Tuesday, April 01, 2008

First Rye Levain & More

Since my last post I've been too busy making bread, boiling sap, working, and playing with the kids to actually write about making bread. I've made two successful attempts with my new Rye Levain. The first is the seedy baguette from "Local Breads". Can anyone tell that I just got that book and am working my way through it? It's only my third bread book and I'm very impressed with the attention to detail and testing that must have been done to get the formulas down for home-scale production. I forgot to take any before shots each of the three times I've made this one in the last ten days, but I do have some nice after photos.

Seeing that I've made three batches in ten days, I guess they were pretty popular around the house and at work. It's pretty easy to make if you're not afraid of slack dough. Although, you do need to have a German Rye Levain handy.

German Rye Levain 100g
Rolled Oats 28g
Sunflower Seeds 28g
Pumpkin Seeds 28g
Sesame Seeds 28g
Water (room temp.) 525g
Instant Yeast 5g
High Gluten Flour 500g
Sea Salt 10g

1. Combine Oats and Seeds in a bowl and mix with 175g Water. Allow to sit overnight.
2. The following day, combine soaker with the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with dough hook on medium-low (KitchenAid 3) for 8 minutes.
3. Scrape bowl and dough hook down and allow to rest (autolyse) for 10 minutes.
4. Mix again on med.-low for 6 minutes.
5. In an oiled bowl, ferment for 2 to 2.5 hours at room temperature, until dough has doubled. Halfway through this time, pre-heat your oven to 450F and get a steam pan ready.
6. Turn dough gently onto a well-floured surface and form into a rough rectangle. This would be a good time to measure out water or ice for your steam pan. I find that 3/4 cup cold water works fine for me to create a steamy oven for about the first 12-15 minutes of the baking time, which is about all you want.
7. Cut into 3 equal pieces and gently form each into baguettes.
8. Transfer them gently onto a parchment paper covered peel or the back of a baking sheet. I use a baking sheet because they seem to fit better than on my peel. I can do 2 on one sheet and then do the last loaf solo. If you have a bigger peel/baking sheet/baking stone go ahead and do all three at once.
9. Slide them onto them baking stone in your oven, fill the steam pan with your cold water/ice and set a timer for 15 minutes.
10. Rotate 180 degrees at the 15 minute mark and re-set for 15 more minutes.
11. They should be nice and dark golden brown. Leader calls for reddish brown, but what you're looking for is a really deep, dark golden brown verging on "did I wait too long" here and there.
12. Cool for at least an hour if you can withstand the intoxicating nutty aroma that long. After that, go out and buy Leader's "Local Breads" if you don't own it already. You won't regret it.

I also made a 70% Rye German Farmhouse bread using my rye levain, but forgot to take pictures;
...and one of my weekly breads, Norwich Sourdough

Aside from making bread and working, we also tapped two of our five sugar maples ten days ago, and boiled our first 6 gallons of precious sap down to 2.5 pints of pretty nice looking, and tasting, syrup. I plan to figure out a bread to sneak some into and post about that some time soon. Amy has said she plans on blogging about this on her blog, so I'll let her show off the pictures of the professional sugar-shack we visited, our thoroughly unprofessional sugaring operation, and the liquid gold itself. Unfortunately, she's off to Maryland for the funeral of one of her cousins who died completely unexpectedly last week. So you'll just have to wait until Amy is back and in a blogging mood to hear more about it and see the pictures.

1 comment:

Boaz said...

I love Daniel Leader's "Local Breads," too. Despite all the typos, it is a fantastic book.