Easy 100% Rye Loaf with Homegrown Rye

baking, bread, Homegrown Grains

Growing grains has become a bit of an obsession, however with the more fashionable challenges of chasing high gluten in wheat, rye fell to the backburner for a while. Reestablishing a connection with the simplicity of making super delicious 100% rye loaves has reignited a fervor for the grain. This bread is super low maintenance with excellent results.

Growing rye is very similar to growing wheat and this primer can be used. Rye tends to be the first of our winter grains to be ready for harvest.

Sponge

  • 125 g starter
  • 280 rye flour
  • 280 water

Final Mix

  • All of sponge
  • 100g seeds: sunflower, flax, pepitas, sesame, etc (optional/ amount is variable)
  • 50g coarse rye (if possible, otherwise make up for it in rye flour)
  • 230 rye flour
  • 280 water
  • 15 salt

Mix the sponge ingredients the night before, we’re aiming for it to rest 12 or so hours. The reason being that rye bread is unique in that it contains high amounts of amylase enzymes, and left to their own device these enzymes will consume too much starches in the dough and cause the end product to be gummy. The way to avoid this is to create an environment unsuitable to their activity, thus we make an extended fermented sponge to boost the overall acidity.

When the sponge has done its thing, mix all the remaining ingredients together. Note that the seed situation is entirely based on preference. I find that 100g of sunflower seeds suits my desires. We have our own grown pepitas, flax, and sesame but usually save them for other occasions.

The dough should be sticky but won’t quite hold together, it’ll be more like a batter because of rye is naturally low gluten. Grease a common 8″x4″x3″ loaf pan with oil or butter and transfer the batter to the pan using a spatula to push out any air pockets and making it even. Dip the spoon in water to smooth out the top.

Using a second loaf pan of the same size, flip it upside down and lay on top to make a nice dome for final proofing. The dough is ready for the oven when cracks and holes appear on the surface. The time will be reflective of the temperature. It could be a hour or two, or over 12 hours. Depends.

When it looks ready, pop the loaf into an oven preheated to 450 degrees, including the loaf pan on top for humidity, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the top pan for the final 10 minutes of baking time to get that final coloring on the top.

Remove the loaf from the baking pan and move to a cooling rack. Let it cool undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Then slice thinly and enjoy with anything!

Easy 100% Rye Loaf: 24 hour Bake Pumpernickel Style

baking, bread, Homegrown Grains

If you poke around you’re likely to find that most pumpernickel bread recipes ask for a dark sweet component, usually in the form of molasses or beer. However legends persist of a traditional pumpernickel bread that excludes all sweeteners while still sporting pumpernickel’s characteristic dark color and and malty sweet flavor. One version of this technique can still be found today as the Westphilian Pumpernickel from Germany, coming from a time long before shortcuts were the going-style. While some in that region lay claim to the creation of the traditional pumpernickel technique by way of a resident baker forgetting a loaf in the oven for a very long time, it’s certain that people have been forgetting about loaves as long as their have been ovens. And all of those pioneers of the baking world blessed with forgetfulness paved the way for a greater understanding of the process modern times refers to as the Maillard Reaction.

This recipe utilizes a method called scalding, which is basically cooking a percentage of the recipe’s flour and water until it gelatinizes. This method is often helpful in dealing with low gluten grains, like rye, in order to create structure and maintain moisture.

Scald

  • 262g rye flour
  • 262g water

Stir ingredients together in a small pot and warm over medium low heat, while constantly stirring. Continue until a thermometer reads 160 degrees F or seeing the grains appear gelatinous.

Dough

  • All of Scald
  • 225g rye flour
  • 19g salt

Mix all ingredients together and place in a small pan lightly greased with butter or oil. Either place another pan of the same size on top as a lid, fixed in place with foil crimped around the edges or with just a covering of securely fixed foil. There will be no rising with this loaf so head space isn’t a concern.

Place in a 220 degree F oven for 24 hours.

When out of the oven, remove from the loaf pan and cool on a cooling rack for at 24 hours before cutting into it.

Fermented Apple Pie

baking, homesteading

This little trick I do highly recommend. It was discovered a few years back after a friend gave me a container of apple pie filling she had leftover. Determined to not let it go to waste at first, it was soon forgotten about. About a year later while cleaning out the fridge the pie filling was rediscovered, followed by an investigative whiff. What a wonderful aroma! It was quickly baked into a pie and the fermented pies took flight.


The technique is not complicated. I’ve only done this with fruit pies so I recommend starting there. Make your filling as you usually would. Then pack it and leave it out on the counter to ferment. We made one recently that couldn’t have sat for longer than two weeks and I thought the flavor was excellent. I think the fermentation opens up a bouquet of floral aromas. The flavor was somewhat citrusy with a pleasant additional fermenty tang. A nice benefit is that the fermentation eats up some of the sugar in your pie recipe so it’ll be a tad less sweet.


Finally, don’t forget a good heap of vanilla ice cream to weave all the flavors together into a floating cloud of divine desserting. Enjoy!

Process

  1. Make apple pie filling per your favorite recipe, spices and all, but be sure to slice the apples thinly. The goal is to get them to give off enough liquid and become pliable, so that they can be submerged in their sugary brine.
    2. Pack into a container with a lid to macerate overnight or for the day, just until the apples soften.
    3. Once the apples are soft enough, pack them beneath their brine just like with sauerkraut. Ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks or more. Perhaps you’d like to move them to the fridge and forget to really deepen their flavor.
    4. Bake as usual with your favorite pie crust recipe. 
    5. Enjoy the warm and tangy pie with a heap of vanilla ice cream!

*Most of these posts are resources for Ferment Pittsburgh’s monthly newsletter that features seasonal ideas, techniques, and musings. Consider jumping aboard?

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