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.

The magic starts with a 60% hydrated sponge, which favors acetic acid (vinegar) production, and a high-temperature, 12-hour  rye flour/pale (diastatic) rye malt/caraway scald that not only unlocks the natural sweetness of the rye, but also transforms the caraway’s assertive astringency into a floral aromatic reminiscent of anise.

Now for the really interesting stuff: the first sponge-scald ripens at 130°F/55°C, which is the borderline temperature at which its resident microorganisms die and amylase enzyme-driven starch to sugar conversion starts to peak. The result is greater flavor intensity on both the sweet and sour scales. Meanwhile, the second sponge-scald simply entails the addition of a small amount of yeast and overnight ripening at room temperature (70°F/21°C). This restores the leavening power that the first stage eliminated with the death of the yeast contributed by the sponge without significantly affecting the sweetness of the loaf.

Finally, the long first-stage bake at 480°F/250°C not only maximizes oven spring, but also produces the dark, chewy crust I’ve encountered in almost all the Baltic ryes I’ve eaten, while a starch-and-water glaze applied at the end of the bake gives the loaves their characteristic glossy finish.

In all this is a wonderful, best-of-breed loaf that pairs beautifully with cured and smoked meats, strong cheeses and pickled herring.

Scald (Day 1, Morning):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Wholegrain rye flour

320

11.30

100%

Hot (150°F/65°C) water

650

22.95

203%

Pale rye malt

20

0.70

6%

Caraway seed, ground

2

0.05

1%

In the mixer bowl, mix the scald ingredients by hand into a firm porridge, cover and let stand at 150°F/65°C until it smells like apples, has a sweet taste and the consistency of pancake batter, 10-12 hours.

Sponge (Day 1, Morning):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Wholegrain rye flour

50

1.75

100%

Warm (105°F/41°C) water

30

1.05

60%

Rye sour culture

20

0.70

40%

Mix the sponge ingredients by hand into a stiff dough, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until the sponge has visibly expanded and has a pronounced vinegar smell, 10-12 hours.

 

 

Sour-Scald 1 (Day 1, Afternoon)

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Sponge

100

3.55

100%

Scald

992

35.00

992%

Combine the sponge and scald, cover and let stand at 130°F/55°C until it has a strong smell of apple cider, 6-7 hours.

Sour-Scald 2 (Day 1, Evening)

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Sour-Scald 1 1

1092

38.50

100%

Instant yeast, ¼ tsp

1

0.05

0.01%

Add the instant yeast to Opara 1, stir to blend, cover and ferment overnight, 10-12 hours, at room temperature. In the morning, the mixture will be extremely bubbly and have a distinctive sweet-sour taste.

 

 

Final Dough (Day 2, Morning):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Sponge-Scald 2

1093

38.55

Wholegrain rye flour

600

21.15

Water

100

3.55

Salt

5

0.20

Honey

30

1.05

Add the final dough ingredients to the Opara 2 and use the dough hook at low (KA2) speed to mix until the dough is fully blended into a firm, sticky mass that gathers around the hook, 7-8 minutes.

 

 

Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and used floured hands to shape it into an oblong loaf, then place it on a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or on a parchment-lined sheet pan.

 

Brush the loaf with water, cover it with a tea towel and proof at room temperature, brushing with water every 15 minutes, until it has expanded to about 1 ½ times its original volume and shows cracks and broken bubbles, 45-50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C with the baking surface in the upper third. Brush the loaf with water and bake without steam for 40-45 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 390°F/200°C and continue to bake until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 200°F/93°C, about 20 minutes more.

Glaze:

Ingredient Grams Ounces
Cornstarch or potato starch, 1 tsp

3

0.10

Water, 1 cup

227

8.00

Bring about three-fourths of the water to a boil. Dissolve the starch in the remaining water and add it to the boiling water, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Brush the hot glaze on the top crust and return the loaf to the oven until the glaze sets, 3-4 minutes. Transfer  to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient

g

%

TOTAL FLOUR

990

100.00%

   Whole rye flour

970

97.98%

   Malted rye

20

2.02%

Water

680

68.69%

Salt

5

0.51%

Instant yeast

0.5

0.05%

Rye sour culture

20

2.02%

Honey

30

3.03%

Caraway

2

0.20%

TOTAL FORMULA

1,728

174.49%

Flour Prefermented

390

39.39%

 


12 Comments

  • Marisa

    April 7, 2017

    Thank you Stan,
    Am busy making 2 other of your bread recipes today, so this one has to wait.
    I note caraway in the baker’s percentages but I think it is missing from the ingredients/instructions. (Perhaps kümmel is considered optional for some taste buds (not mine), but is it here an unintentional omission?)
    I may have to sub in diastatic barley malt, which was hard enough to source where I live, as I have yet to make time to sprout/malt rye).
    This website is interrupting progress in baking my way through your book! 😉 Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      April 7, 2017

      You’ll find the caraway in the scald ingredients.

      Reply
      • Marisa

        April 7, 2017

        Excellent. Thanks. Manifest risk of reading web pages on my old phone.

        Reply
  • Steve

    April 7, 2017

    Is this the same as the Riga Rye in your book? They look similar.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      April 7, 2017

      Similar in appearance, different in preparation: the Riga Rye uses only one sponge-scald that ripens for 3-5 hours; the Latgalian Rye uses a two-stage method that requires about 18 hours.

      Reply
  • Władysław

    April 9, 2017

    How it is, that the wholegrain rye bread has such a light coloured crumb?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      April 9, 2017

      Wholegrain doesn’t necessarily produce a dark crumb; a lot of it has to do with baking temperature, duration of baking and presence or absence of sugars in the dough. The Maillard reaction (browning) takes place between 280-330F/140-165C, temperature ranges that a loaf’s internal temperature never reaches.

      Reply
  • Władyslaw

    April 9, 2017

    Do you use diastatic or normal malt?

    Reply
  • Rick

    June 22, 2017

    Hello Stan,
    Under Scald (Day 1, Morning):
    You specify, In the mixer bowl, mix the scald ingredients by hand into a firm porridge, cover and let stand at 150°F/65°C until it smells like apples, has a sweet taste and the consistency of pancake batter, 10-12 hours.
    Under Sour-Scald 1 (Day 1, Afternoon)
    You specify, combine the sponge and scald, cover and let stand at 130°F/55°C until it has a strong smell of apple cider, 6-7 hours.

    How do you maintain these specific temperatures for these lengths of time? My electric oven has a minimum temp of 170F. Also can you define Opara?

    Thank you, and I’m looking forward to receiving your book!

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      June 24, 2017

      hi Rick,
      To reach those temperatures, preheat your oven until the indicator light goes on (or off) and then turn it off. Put the sponge mixture in the oven and turn on preheat for 5 minutes or so every 3-4 hours. If your oven door has a glass insert, even better, since you can perch an oven thermometer in plain sight and use the preheat setting accordingly. Same thing with the sour-scald.

      An opara is a yeasted sour-scald. You’ll find lots more information on compound sponges in my book.

      Reply

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