This Jeffrey Hamelman rye bread was made with Bacheldre organic stone ground rye, a much coarser sort of rye than the usual Shipton Mill one I use. This bread is made with a rye flour soaker and a rye sourdough.
A rye flour soaker? A soaker is when you pre-soak one of the ingredients of your bread; could be linseeds, could be whole grains, could be an old crust of a nice loaf. In this bread the soaker is a quantity of rye flour, covered in boiling water and mixed up and left overnight. The boiling water gelatinizes the flour and it has a remarkable effect on the final bread. It’s no more trouble than making the sourdough the night before and it changes the character of the bread noticeably giving a smooth, sweeter quality to the crumb. I think they must do this a lot in German rye breads as that is what this sort of rye reminds me of.
In Part 2: The crumb shot and my mother’s recipe for Gravad Lax