Thirty-six breads down, and only six breads to go! Unfortunately, this bread totally stunk. I knew it was going to stink based on all of the blog posts I read about it, and considered putting it off until later. But, that would only mean that one of the lasts breads I make would totally stink, and I don’t want to end the challenge on a bad note. So, I pressed on. It’s actually a shame that all of the bloggers hated on it, because that led me to cut a lot of corners, which didn’t help my bread at all.
I started on Friday night by making the rye starter (barm + rye flour + water) and rye soaker (rye flour + water). Error #1: This formula calls for white rye flour and pumpernickel flour. I didn’t have either of these, and instead on embarking on a long and expensive flour search, I just used my dark rye flour across the board, which definitely cut down on the flavor complexity.
On Saturday morning, I combined rye flour, salt, caraway seeds, and the starter and soaker. Rye flour/dough is brownish and not very pleasant to look at.
The formula didn’t even call for a small amount of instant yeast (which is often used in sourdough breads, just to kick-start the fermentation process). And, since rye flour has lower gluten content than regular flour, it takes a really long time to rise (and didn’t rise much at all). This is the dough before and after a four-hour rise. Hardly any change. If I had left it out for another couple of hours, there’s a chance it would have risen more, but I didn’t want to wait any longer—especially since it had to proof for another two hours after that.
After forming the dough into two torpedos, I left them out for another two hours, again seeing a minimal rise. I baked them according to the directions. Once done, they didn’t look too awful.
The funny part is, for such small loaves, they weigh about 6 pounds apiece. After cutting into it and trying a piece, it actually had a pretty decent rye flavor, despite being very dense. Unfortunately, they were totally underbaked! Like I said, I baked them according to the directions, the bottoms were golden brown when I took them out, and the loaves sounded hollow when I tapped on them. Despite all of this, they are very gummy. However, that didn’t stop me from eating about a third of one loaf that evening. What can I say? I was a little hungry. I tried toasting a couple of pieces to see if it would dry out the center, but that didn’t really do anything. I ate the last couple of pieces with some butter and strawberry preserves, and that was quite tasty. But, in that case, I think the bread was more of a delivery device for the preserves than anything else.
Next up: Poilane-Style Miche. I don’t understand two out of those three words, so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from that bread.