This bread’s given name is a classic example of not really telling the whole story, because it has a substantial proportion of high gluten (bakers/very strong) flour in it as well: 50% high-gluten flour, 25% rye, and 25% whole-wheat. Without the high gluten flour it would look and feel quite different. The rye is all made into the pre-ferment and the white flour and the whole-wheat flour are added when you mix the dough.
It is listed in the rye sourdough section of Bread, but as with so many of these breads, the author, Jeffrey Hamelman, just puts a little yeast in there as well. So what does that leave us with? Is this sourdough, isn’t it sourdough?
If you are mixing your doughs entirely by hand I recommend sieving the flours together before mixing as there is a tendency to get white patches in the crumb otherwise. I mixed this dough in a Kenwood to begin with and then moved on to some light stretching and folding.
The dough was very soft, due to the wholemeal flours but pleasant to handle.
I shaped it into one big 1.5 kg boule as I was curious to see if I could bake a big loaf without too many problems. The main challenges are that you have to prove it somewhere fairly quickly and at a consistently warm temperature. I did this in my little second oven at 30 C on a tray. The boule went on a thickly floured linen cloth, covered in clingfilm and topped with a teatowel. It was a bit hairy moving it from the cloth onto the peel when it was proved and I was glad I had help from Brian.
I slashed the loaf in a simple pattern and made the slashes a bit deeper than usual as it was such a big loaf. I then gave it a big long bake as there weren’t guidelines in the recipe for this size of loaf.
Here are my timings and temperatures
- 235º C for 20 minutes with a big tray of steam below the stone
- 200º C for 40 minutes
- 190º C for 15 minutes
- and a further 10 minutes in the oven with the door open and the oven switched off
This bread went a deep dark colour and had a wonderful sweet and nutty smell when it finally came out of the oven.
The dough weighed 1545 grams unbaked and the finished bread weighed 1328 grams, losing about 12% in weight over the course of the bake.
I sometimes use a probe thermometer to take the internal temperature of the bread, but because I prefer my bread well baked and not sticky in the middle I find this is not very helpful, as the thermometer will register a technically cooked temperature when it is not cooked enough for us.