It’s that bread again! (the long slow baked rye grain bread with the great back story in Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman) which is one of the Mellow Bakers November breads.
I posted my last year’s version of this a little while ago but I have made it again – practice, munch, practice. It’s fun!
I had a long think about how you could manage this bread without a pullman. I think the answer, (and I will make it a third time to test it out by the end of the month I hope) is to use a regular loaf pan and once the dough is in the tin, grease and flour a sheet of foil, and place it over the top of the tin and either wrap the whole tin in foil tightly or tie it on with string round the rim of the tin. Alternatively if you don’t mind what shape your bread comes out, use any bake proof container that has a sealable lid, so a pudding basin or a cast iron pot or something like that.
The key thing is to keep the moisture in during the long gentle bake.
My other tips are
- Make sure the grains (use wheat if you can’t get hold of rye) are well soaked and really well cooked so they are plump and moist and soft. They act as storage for the water during the bake.
Slice the old bread thinly and bake it a bit more in the oven before you soak it. Only use as much water as you need to cover it; you are only going to have to squeeze the water out later after all.
- The hardest bit is judging how wet to make the dough, too wet and the bread will never really dry out enough, too dry and it will be a bit chewier than you want. That’s not very helpful but everyone’s combination of grains and breads is going to vary. I think I would want to go for a dough that I can shape into a baton that I can pick up without it breaking apart the moment I lift it from the bench, so go for firmer rather than wetter.
I have a milk loaf tin which has a clip on lid so I thought I would try it out in that. In my mind the bread would rise, slowly into the top half and I would have incredibly sophisticated round slices of bread, perfect for canapes. The drawback, pretty major, of these tins is that you can’t open them to check on progress. There is a tiny peep hole in the top of the tin – once the dough is at the top you can see it. This dough didn’t get that far. I stuck a toothpick in the hole every so often to see if I could judge where it had got to, but it never got right to the top. In fact I overproved this one by about 6 hours (!) and you can see the results here. I don’t think it made any difference to the bread though, in fact it might have improved the flavour a bit.
So I ended up with a half round loaf. This time it was completely cooked through and very even in texture. Still not as dark as I would like it to be to justify being called ‘black rye’. I like the taste, much milder than I thought it was going to be; sweet and nutty and very fragrant.
The crumb looks like “Schwarzbrot”, that is what we eat with smoked ham from Schleswig-Holstein. Great work, a real coarse rye bread!
wow, that is a complicated recipe, I suspect if I was doing the MB Challenge, I would skip it, I’ve had my share of troubles with dark rye :-)
but you did a great job, improvising the Pullman tin and all…. impressive!
Thanks for all of the helpful hints, Joanna! I think I’m going to give this one a try, but with one of your alternatives to the pullman pan. Hopefully it turns out as well as yours! =)
I’m kinda glad I’m procrastinating on this one – ’cause you keep giving us new insight into this one, and avoiding mistakes. I think I’ll use a regular bread loaf pan, and do the alum foil cover – and then I’ll put a second cover over the pans -a big foil roaster pan. How much did your loaf rise during proofing? I’m guessing this one won’t do more than maybe 50% rise.
I love your crumb shot, and rather surprised that this bread allows such a thin slice without crumbling! Nice.
Thank you all for reading my second post on this bread. Obsessive, moi?
Now I’ll have to go and find some great smoked ham, you’re so right Ulrike ::)
Sally, it’s not a bread to everyone’s taste and maybe not one to make in your current kitchen ;)
Abby – I hope you find a way to try it one day, maybe not this very busy month though?
@ DrFugawe – It’s not a big riser, but I am always surprised when I make a 100 percent rye how much it does rise in the tin. It usually sits there doing nothing, and then does some more nothing and then suddenly off it goes. This one has a lot to lift though :) The second cover plan sounds good :)
It looks wonderful Joanna – you’ve reminded me yet again to try and get hold of some whole rye. I’m thinking Christmas as I will have a bit of time off work then, which would be a wonderful treat and seem just right somehow at that time of the year.
Whole rye grain is easier to get hold of than unhusked barley. Essential do it, who supply many of the wholefood shops. I do hope you get to have a go at this one day.
It looks superb, Jo, I love the way the grains have ended up giving it a heavy, nutty look. I would like a slice right now – it looks like a perfect hangover cure, and my head is a bit sore today. ;-)
It’s surprisingly digestible – I’m sure it would be good with a little glass of something, ‘hair of the dog’ – All that wild Australian celebrating you guys do! Duck curry! Mmm sounds FAB :)
Looks interesting. I want to make more bread with seeds and grains so I must give this one a try.
Not the most infallible of recipes and not everyone’s cup of tea! But certainly interesting :)
It looks marvelous!
It looks very toothsome!
I love the window shot.
I don’t think anyone but me would eat it.
:( my family are bread sissies.
Him indoors is a bit of a bread sissie too. Thank goodness there is a bread to suit almost everyone out there :) See my next post…
Hi Joanna, I am setting up to get rye soaked and bake this over the weekend. I will have to see what kind of improvisation I can use for a tin! Have a lovely weekend!
Ooh Allison, I have just been tweeted by Marieke at the Weekendbakery where they make their version of this sort of bread in a foil tin wrapped in a double layer of tin foil. They use a very low baking temperature indeed for theirs. I can’t make this one again just yet, but I am very tempted to try their version :)