Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Warning: Do Not Try This at Home

As promised yesterday, a photo of the up-cycled, crystal chandelier, Christmas tree ornaments:

Having been extremely pleased with my sourdough bread last week, at the weekend I attempted a sourdough rye bread - kind of Eastern European style.

I certainly wasn't prepared for what looked like a sticky mud pie. The dough is nothing like normal bread dough and sticks to everything like Bostick. It was so sticky that using the breadmaker simply to knead the dough was out of the question.

Nevertheless I persevered, not really expecting much to develop from the baking and treating the whole process as a learning exercise; however, the result was spectacularly good.

A firm, dense crumb (as a rye bread should be) with a sweet-sour taste. The sweetness was obtained with 3 tablespoons of honey, the sourness from the sourdough. However, next time I'm going to try scalding the rye flour, which apparently is the authentic method of releasing the sugars from the starch to obtain the sweetness. I'm also going to add some fennel seeds to the carraway.

Eminently suitable for smoked salmon or Parma ham canapes. Keeps for weeks, allegedly.

A word of advice; never, ever use a breakmaker for sourdough - the automatic timings are way out. Rather than rely on timings, it's far better to use the look of the dough - it just needs to double in size (except when you're using rye, which doesn't rise as much as wheat). This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours or more, depending on the dough.

If you're thinking of making your own artisan bread at home, try this link - I found it invaluable. I'm now keeping a few sourdough starters of varying cereals in the fridge.

Next on the list is a loaf made of spelt, some pittas and a few naan.

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