Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bare Cupboards Bread Project

We were out of bread, but also down to the last kernels of hard, white wheat.  I thought I'd make a batch of Granola to keep the troops happy while they waited until I could make the trek to pick up the wheat I'd ordered...but we were down to the last 1/4 cup of honey, and I needed at least 4 times that much for the granola syrup.

Thinking about how to keep everyone's tummies full, I realized I have quite a bit of rye, and rye bread sounded just right for a cold day.  Thankfully, I also had molasses, and just barely enough to give my idea a go.

I haven't made rye bread in years.  I have my mom's recipe that made little round loaves that weren't quite what I was after to serve as our sandwich bread for this portion of the week.  I checked the internet and found sourdough and deli versions, which weren't quite what I had in mind either.  Most of those and my mom's recipe include caraway seed, apparently a rye bread necessity for some, but I really dislike it.

Mixture of the golden wheat flour and the grayer rye
I decided on a variation of my own sandwich bread recipe, remembering that rye has far less gluten than wheat, even though it's high in protein.  This makes it necessary to use a generous portion of wheat flour in order to develop the necessary gluten for rising the bread and getting the right texture. So I milled the little bit of hard white whole wheat I had left along with the rye, and got out the all-purpose, unbleached flour.  I also planned to use the vital wheat gluten flour, as I do for whole wheat breads, anyway.                                                                            

What's-on-Hand Rye Bread
Just sharing an experiment with what I had to use today.  
I promise that I'll restock, and devise a recipe that isn't so piecemeal.  

As it turned out, I not only used the last of my wheat, but
also the last of 3 bottles of molasses and the last of the honey
I put the following in the mixer bowl and mixed until like pancake-batter consistency
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup molasses 
1/4 cup honey
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
2 1/2 cups rye-whole wheat flour (I used 40% whole wheat and 60% rye, as that's as much wheat as I had to mill) 
2 cups all-purpose flour

After 8 hours
I let it set, covered, about 8 hours at room temperature to sponge.  It was slower to start rising than wheat bread, presumably because of the difference in gluten level.  It became obvious about 3 hours in that we wouldn't be having soup and rye bread for dinner that night.

To the sponge I added
3 Tablespoons dough enhancer
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tablespoons salt
3 cups rye-whole wheat flour
4 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

The all-purpose flour was added a cup at a time, until the dough was cleaning the sides of the mixer bowl.  I kneaded it for 7 minutes.

I shaped the loaves and put them in greased pans, covered with a towel, and let them rise about an hour.  These loaves weighed about 30 ounces each... My whole wheat bread loaves usually weigh 25 - 26 ounces.  During this time, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

I baked them approximately 30 minutes... until the internal temperature was 195 - 200 degrees.

I will have to continue this another day, and share the results...
Rye Bread Experiment #1: The Results
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