May 05, 2014

No.1 // German Style Rye Bread

A warning: This German Style Rye Bread gets messy before it gets good! Honestly, I almost lost fate in this first of my 12 baking adventures. It went down like a true kitchen disaster. Flour spread all over the kitchen top; bowls, scales, ingredients piled upon each other in the sink or on the stove and sticky dough everywhere I touched. In the end it was all yummy, though.
I deliberately started this road trip to German Baking Haven with an English recipe as my attempts on baking my mum’s favourite German cheesecake have told me that many ingredients Germans take for granted in baking are not widely available in England (vanilla sugar packs and quark without herbs for example). Peter Sidwell created for his book Simply Good Bread a German style rye bread that relies fully on English ingredients. Way to go.

The instructions were easy as peas, but somehow I must have gotten it all wrong anyway. Let me brake down for you what the ingredients are:

300g Rye flour
200g wholemeal flour
400ml water
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black treacle.

Now, for the actual bread making Peter Sidwell instructs to use one cup of the rye flour and one cup of hot water to mix a sort of starter dough before anything else. Then he says specifically to use the REMAINING rye flour and mix it with the wholemeal flour and salt. Then I had to add the wet mix, the treacle and the water afterwards (the water, not ‘the remaining water’). 1 cup and an extra 400ml seemed an awful lot of liquid, but I threw it in anyway. Obviously I regretted it immediately, as I ended up with a big wet mess (exhibit A). According to Sidwells recipe I had to knead the dough for around 10 minutes, but all I managed to do was to stick my fingers in there and then struggle for five minutes to free them again. I decided to just dust it a bit with more rye flour flip it over two, three times and put it back in the bowl. Then, in lack of a warm corner in our house, I wrapped the bowl with cling film and put it in the oven which was heating on steady 60 degrees. Then I went off to scrub my hands free from the dough.

After 30 minutes I returned my attention to the bowl in the oven and was surprised to find the dough doubled in size. Still, I made the mistake to scrap it out of the bowl again, which left me one more time with sticky fingers and a dough ball almost clued to the chopping board. I scrapped it off and just placed it straight in the baking tin. Since xxx suggest to let it prove for another 30 minutes, I wrapped the tin in cling film as well and just stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes. I took it out for the last 10 minutes to give the oven time to heat up to the recommended 180 degrees.

Luckily during that time the dough rose yet again and in the small tin almost looked like a good bread size. Once the oven was ready I popped the baking tin in for around 40 minutes. My kitchen by that time was in a crazy mess, but at least it started to smell delicious in there.

When the dough returned from the oven it was still the same height as before, but with a lovely crust on top. And all this water might have made a mess off the dough, but the end result is a really juicy, heavy dark brown bread which tastes actually delicious.

I will certainly make this bread again, but next time will not be fooled into kneading. I recommend, you do the same, if you are interested in making that bread yourself. Just take this recipe as a no-knead-bread that should do.

Happy baking!

This was Number 1 of my 12 baking adventures on The Bread List, for more recipes and adventures from my kitchen, check in next Monday.

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