Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread

Today was the day, folks. It was finally time to branch out beyond wheat-based flours. I am enough of a dork that I'm excited by that. :)

I decided to finally make use of some of the rye flour that I got a few weeks ago. This called for rye bread. Specifically, a loaf of "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread out of The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

My initial impression after reading the recipe? "Wow... that's all the rye flour that's used?" I naively had been expecting a rye bread to be mostly rye flour, but this particular one is mostly bread flour, with just 3/4 cup of rye flour.

This book hasn't let me down yet, so I went with it. I gathered up my ingredients: Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour, Pillsbury bread flour, bulk instant yeast from the natural market, generic honey, sugar, and salt. The recipes calls for caraway seeds, which I didn't have, so I used sesame seeds instead. "Sesame Rye" had a nice ring to it.

Like many of the recipes in TBB, this bread starts with a sponge that ferments from 1 to 4 hours. I usually jump on my sponges after barely an hour, out of sheer impatience. This one, though, I allowed to sit for almost the full 4 hours. It was very perky by the end of the 4 hours, ready to be mixed and kneaded and left to proof.

Rye bread rising

I was very pleasantly surprised to see a tan dough, with lots of rye speckles... so much for my worries that there wasn't enough rye flour. The dough doubled in about 1.5 hours, got a gentle punching down via the "letter fold" method, and then doubled again.

Shaping time. I wanted this bread for sandwiches, so I eschewed the freeform loaf called for in the recipe in favor of a loaf pan. One last 45 minute rising, and then into the oven with some ice cubes for a nice chewy crust. It baked for 45 minutes, and came out like so:

Loaf of Rye Bread

And I know bakers want to get a gander at the inside:
Rye Bread

slice of homemade rye bread

The crumb is dense, moist, chewy... I love this bread. It's absolutely going into my standard rotation. And since rye flour is a whole grain flour, it has all of those whole grain health benefits--excellent! :)


oscar said...

On page 326 of the rye recipe, there is no rye flour, tho it is mentioned in the instructions, and the volume measure of the bread flour does not correspond to the weight measurements. What measure did you use and what about the rye flour? Thanks for your help

chacha / Jen said...

From the errata:

"In the RYE BREAD recipe on page 326, on the flour mixture chart, the 2 1/4 cups bread flour weigh 12.3 ounces (351 grams), and step #2: eliminate the words 'rye flour.' (Rye flour is used only in the sponge on page 325.)"