Crusty Country Rye/Bauernkrustenbrot (Austria)

Crusty Country Rye_slice

Rye %: 66%
Stages: Sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Yeast
Start to Finish: 15-17 hours
Hands-on Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb./675 g loaves

Austrian rye breads are less well-known than their German cousins, which is a shame because they’re incredibly flavorful. I found the recipe for this well-balanced nutty-sweet-sour country loaf in probably the best of the Austrian bread books, Der Duft von frischem Brot (The Aroma of Fresh-Baked Bread) by Barbara van Melle. The recipe itself comes from Vienna baker Horst Felzl, who, had he been 2 cm taller, as the book states, and qualified for the police academy, would never have become one of Austria’s best bakers.

Like its baker, this bread is best of breed – a 66% Alpine rye whose rich and balanced flavor profile comes from an intensely sour 10-12 hour sponge and the sweet-nutty flavors of light-medium (Type 960) rye flour. A high-temperature (480°F/250°C) bake produces the thick, chewy crust that Europeans favor, while the addition of commercial yeast and a healthy addition of stale rye bread (Altbrot) create a moist, tender and open crumb.

This Crusty Country Rye is a superb all-around bread that complements mild flavors like butter and scrambled eggs and holds its own against the strong flavors of cured meats and fish, soups and stews, and cheeses of all kinds.

Sponge (Day 1, Evening):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Medium rye flour

245

8.65

100%

Warm (105°F/41°C) water

200

7.05

82%

Rye sour culture

25

0.90

10%

Crusty Country Rye_sponge1

 

Combine the sponge ingredients into a fairly stiff dough, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) 10-12 hours or overnight.

 

 

Crusty Country Rye_sponge2

 

The sponge will have visibly expanded.

 

 

 

Soaker (Day 2, Morning) :

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Stale rye bread

75

2.65

100%

Hot (160°F/70°C) water

150

5.30

200%

Crusty Country Rye_soak1

 

Cut or crumble the stale bread into chunks (a food processor also works well). Add the hot water, stirring to make sure all the bread is moistened. Cover and let stand 3 hours.

 

Crusty Country Rye_soak2

 

Use your hands or a fork to crush the soaked bread fine.

 

 

 

Final Dough (Day 2, Midday):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Sponge

470

16.60

Soaker

225

7.95

White rye flour

250

8.80

Bread flour, unsifted

250

8.80

Warm (105°F/41°C) water

370

13.05

Salt

20

0.70

Instant yeast

5

0.20

Crusty Country Rye_mix

In the mixer bowl, combine the final dough ingredients and use the dough hook at low (KA2) speed to mix until the dough is fully blended, 7-8 minutes.

 

 

Crusty Country Rye_bulk2

Cover and ferment at room temperature until the dough doubles in volume, 60-90 minutes.

 

 

 

Crusty Country Rye_proof1

Turn the dough, which will be soft and sticky, onto a well-floured work surface and divide it into two pieces, each weighing about 1¾ lb/800 g. Use floured hands to shape each piece into a boule and place into a floured brotform or cloth-lined proofing basket.

 

 

Crusty Country Rye_proof2

 

Cover and proof at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume and the surface shows cracks or broken bubbles, 45-60 minutes.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C with the baking surface in the middle and a steam pan on a lower shelf. Bake with steam 10 minutes, then remove the steam pan and continue baking at 480°F/250°C until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 35-40 minutes, leaving the oven door open for the last 10 minutes. (For a less thick crust, reduce the temperature to 435°F/225°C and bake 40-45 minutes.) Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Crusty Country Rye_loaf

Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient

g

%

TOTAL FLOUR

745

100.00%

   Bread flour

250

33.56%

   White rye flour

250

33.56%

   Medium rye flour

245

32.89%

Water

570

76.51%

Salt

20

2.68%

Instant yeast

5

0.67%

Rye sour

25

3.36%

Soaker water

150

20.13%

Old bread

75

10.07%

TOTAL FORMULA

1,590

213.42%

Flour prefermented

245

32.89%

 


6 Comments

  • Michiel

    June 8, 2016

    They look great Stqnley. I have come across recipe’s with white or light rye flour before. I’m told you can use the ‘normal’ darker rye flour if you sift if. I have tried that once and with good results. But maybe it is still not the same as light rye?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      June 8, 2016

      The general answer is yes, you can substitute a darker flour, sifted or not, which will produce a loaf with stronger rye flavor.

      Reply
  • Karin Anderson

    June 10, 2016

    My kind of bread – it looks wonderful! I just got Barbara van Melle’s book, after reading a very positive review on Ploetzblog. Very inspiring!

    Reply
  • aldo

    September 1, 2016

    Beautiful recipe, do you have another recipe with similar result but without wheat flour ?

    Reply
  • Paul

    October 29, 2016

    Wow a labour of love. I lived in Austria and this bread was amazing, just wish I could buy this in the UK. Great detailed recipie.

    Thanks

    Reply

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