Auvergne Rye/Pain Seigle d’Auvergne

AuvSeig_slice

Rye %: 73%
Stages: Stage 1 sponge, Stage 2 sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 36-48 hours
Hands-on Time: 35-45 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb./700 g loaves

It recently occurred to me that most of the breads I’ve posted have been German and Eastern European, with an Alpine and Swedish bread thrown in for variety. But, in fact, those breads don’t begin to scratch the surface of rye’s diversity, so in the interest of broadening the map, I chose a French rye for my latest bake.

“A French rye?” you say. “Rye from the land of baguettes  and batârds; épis, fougasses and boules?” To which I reply, “Indeed; for the French were eating rye long before wheat, and the rye traditions are still strong along the sandy coastal plains of Normandy and Brittany, the Basse-Alpes region of Provence, and in the Auvergne, which centers on the Massif Centrale – the vast volcanic highland that dominates south central France and accounts for about 15% of its total area.
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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. Keep Reading

Swiss Rye Ring/Brasciadela/Kantonsbrot Graubünden

Brasc_slice

Rye %: 69%
Stages: Rye sponge, Wheat poolish, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 13-15 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: Two 1¼ lb. (575 g.) loaves

Graubünden is Switzerland’s largest canton, extending eastward between Austria to the north and Italy to the south. It’s also Switzerland’s most mountainous canton, home to several glaciers, as well as the 11,853-foot Tödi and 13,284 foot Piz Bernina. Not surprising, then, that its bread culture is based on rye. Like the circular breads of Scandinavia, Brasciadela’s ring shape made it easy to store the breads on poles hung from the ceiling during the long Alpine winter. Keep Reading

Wholegrain Buttermilk Rye/Vollkorn Roggenbrot mit Buttermilch

Buttermilk Rye Brunch

Rye %: 74%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Yeast
Start to Finish: 3½-4 hours
Hands-on  Time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: Two 2¾ lb./1.250 kg loaves

Of all the different kinds of rye breads I’ve made and tasted, the coarse dark ones have always been among my favorites for their rustic mouthfeel and intense rye flavors. This buttermilk rye, which comes from northern Germany, has the added attraction of very short prep time, meaning that I can start a loaf at breakfast and have it for dinner. Keep Reading

Black Rye Bread/Juoda Ruginė Duona (Lithuania)

Juoda_slice

Rye %: 90%
Stages: Scald, Sponge, Opara, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 24-28 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 2 lb. (900 g.) loaf

I love Russian and Baltic rye breads for their intensity. So when, a few months back, I found some imported Latvian breads at my local international grocery store, my heart skipped a beat.  Although I’d baked several different Baltic ryes while researching recipes for The Rye Baker, I’d never had the opportunity to taste the real thing, and so I immediately snapped up a loaf of the “Classic Rye Bread.”

Before I even sliced the loaf, I was struck by its density and the intoxicating sweet-sour perfume that enveloped me as soon as I unwrapped it – an aroma that I hadn’t experienced in any of the Russian or Baltic ryes I’d baked until then. Keep Reading

Weinheim Heath Rye/Weinheimer Heidebrot (Germany)

Heid_slice

Rye %: 80%
Stages: Sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, instant yeast
Start to Finish: 22-23 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: Two 15-oz./425 g loaves

I found this bread on Lutz Geißler‘s blog (Ploetzblog.de), who in turn got it from the German Baking Academy (Akademie Deutsches Bäckerhandwerk) in Weinheim, in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemburg. I was intrigued because this loaf, at 80% rye, comes in at a higher percentage than most rye breads from southern Germany. It also uses an old-bread soaker, which moistens and tenderizes the crumb. Keep Reading

Moscow Rye/Moskovskiy Rzhannoye Khleb

Moskovskiy Rye

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, scald, yeasted scald-sponge (opara), final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, yeast
Start to Finish: 12-13 hours
Hands-on Time: 40-45 minutes
Yield: One 1¾ lb./800g loaf

I love Russian rye breads for the intensity and complexity of their flavor profile, and this one is certainly among the best of breed.

Like so many classic Russian ryes, Moskovskiy starts out with a sponge and a scald that incorporates not only rye but also red rye malt and caraway. The sponge is hydrated to only 70% and it ripens at 85°F/30°C, which favors acetic acid production by the LAB. The scald matures for just 2 hours, which is sufficient to produce the chocolaty sweetness that’s characteristic of the red rye malt. Keep Reading

Swedish Beer Limpa/Vortlimpa

VortSliced

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 2½-3 hours
Hands-on Time 30-35 minutes
Yield: Two 1¾lb. (800 g.) loaves

Western Scandinavians like their rye breads sweet and fragrant, and this one is a perfect example of a yeast-leavened Swedish 100% rye. Its hydrating liquid is beer – another feature of northern European breads – and it’s sweetened with raisins and light molasses and perfumed with anise, fennel and orange zest. Keep Reading

Pinzgau Country Loaf/Pinzgauer Bauernbrot

PinzSlice

Rye %: 60%
Stages: Monheimer Salt Sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish 16-18 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-4o minutes
Yield: Two 34 oz. (965 g.) loaves

Pinzgau is in western Austria, bordered by Bavaria to the north, Switzerland to the west and alpine Italy to the south. Like most of the Alpine regions, its breads are typically mixed wheat and rye, and the rye flours are lighter than those in the north. Here, too, the use of bread spice (brotgewürz) – a 10-6-6-2 blend of caraway, anise, fennel and coriander, toasted and ground fine – is common, adding subtle notes of astringent, sweet and citrus to the breads. Keep Reading

In Defense of First Clear

FirstclearSide by side: Unbleached first clear (left) and unbleached high-gluten.

When I first started baking with rye, the breads I made – mainly the Jewish deli ryes and pumpernickels of my youth – called for first clear flour. And back in those early days, I had no idea what clear flour was, other than a very high-protein, high-fiber kind of wheat flour that had the “strength” to support up to 40% white rye flour and 30% medium rye – in other words, that the rye was an addition to what basically was a wheat bread that still depended on gluten to give it structure.
How little I knew!!! Keep Reading