread, just because I think it's cool. This time I used it just for kicks, to see how dark it made the bread! I was very pleased.)

This recipe calls for making a rye starter from ripe wild-yeast starter one day, which I did, and then a secondary starter the day after, before finally making the finished dough on the third day. I baked the bread that same day I made the final dough, rather than shaping the loaves and then retarding them in the fridge overnight and baking them on the 4th day as Reinhart suggests. I have not yet found a good method for getting the breads into the fridge and keeping them well-covered so the edges don't dry out. He suggests a giant food-safe bag, but I haven't found a source for those.


susan said...

Yumm...those look great! A 4 day process sounds complex, though--am I imagining it more hands-on than it is?

Tall Kate said...

It really is good bread, and, as a bonus, it takes forever to get stale. ;-)

And as for 4 days (or 3, as I did it) . . . as usual with breadbaking, it sounds a lot more intimidating than it is. The first two days' work is just measuring and mixing, then letting it rest/rise for a few hours, then putting it into the fridge. The third day is more like a typical bread-baking day, so again, not a ton of hands-on work.

Getting starter going can be sort of a chore, though I'm a big fan of letting mine go dormant in the fridge then feeding it a couple of times a day for a few days before I need it.

As you can see I can talk bread endlessly!

susan said...

Fine by me. I'll have to try this sort of bread one of these days. Once I get through my burst of apple enthusiasm.