|Stages:||3-Stage sponge, Final dough|
|Leaven:||Rye sour culture|
|Start to Finish:||20-22 hours|
|Hands-on Time:||40-50 minutes|
|Yield:||Two 1½ lb./650 g loaves|
Not too long ago I acquired a trove of freshly milled rye and heirloom/heritage wheat flours from Grist & Toll, a groundbreaking urban mill in Pasadena, just north of Los Angeles. After experimenting with the wheat flours, I started casting about for a rye bread that would let me showcase the subtle complexities of the G&T flours. After going through my recipe database, I settled on Franconia Rye/Frankenlaib, a subtle and complex Bavarian bread.
In its standard form – made with light German type 1150 rye flour and first clear flour – Franconia Rye is a typical Alpine rye. Like so many other of the region’s ryes, it’s built on multiple sour sponges (in this case a 3-stage rye sponge), contains a blend of rye and wheat flours and incorporates the sweetness of sugar beet molasses and the understated fragrance of bread spice (brotgewürz), the 10-6-6-2 blend of caraway, anise, fennel and coriander that features widely in German rye baking.
The bread took shape without a hitch. The sponges fermented evenly and retained their structure; the dough was easy to work and the loaves fermented and proofed flawlessly. The result, however, surprised me: instead of an intensely sour bread, which I would have expected from a 3-stage sponge, the interplay of flavors was both subtle and complex. The crumb is close and tender, and the flavor profile features the sweetness of rye, wholegrain wheat and sugar beet molasses, the many-layered notes of the bread spice, and a mild, yet clean and pronounced sour.
This is a bread I love for breakfast, topped with butter, cream cheese or Genoa salami; or for lunch, with roast chicken breast, sliced avocado, summer tomato and a light sprinkling of salt.
Stage 1 Sponge (Day 1, Afternoon):
|Whole rye flour||70||2.45||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||70||2.45||100%|
|Rye sour culture||15||0.55||21%|
Combine the Stage 1 sponge ingredients, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until doubled in volume, about 6 hours.
Stage 2 Sponge (Day 1, Evening):
|Whole rye flour||75||2.65||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||75||2.65||100%|
|Stage 1 sponge||155||5.45||207%|
Add the Stage 2 sponge ingredients to the Stage 1 sponge and mix well. Cover and ferment at room temperature overnight, 8-10 hours. The sponge will have doubled in volume and show broken bubbles on the top surface.
Stage 3 Sponge (Day 2, Morning):
|Whole rye flour||150||5.30||100%|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||150||5.30||100%|
|Stage 1 sponge||305||10.75||203%|
In the mixer bowl, combine the Stage 3 sponge ingredients and mix until well blended. Cover and ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume and the top surface shows broken bubbles, 2 ½-3 .hours.
Final Dough (Day 2, Midday):
|Stage 3 sponge||605||21.35|
|Whole rye flour||350||12.35|
|Whole wheat flour||160||5.65|
|Warm (105°F/41°C) water||290||10.25|
|Sugar beet molasses or dark corn syrup||30||1.05|
Add the final dough ingredients to the Stage 3 sponge.
Turn the dough, which will be firm and slightly sticky, onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it back to its original volume and divide it into two pieces, each weighing approximately 25 oz./725 g.
Shape the dough into bâtards or boules, cover and proof at room temperature …
… until the loaves have expanded to 1½ times their original volume and show cracking on the surface.
Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C with the baking surface in the middle and a steam pan on a lower shelf. Bake with steam for 5 minutes, then remove the steam pan, lower the temperature to 380°F/200°C and bake until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 45-50 minutes for bâtards, 50-55 minutes for boules. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.
|Whole rye flour||645||80.12%|
|Whole wheat flour||160||19.88%|
|Rye sour culture||15||1.86%|
|Sugar beet molasses||30||3.73%|
|Total flour prefermented||295||36.65%|