|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.
Like most Alpine ryes, this one is built on multiple sponges – a 2-stage sour rye sponge and a one-stage emmer (wheat) sponge seeded with rye sour culture. The result is an amazingly complex, well-balanced sour that complements the sweet nuttiness of emmer, the fragrance of fennel and the spicy sweetness of this earthy heirloom rye. A stale rye bread soaker adds tenderness to the open crumb, encased in a dry baked, chewy crust.
When I first tasted this bread, I was at a loss for what to pair it with: frankly, almost anything I could think of would only, to my mind, become a distraction from this extraordinary chew. So here’s my suggestion: Don’t pair it with anything. Eat it unadorned, or perhaps with a light coating of sweet butter and concentrate on this wonderful symphony of flavors.
Stage 1 Rye sponge (Day 1, Afternoon):
|Wholegrain or Medium rye flour||85||3.00||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||110||3.90||129%|
|Rye sour culture||7||0.25||8%|
In a bowl, combine the Stage 1 rye sponge ingredients by hand, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) 16-24 hours. The sponge will have a strong sour aroma, and will have begun to fall back on itself.
Wheat sponge (Day 1, Evening):
|AP or bread flour||150||5.30||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||150||5.30||100%|
|Rye sour culture||7||0.25||5%|
In a separate container, combine the Wheat sponge ingredients, cover and ferment at room temperature for 16-20 hours. The sponge will have a strong sour aroma, and will have begun to fall back on itself.
Stage 2 Rye sponge (Day 2, Midday):
|Stage 1 sponge||202||7.10||122%|
|Wholegrain or Medium rye flour||165||5.80||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||290||10.25||176%|
Add the Stage 2 sponge ingredients to the Stage 1 sponge, hand mix until blended, cover and ferment at room temperature for 3-4 hours. The sponge will have nearly tripled in volume and show broken bubbles on the surface.
Soaker (Day 2, Midday):
|Stale rye bread, broken||70||2.45||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||180||6.35||257%|
Final Dough: (Day 2, Afternoon)
|Stage 2 rye sponge||657||23.20|
|Wholegrain or Medium rye flour||300||10.60|
|AP or bread flour||200||7.05|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||150||5.30|
|Salt (1¼ Tbs)||22||0.80|
|Fennel seed (1 Tbs)||5||0.20|
In the mixer bowl, combine the final dough ingredients and use the dough hook at low (KA2) speed to mix until fully blended into a soft, moderately sticky dough that begins to gather around the hook, 5-6 minutes. Cover and ferment at room temperature until the dough has visibly expanded and shows broken bubbles on the surface, 30-40 minutes.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and divide into two pieces, weighing just over 2 lb/935 g. Shape into rounds or oblongs and place them, seam-side down, into well-floured proofing baskets.
Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C with the baking surface in the middle. Bake without steam for 7 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 390°F/200°C and continue baking until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 45-50 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.
|Whole or medium rye flour||550||61.11%|
|AP or bread flour||350||38.89%|
|Rye sour culture||14||1.56%|