Deconstructed Saison Rye

Sais_apple

Rye %: 60%
Stages: Sponge, Scald, Opara, Hops tea, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, yeast
Start to Finish: 13-15 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 2¼ lb./1.0 kg loaf

This past weekend my friend Jim Crute, owner and brewmaster at the Lightning Brewery, decided to have a beer bread contest. Now, I’ve baked lots of beer rye breads, mainly from Finland, Germany and Sweden, and one of the challenges I invariably encounter is that I have virtually no control over the beer’s flavor profile, other than making my choice off the shelf. So I decided instead (since I thought it was time to start developing my own breads anyway) to take it from scratch and build a bread to my own tastes using the same ingredients brewers use: malt, hops and flavoring agents.

I settled on a Saison – a category of coriander or orange zest-spiced French farmhouse ales whose interpretation varies from brewer to brewer. My approach was to marry two breads in my collection – a hopped 65% wheat malt bread from Germany and one of my favorite Latvian breads, a 90% rye that uses multiple stages, including a yeasted scald-sponge (opara in Russian) to extract an enormous amount of flavor from its ingredients. I used three kinds of malt: a light Belgian Biscuit 18-27L for its sweetness, a slightly darker Belgian Aromatic 20L for its diastatic activity and pronounced malt flavors, and American Crystal 120L, a very dark roast that contributed pronounced coffee and chocolate notes. I also added an infusion of hops to frame the sweetness and a healthy dose of coriander for its citrus notes.

My Deconstructed Saison Rye turned out exactly the way I wanted it to, with a deep complexity and multiple layers of flavor that offered a nice balance of sweet, sour, bitter, and astringent against the sweet spiciness of the rye. I’m not going to say where I ended up in the competition; I will say, however, that people whose opinions I value described it as”comples,” “highly sophisticated,” and “not for everyone,” which is more than enough for me.

Sponge:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Medium rye flour

35

1.25

100%

Warm (105°F/41°C) water

15

0.55

43%

Rye sour

50

1.75

143%

Sais_sponge

 

Mix the sponge ingredients by hand until incorporated into a very stiff dough, cover and ferment at room temperature (68°-72°F/20°-22°C) 3½-4 hours. The sponge will have a clean sour smell and will have doubled in volume.

 

Scald:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Medium rye flour

175

6.15

100%

Boiling water

300

10.60

171%

Aromatic 20L beer malt

40

1.40

23%

Coriander, ground

8

0.30

5%

Sais_scaldIn a separate container mix the flour, water and coriander by hand into a stiff paste and let stand 4-5 minutes. Use a blender or spice grinder to grind the beer malt into a fine powder, sift to remove the husks, then stir it into the scald. Cover and place in a warm (145°-150°F/63°-65°C) oven for 3 hours. During that time, the scald will loosen considerably and become very sweet and fragrant.

 

Opara (Yeasted Scald-Sponge):

Ingredient Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

White rye flour

35

1.25

100%

Instant yeast

1

0.05

3%

Sponge

100

3.55

286%

Scald

523

18.45

1,495%

Sais_opara1Combine the flour, yeast  sponge and scald, in the mixer bowl and mix by hand until blended. Preheat the oven to 100°F/38°C, then turn it off. Cover the scald sponge and ferment in the oven, reheating to 100°F/38°C hourly, until doubled in bulk and fragrant with a sweet-sour smell, 3-5 hours. The longer the ferment, the strong the smell.

 

Hops Tea:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Hops pellets

3

0.10

100%

Boiling water

28

1.00

933%

Hops tea

 

Combine the hops pellets and water and let steep at room temperature 1-2 hours.

 

 

Final Dough:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

White rye flour

190

6.70

AP flour

210

7.40

Biscuit 18-27L beer malt, ground

20

0.70

Crystal 120L beer malt, ground

20

0.70

Water

75

2.65

Salt

15

0.55

Hops tea

31

1.10

Opara

659

23.25

Sais_dough_ingredCombine the final dough ingredients in the mixer and use the dough hook to mix at low (KA2) speed until the dough comes together in a stiff mass and starts gathering around the hook, 5-6 minutes. Cover and ferment in the warm oven, reheating to 100°F/38°C hourly, until doubled in bulk, 2-3 hours

 

 

Sais_proofedTurn the dough, which will be firm and only slightly sticky, onto a well-floured work surface, knead back to its original volume and shape into a boule. Place the boule seam side up into a floured bread form or linen-lined basket, cover and proof in the warm oven until the dough has expanded to about 1½ times its original volume and cracks appear on the surface.

 

Preheat the oven to 535°F/280°C with the baking surface in the middle. Flip the bread onto a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake with steam 12 minutes, then remove the steam pan, lower the temperature to 410°F/210°C and bake until the loaf thumps when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool 10-12 hours before slicing.

 SaisLoaf_brewery

Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient

g

%

TOTAL FLOUR

725

100.00%

   White rye flour

225

31.03%

   Medium rye flour

210

28.97%

   AP flour

210

28.97%

   Malted barley

80

11.03%

Water

418

57.66%

Salt

15

2.07%

Instant yeast

1

0.14%

Rye sour culture

50

6.90%

Coriander

8

1.10%

Hops

3

0.41%

TOTAL FORMULA

1,219

168.14%

Total flour prefermented

285

39.31%


4 Comments

  • Jack

    April 18, 2016

    some fresh roast turkey breast, a little cranberry sauce, lettuce and tomato — makes a nice sandwich!!

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      April 18, 2016

      I’m with you totally, although I had mine surrounding a Reuben the other night …. also not so bad!!!!

      Reply
  • Karin Anderson

    April 20, 2016

    Interesting experiment! I once tried to get one of our local micro breweries to sell me some of their spent grains for bread baking, but they rather feed it to the pigs.

    Reply
  • Stanley Ginsberg

    April 20, 2016

    Find another brewery. My friend Jim gives it away to anyone who asks.

    Reply

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