Hey. Me again. So, here we are at the end of this part of our journey, and I must say, being with you, Bread, has taken me down one of the most splendid forks in my private little road.
You've taught me so much Bread, and I feel that I've gotten to know you so well, what makes you thrive, what makes your spirit wane. I know how the warm weather makes you ornery, uncooperative, and frankly a little gassy. I know how you prefer to be handled gently, in private, even though you flaunt yourself with lovely frocks as though you want the world to believe that you're impenetrable and immune to defeat.
Most significantly, you've taught me patience Bread, and that alone has allowed our relationship to flourish. I know now that you need a lot of time and space alone to energize, and when I don't push you too hard, you are a reliable partner who feeds me everything that I could possibly ever need. Bread, I'm just going to say this, while our romance is stronger than ever, you've also become my closest friend.
I'm so glad that we've recorded our romance and shared it publicly, aren't you Bread? Its kept us accountable, and I love to be able look back and see all that we've learned together, all the wonderful ways that we've grown.
I hope that other people have been able to learn from our lessons too Bread, and I think they have, because they email us and encourage us to keep going with our relationship. Sometimes they give us advice, and even ask us for a few tips to keep their own relationships alive and strong.
I know our romance has not always been smooth sailing, we've had our ups and downs. You know, the silly little phase where I wouldn't touch you at all, and then those moments when I forced you to drink too much water because I thought it would be good for your complexion, and instead you almost drown. But you always forgave me Bread, you always gave me space to noodle around, even though you foresaw that some of the things I was doing was going to yield unsavory results. You somehow knew that if I was not allowed to make those mistakes, I would never truly understand you.
Now I see that you were trying to teach me that even though sometimes things are challenging, if we see our difficult moments as learning experiences instead of failures, together we can flourish.
So, today I'm in a rye mood, because we've come this far and now we have to take things to another level. I've gotten comfortable, I will admit, but you're right, we have to keep challenging one another if we are to stay interested enough for this thing to grow. What did you say to me the other day? Something about not always knowing where the path will lead, and that if we trust in one another, we are destined to become part of something that is so much bigger than ourselves? I don't know Bread, you are just so wise, and sometimes I don't fully understand.
I'm ready Bread, to move on to the next phase, a deeper place, and I'm honored that you feel that I'm worthy enough to meet some of your dearest friends. Brioche, the rich prima donna, and Croissant, the little prig, and that English chap that you lovingly call 'Muffin', they sound like such an interesting bunch. I'm glad that you warned me that they can be a temperamental lot, fussy sometimes, uncompromising at their worst, but I promise I will do my best to try to understand them too. I know that once I've won their affections, they will be putty in my hands, just like it was with you.
You know, Bread, even though I'm scared that we are getting more serious, I think that with all that I have learned from you that we have a good chance at success, and I think that our love will be everlasting.
I just want you to know that loving you has made my life so much better, and as our bond deepens, I know that as long as we are committed to learn from one another, this relationship will take us to places that not too long ago I had only dreamed of.
I love you Bread. Then, now, always.
FOR THE DOUGH
200g rye levain (see below)
830g KA bread flour
170g Bob's Red Mill medium rye flour
FOR THE LEVAIN
15g active rye starter
50g Bob's Red Mill medium rye flour
50g KA AP flour
1) Make the Levain:
Dissolve 15g active rye starter in 100g h20. Stir in 50g medium rye flour and 50g AP until you arrive at an amalgamated paste. Let this ferment overnight. My levain is usually in full bloom in 8 hours.
2) Dissolve the levain in 800g of h20. Stir in the 830g bread flour and 170g rye flour with your hands until you reach a shaggy mass. Autolyse for at least an hour.
3) Squish the 20g of salt into the dough with your fingers until it is fully incorporated, let it rest for 30 minutes.
4) After 30 minutes, you will perform 4 series of turns every 30 minutes, which will comprise 2 full hours of your fermentation. Perform your turns like this: dip your hand under the bulk of the dough, and fold the bottom up over the top of the dough, give the bowl a 1/3 turn and repeat until you have done this three times. Be gentle with the dough. You are not kneading, you are stretching the dough and organizing the gluten molecules into long strands. The dough will strengthen via fermentation. Forget about all of the Cranford BBC movies on PBS where those 19th century women beat the crap out of their dough to illustrate hard livin'. Gentle and patient is the name of the game here.
5) After 2 hours of gentle turning, let the dough ferment unmolested for another 2 hours at room temp if it's cool enough in your area.
6) After the 4 hour ferment, turn the dough out onto a well-oiled (or floured, your call) workspace.
7) Divide, shape into loose rounds, and cover with 2 bowls for their 15 minute bench rest.
8) After the bench rest, shape into boules, then get them into bowls that have been lined with linens dusted with brown rice flour. Pop them into the fridge for a 4 hour proof
9) With 25 minutes left of your proof, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with two combo cooker sets inside. After the dough is fully proofed, cut out a square of parchment, place over the mouth of the bowl, and invert the bowl onto a peel. Remove the bowl and the linen carefully (in case there are any sticky spots, you don't want to yank the linen off too hard and rip the dough).
10) Score the dough, slide it into the shallow part of the hot cast iron pan, mist with a water bottle set on the MIST setting. Cover with the deep part of the comb cooker. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes covered.
11) Remove the cover from the combo cooker, then bake until done. My bread took another 40 minutes for an hour and 10 minute total bake.
Crust: I think this is my best crust so far. So brittle, it was hard not to slice into it the night of the bake. But I had to wait till the morning light to photograph it for you all. Crumb/Flavor: Earthy, nice bit of tang, super complex and absolutely delicious. I will pose this question: to degas or not to degas. There are two schools of thought. Some people do, some people don't. I never degas, and with this bake I did. I think that it smashes all of the gas chambers and minimizes the open crumb. I don't think I will degas again. I don't recall the Tartine book saying that we should degas, but I've been reading about all these bakers degassing here and far and decided I might give it a try. I don't like it! And I don't think I will do it again. Anyway, back to the crumb. Full gelatinization was realized, the crumb was chewy and awesome. Great with a ripe brie that I had on hand. Ease of handling dough: Super simple. Just keep in mind that working with rye is a different animal. It's going to feel more 'gummy' than you might be used to because of rye's extensible properties. That means that it's not elastic, like wheat flour (meaning, it stretches when you pull it, rather than snapping back). Bench notes: I didn't like that whole degassing thing, so I want to try this again without doing it to see if it will lend to a more open crumb.
To the staff of life!
This rye post was sent off to Wild Yeast Blog's Yeast Spotting.