Heavy Country Loaf/Schweres Bauernbrot

Schweres_cut

Rye %: 65%
Stages: Sponge, final dough
Leaven: Sour culture, yeast
Start to Finish: 14-16 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 4 lb. (1.8 kg.) loaf

I find myself drawn to heavy, rustic rye breads, and this one, which I adapted from the formula of a north German baker named Albert Schäfer, really lives up to its name. This is a coarse, chewy, quintessenial rye bread with a moist and tender crumb, great mouth feel – thanks to the seeds and coarse rye meal – and an intensely tangy finish that provides a lovely counterpoint to the sweetness of the spelt or wheat.

Technically, this recipe is interesting because it doesn’t call for a bulk ferment; instead, the dough goes directly into a parchment-lined loaf pan and proofs at 100°F/41°C for just one hour. Also, unlike the vast majority of rye breads I’ve baked, this one neither uses steam nor calls for temperature adjustments during the bake, but bakes at a steady 395°F/200°C for nearly two hours.

In all, it’s a simple, straightforward and very rewarding loaf:  Filling. Tasty. Great with strong cheeses and smoked fish and meats.

Sponge (Day 1, Evening):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
Percentage
Medium rye flour

280

9.90

100%

Water

280

9.90

100%

Rye sour

40

1.40

14%

Schweres_sponge1

 

Combine the sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, cover and ferment at room temp (70°F/21°C) 10-12 hours or overnight.

 

 

Schweres_sponge2

 

The sponge will have doubled in volume and show cracks on the surface.

 

 

 

Final Dough (Day 2, Morning):

Schweres_ingred

Ingredient Grams Ounces
Warm (110°F/43°C) water

240

8.45

Fresh yeast

13

0.45

Coarse rye meal

240

8.45

Whole spelt or wheat flour

280

9.90

Sunflower seeds

15

0.55

Pumpkin seeds

10

0.35

Sesame seed

10

0.35

Flaxseed

10

0.35

Salt

15

0.55

Rolled oats for topping

As needed

Schweres_mixAdd the yeast and water to the sponge, then use the paddle at low (KA 2) speed to mix until evenly blended, 2-3 minutes. Continue mixing while gradually adding the rye meal, spelt or wheat flour, seeds, and salt until the dough comes together in a sticky, homogeneous mass, 6-8 minutes.

 

 

Schweres_loaf1

Use a wet bowl scraper to transfer the dough into a 9″x4″x4″/23 x 10 x 10 cm Pullman loaf pan or standard 9″ x 5″ x 3½” loaf pan lined with greased parchment. Use wet hands to pack the dough down and smooth the top crust.

 

 

Schweres_loaf2

 

Brush the loaf with water, sprinkle generously with rolled oats, cover with plastic wrap and proof in a 100°F/41°C oven until the dough reaches the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

 

 

Remove the plastic wrap, raise the oven temperature to 395°F/200°C and bake until the loaf thumps when tapped with a finger and the internal temp is at least 198°F/92°C, 1¾-2 hours. Unpan the loaf to a rack and immediately remove the parchment. Brush all sides of the loaf generously with boiling water and let stand for at least 24 hours before slicing.

Schweres_loaf_final

Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient

g

%

TOTAL FLOUR

800

100.00%

  Rye flour

280

35.00%

  Spelt or wheat flour

280

35.00%

  Coarse rye meal

240

30.00%

Water

520

65.00%

Salt

15

1.88%

Fresh yeast

13

1.63%

Rye sour

40

5.00%

Sunflower seeds

15

1.88%

Sesame seed

10

1.25%

Pumpkin seeds

10

1.25%

Flaxseed

10

1.25%

TOTAL FORMULA

1,425

178.13%

Total dough prefermented

280

35.00%


8 Comments

  • Justin

    January 8, 2016

    When you say “rye sour”, what do you mean?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      January 8, 2016

      the rye seed culture.

      Reply
      • Justin

        January 9, 2016

        What’s in it – rye flour, water, and yeast I assume – but what percentage?

        Reply
  • Brad

    January 10, 2016

    Hi Stan. I’m so glad you started this blog. With your help, I am hoping to master high percentage rye breads. In your photo of the ingredients the coarse rye meal looks like some commercially available rye chops (specifically from Bob’s Red Mill). When I have used these, they tend to be as a soaker in my wheat breads and they sit overnight in water to soften. Since you don’t soak them, they must absorb a fair amount of water from the dough, so what effect does it have on the overall behavior of the dough? And if this is coarse rye meal, what exactly are chops?

    I look forward to many more of your posts. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Ballroom_billy

    January 12, 2016

    Stan, I was wondering about the brushing the sides of the loaf with boiling water. I’ve never heard of that and was wondering about it’s purpose.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      January 14, 2016

      It’s done to soften the crust, which, given rye’s relatively high baking temperatures, can become dentally challenging.

      Reply
  • Karin Anderson

    January 15, 2016

    Looks like a very nice bread, especially with all those tasty seeds (do you toast them before adding them?).
    Fermenting it directly in the pan makes handling sticky, coarse dough much easier, no shaping needed, and this kind of bread is supposed to be dense, anyway.
    Instead of brushing the hot loaf with water, you can also mist it with a sprayer bottle – faster and easier.
    Is there a function on this website to notify users of other comments?

    Reply
  • Promise

    February 15, 2016

    I have just been bitten by the bread baking bug. I hope to one day turn out a loaf as lovely as this one! Looks so delicious!

    Reply

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