Rye bread again and again!

I really want to perfect my rye bread. I’ve been making it over and over again from the Tartine Bread book, but with slight variations. My first try in this post was with beer yeast.


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I used the yeast from a bottle of beer and mixed in bread flour and warm water. I let it sit for about a day.


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I found with a beer yeast starter, a lot more alcohol leeches out into the starter (as my arrow points out).


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When it past the float test, I mixed it up with the rye bread ingredients.


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Once the dough rests (you can see the change: smoother and puffy)


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Add salt and a little water and squeeze it in there.


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Then give it a couple of stretch and folds. Every 30 min, for 3 hours.

I try to make just one loaf for experiment sake. So after the first rise, I shaped the dough into a ball, trying to create tension on the surface. Let it rest for about 30 min and see if it’s pancaked. If it has, it needs more kneading or stretches/folds.


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Then shape again, and place the ball upside down in a prepared bowl. In the Tartine book they use wheat and rice flour dusted on a cloth lined basket. I just use an oil sprayed bowl, but it does stick a little.


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I was very exciting about using my new combo cooker. A combo cooker is 2 cast iron pans, one shallow and one deep AND only 35$! The bread dough is baked in the shallow pan and the deep pan is the cover to seal the bread in. Heat up the combo cooker, separated, in the oven for about 20min before baking.


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I used some welder gloves to protect my arms; the combo cooker is super hot!


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I think in the Tartine book, they put the risen dough straight into the shallow pan. I tried that but it turns into a blob.. maybe I didn’t shape it enough before..


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So I shape the dough once again on some parchment paper, score the top of the bread and slide parchment and all into the shallow pan.


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Immediately into the oven; cover with the deep pan to create the seal. This seal doesn’t let the steam escape from inside the pan, creating an almost bakery style bread! I was always scared to spray water inside my oven. I heard if water hits the glass door, it could crack and your oven is toast.

So bake the bread for 20min then cover off. The bread should have a shiny light gold colour and nice oven spring!


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Bake for another 20min or so. At the end, the crust will be super dark. The bread crust will be crunchy and it does look like it’s directly from a bakery. This crust should be darker..


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The crumb is still sticky. Chewy, lots of holes but still sticky.


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My next rye bread I made with a simple poolish. I added beer grain, caraway seeds, some ground flax and whole flax seeds.


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This bread tasted awesome but I had my problems.

I left it in the fridge for about 16 hours and I think it over rose. I left it on the counter for 2 more hours.. not a good idea. I wanted to lift the chill from the dough, but it over rose some more and also became to sticky to shape.


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I slopped it into the pan and it had no oven spring. But man, it was tasty.


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So I’d take it out of the fridge about 20 min before baking, and maybe shape it again. Also, using a poolish probably rose the dough a lot faster than I thought.

My last rye bread turned out nice. I added more flour because I couldn’t get used to the stickiness and it did well. It turned out tacky and not sticky. However, it didn’t have as many big holes. Still nice and chewy though!


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Next research is for a thick crunchy crust..

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