Mutant Rye Bread

A couple of weeks ago I took a stab at the Classic Rye Bread recipe that Michael Ruhlman ran on his site. My beloved likes rye bread, and had asked for a sandwich bread. The recipe was really simple, so I took a shot at it (minus the caraway seeds because neither of us really likes them).

The first loaf I made was sort of heavy, and the crumb lacked elasticity. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great.

So this time, I did a mashup between the original recipe and the no-knead sourdough that I do weekly. I added a cup and a half of sourdough starter to the dough, mixed it to the “craggy wet” consistency of the no-knead, and left it to rise overnight. What I wanted was the stringy gluten that a long ferment seems to produce so effortlessly. This morning, it had risen to the top of my bread bowl and had that nice wet bubbly texture that I’ve come to appreciate from overnight fermentation.

Because it was so wet, I plopped it in my trusty 40-year-old Kitchen Aid and added some flour while it kneaded. I kneaded it for about 10 minutes, and probably added an extra cup of bread flour along the way (this might be one cause of the mutant oven spring). It still seemed pretty sticky, but it was very very elastic. I made a rectangle, folded it in thirds like a letter, and tucked it inside a big pyrex bread pan to rise. About an  hour later I was thrilled to see it rising really nicely, so I slashed the top and put it in the oven.

Twenty minutes later when I checked on it, I saw this: mutant classic rye bread. It had sprung up and out of the pan, and was splitting open along the seam where I’d slashed the top.

Mutant shape aside, this bread tastes great. It’s got a nice elastic crumb, the rye taste is detectable but not overpowering, and I think it’ll make really nice sandwiches. Which is what we wanted.

Next time, will probably not add so much extra flour, or I’ll use my larger bread pan. This is an easy loaf and tastes great.