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Sourdough

Guest Post: Why Am I Marketing Baltic Rye Bread?

by John Melngailis – Partner, Black Rooster Food, LLC


NOTE:
I first met John Melngailis at Bread Furst, James Beard winner Mark Furstenburg’s Washington DC bakery. Mark had been kind enough to arrange for me to appear at the bakery to publicize
The Rye Baker, and invited John, whose love of his native Latvian rye breads prompted him to found Black Rooster Food and start baking them commercially. Needless to say, John and I hit it off immediately, spending a good part of the morning talking about the marvels of Baltic rye. He was also kind enough to bring me a loaf of each of his breads — dense, sweet-sour rupjmaize, and a triangular loaf of his fruit-and-nut holiday bread, both of which were extraordinary. So when John sent me this essay on his relationship with the bread he loves, I simply had to share; it’s a fascinating read. Keep Reading

Vitebsk Rye/Vitebskiy Chleb (Belarus)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, Scald, Scald-sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 11 hours
Hands-on Time: 40-50 minutes
Yield: One 2¼ lb/1.0 kg loaf

I’d been meaning to make Vitebsk Rye for some time – ever since I found it in Mike Zhuravel’s magnificent Russian-language bread blog, O Khlebye. The result made me wonder why I’d waited so long: this is a truly splendid Belarusian rye bread.

Keep Reading

A Coast-to-Coast South Tyrolean (Merano) Rye/Meraner Striezl

Rye %: 61%
Stages: 2-stage rye sponge, Wheat sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 26-30 hours
Hands-on Time: 45-60 minutes
Yield: Two 28 oz/800 g loaves

If there’s a rye bread equivalent of the Perfect Storm – that is, when all the ideal conditions come together at the same time – this bread is it. Start with the formula for a classic South Tyrolean Merano Rye from Austrian master baker/blogger Dietmar Kappl, then use it to showcase two spectacular artisan flours – California-grown Abruzzi rye from Grist & Toll and organic heritage emmer from Maine Grains – and you come up with a bread that’s very, very special. Keep Reading

8-Hour Quick Sponge Deli Rye

Rye %: 40%
Stages: 2-Stage quick sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 7-8 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb/700 g loaves

Deli rye – that light, open-crumbed, caraway-fragrant New York classic – is what most Americans think of when they hear “rye bread.” Without getting into the rightness or wrongness of that fact, deli rye is without question the bread to wrap around a thick layer of pastrami, corned beef or pickled tongue – with or without Swiss cheese, cole slaw, sauerkraut, mustard and/or Russian dressing. So when my wife went shopping one morning and came back with a package of heavily peppered, deep pink pastrami, there was no question about how we were going to eat it. Keep Reading

Oldenburg Rye/Oldenburger Landbrot (Germany)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 22-28 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 3 lb./1.36 kg loaf

For a bread that many Germans consider to be a best of breed Lower Saxony rye, recipes for Oldenburg Rye are surprisingly scarce; in fact, it took me several months, plus the help of a German baking friend, to locate this recipe on the website of a large north German baking ingredients company.

The search was worth the hassle: this is a bread that combines the robust flavors and mouth-feel of coarse rye meal with the moist crumb of a stale-bread soaker and the intense sour of an 18-24 hour sponge. Keep Reading

Muscovite Rye/Podmoskovny Rye (Russia)

Rye %: 69%
Stages: Sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 9-10 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: One  1 ½ lb/700g loaf

I recently was able to get hold of a couple of kilos of Russian rye flour, and so what better bread to try it out on than a Russian rye bread that specifically calls for this type of flour? The recipe comes from O Khlebe, the Russian-language blog that’s my go-to source for all breads Russian. Its name comes from its origin, Podmoskva, the region surrounding Moscow — so a northern bread with the lighter color and milder flavor associated with Russia’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban center. Keep Reading

Ketex’s Crusty Boule/Bauernkruste (Germany)

Rye %: 89%
Stages: Sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 18-20 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 2½ lb/1.2 kg loaf

I found this flavorful, crusty rye bread in one of the first German baking books I acquired, Rustikale Brote aus deutschen Landen (Rustic Breads from the German Countryside) by Gerhard Kellner, a well-known German bread blogger who goes by the nickname “Ketex.” It intrigued me for a couple of reasons. Keep Reading

Latgalian Rye/Latgaliešu Maize (Latvia)

 

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, Scald, 2-Stage sponge-scald
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 28-32 hours
Hands-on Time: 45-50 minutes
Yield: One 3.15 lb/1.40 kg loaf

Latgalian Rye is one of those complex Baltic breads I’d been meaning to make for some time, but life, as usual, got in the way. Finally, having found the time to devote to this flavorful, technically interesting Baltic rye, I took the plunge.

Like other Latvian rye breads I’ve eaten, this one features a dark, chewy crust, close yet tender crumb and distinctive sweet-sour flavor profile. Likewise, the use of multiple pre-doughs, including not just a sponge, but also a scald and two sour-scalds, produce enormously complex and nuanced flavors. Keep Reading

Sourdough Auvergne Rye Loaf/Tourte de Seigle (France)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Stage 1 sponge, Stage 2 sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 14-16 hours
Hands-on Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: Two 1¾ lb/800 g loaves

A couple of months ago, I posted a recipe for this Auvergne classic that used both a rye sour sponge and a yeasted rye sponge. Then I came across a video from the École internationale de boulangerie for this same bread, but built on a sour sponge only. Of course, me being me, I had to bake it as well – both for my own curiosity and also because I was teaching a rye baking workshop for the Bread Bakers Guild of America and needed about 2 lb/900g of stale rye bread, which I didn’t have on hand. This bread, being 100% rye and devoid of flavoring agents outside of salt, was the perfect candidate for staling (with enough left over for comparison tasting with my earlier loaf). Keep Reading

The “Juicy One”/Das Saftige (Germany)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sour sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 13-15 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: One 3-lb/1.35 kb loaf

Odd name for a bread, The “Juicy One,” especially since this close-crumbed, rustic north German bread is anything but “saftig,” German, for “juicy. But if you consider its broader meaning (which survives in the Yiddish word zoftig) of “ripe,” “luscious” and “mouth watering,” then the description is spot-on, for this bread has a rich, mouth-filling texture and subdued sweet spiciness that showcases rye in all its glory. Keep Reading