Tag Archives: Jeffrey Hamelman Bread

40 Percent Caraway Rye

Two loaves of 40% caraway rye

One of the August breads for Mellow Bakers.   The shine is from a light wash of cooked cornflour (cornstarch)  on the loaves while they are still hot.  I never know what makes these breads so orangey in colour, is it the caraway seeds?  I wonder who would know the answer… This bread is a sort of compromise between a light rye and a serious rye. It’s not my favourite, but it is still a good bread.

Crumb shot

Other Mellow Bakers who have made this bread so far are:

Steve at Burntloafer

Ulrike at Ostwestwind

Lutz with a very lovely scoring pattern here

There’s a version of this recipe here if it’s a recipe you are looking for.

80% Rye Rebake Quickie

So good I had to bake it again after I gave the first one away; I kept a bigger piece for myself this time.

The mixed dark and light rye version of the 80% rye bread

This is a remake of the Jeffrey Hamelman 80 % rye with hot rye flour soaker. For this one I used a mixture 50/50 of Shipton Mill’s light and dark rye for all the rye flour components of the loaf; the soaker, the sourdough etc.  The loaf came out with a lovely caramel-gold coloured crust and crumb. Still a bit on the sticky side,  but delicious all the same.  I am in love with the sweet smooth taste you get from the hot water soaker.  Also look at the difference that cooking in a Pullman tin makes to the crust and the colour of the final loaf!

Crumb close up

Rye Bread Part 2 and a little Gravad Lax

Why Part 2?  Because we had to wait twenty four hours to cut the rye. This wait, hard to bear, is always recommended for high density ryebreads to allow the crumb to stabilise and settle. Visit Mellow Bakers July Breads here if you want to see how my fellow bakers got on with this one!

I am the first to say, that looks like a bit of a heavy bread,  but it surprised me and was indeed smooth and noticeably sweeter and lighter to eat than it looks.  I liked it better than the 70 % rye I made earlier in the month as far as eating went.

Banneton proved 80% rye bread

It had a nice sponginess to the texture which I put down to the soaker.  I should maybe have given the bread another 10 – 15  minutes in the oven and then the base would maybe have been a little less sticky plus a little less time on the final prove but it survived my lacksadaisical handling nevertheless. Rye is very fragile once risen, as it doesn’t have the resilient gluten network of a wheat based loaf to hold the little gas bubbles. It  collapses quite readily and doesn’t do oven spring, so you want to have it ‘just so’ when it goes in the oven.  This one hung around a bit too long, queing up for the oven and we were eating lunch!   Again these breads often do better baked in a tin or a wooden bread frame as they do in Germany.

The secret to making rye breads like these is definitely pre-fermenting most of the rye flour; I certainly can’t achieve a good flavour and texture in a high percentage rye bread without using sourdough.  It’s up to the individual whether or not to spike the bread with a little yeast, I did in this case, as I was following the formula in the book but I am not sure it was of benefit in the end and I think if I make this one again, I will leave out the yeast altogether, bake the bread in a tin, bake it for longer and maybe even hold off cutting it for a bit longer too.  Edit:  I baked it again with different flours in a Pullman.

Moving on though, here is the Gravad Lax recipe for my friend Gill the Painter who visited and trialled her new bread recipe this week and for anyone else who wants to know the traditional way of making this Swedish fish dish.

Continue reading

80% Rye Bread with a Rye Flour Soaker Part 1

Last of the ryes for me this month!

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

Bialys for Mellow Bakers


A quick bialy post for Mellow Bakers, last one of the month; we’ve had French bread and a very serious rye and this is the fun one, so I saved it to now.

Some of the other Mellow Bakers who have made these so far:

Natashya at KitchenPuppies
Paul at Yumarama,
Steve at Burntloafer

I read what the Mellow Bakers who have made them already had to say about using raw onion and breadcrumbs, and the consensus seems to be that they didn’t like them,  so for these I sweated some chopped white onion in a spoon of butter for about twenty minutes till sweet and golden and then added them to some Polish breadcrumbs I found in the cupboard. Don’t ask me what they were doing there, I think I went out to get Panko and came home with these one day.

The extremes I go to….

Made dough, folded dough, proved dough, then scaled dough into 12 pieces. Shaped dough into tight rolls and left on trays. Links to recipes elsewhere on the net below if you need one.

Looks organized doesn’t it?

Forewarned about the tendency of these rolls to spring back to life like some mad Bouncy Castle and either ping their toppings off, or engulf them, I left the rounded doughs for a lot longer than Mr Hamelman advises (well, I like to pretend that I did this on purpose but as you who know me might realise, I forgot about them)  and the dough was well and truly proofed and starting to stick together by the time I remembered again.

Fully proved

The good part was that the dough was pretty tired by the time I got back to it, so it was really easy to make the flat middle bit….

shaping the flat bits

And then, Dear Reader, I filled ’em and baked ’em, they don’t take long in a good hot oven, and out they came. Looking golden and smelling of hot onions….

….but they are chewy,  I think they are supposed to be. Sort of thing to keep you occupied as you wander through New York City early in the morning on your way to work, chewy because who wants crumbs down their work clothes, chewy, well just because…..they are


Where is no 12?

Recipes for bialys on line if you want to have a go….Here’s one done in cups.   If you want Mr Hamelman’s version you might have to get the book, but it is apparently a standard sort of recipe.

PS  I’ve just looked them up on Wiki which says they are named after Bialystok, a city in Poland, so my breadcrumbs are appropriate which is a bit spooky.

Have another one ! Don’t mind if I do….

70% Rye with Swiss Dark Flour and Rye Chops

Rye bread takes the air...

These rye breads with a high proportion of rye flour and grains are not to everyone’s taste. They are however, enormously popular in Germany and other northern European countries, but I suspect have a relatively small fanbase in England where tastes run to stoneground wholemeal wheat and malted granary loaves, rather than to rye and sourdough when people want a brown bread. The idea that brown bread and in particular wholemeal wheat is ‘good for you’ has been studiously promoted over the years here, but rye is rare in the English diet, apart from in Ryvita crackers!

Continue reading