Bread diary No.3 – Alsace Rye Loaf

So far I’ve had a go and so far I have at least one reliable tasty bread ‘in the bag’.

This time I thought I’d up the stakes and go for something a little more ambitious – an Alsace Rye Loaf. I got the recipe from Dan Leppard’s ‘The Handmade Loaf’, a present I’d bought for Deborah a few years ago and now shamelessly using myself.

The recipe calls for white flour (60%), rye wholemeal flour (40%) plus some whole rye grains. At the point I decided to do this recipe I never thought I would have such difficulty getting hold of the rye grains. It turned into something akin to the quest for the holy grail. In the end I finally found the ‘grail’ in a health food store well off my usual beaten tracks.

Making the bread required all the normal proving, leaving, kneading and then leaving some more etc. this time I added the rye grains that I’d cooked the night before and then soaked in some white wine. Instead of loaves I decided to go for batons on this one which I was quite pleased with.

'Proving'
'Proving'

I do kind of have to sort out how I place things in the oven as, for the second time now, the bread on the top shelf is slightly too high and burns a smidgen. I’ll adjust things for the next batch.

The result
I was panicking that I’d under-cooked the bread but it turns out that once it cooled that it was fine. We had the bread with our lunch and with just a bit of butter it was delicious and flavoursome. With a bit of boursin it was even better. The perfect food for this style of bread is probably something like soup or a stew. The bread would soak up the soup nicely while adding a nice chewyness from the rye grains.

The finished loaves cooling on the rack
The finished loaves cooling on the rack

This recipe was a trifle more complicated than the last ones but good to see if I could do. I would definitely make this bread again but I would probably reduce the ratio of whole rye grains as, for me, they didn’t leave quite enough room for the bread itself.

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