Skip to content

Flat rye bread

February 1, 2010

Not quite a rye cracker, this improvised bread recipe ended up thinner than I expected.  But the inside was springy, chewy, and tangy!  I might try this one again–but in a bread pan instead of free form.

Hydra had been languishing in the fridge, starved for attention flour while I neglected bread baking.  But reading through several sourdough blogs and a book on bread baking inspired me to pull it out and feed my sour little rye starter.  Surprisingly, it was no worse for the wear, despite two weeks of no feeding.  I gave it a full 24 hours & two feedings to recover and Hydra was as peppy as ever.  Those rye yeasts are sturdy little bugs.

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ Cup milk
  • ½ Cup water plus ¼ Cup hot water
  • 2 Cups rye flour
  • 1½ Cups bread flour
  • 1 Cup rye starter
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Heat the milk and ½ cup of water until hot; mix with active dry yeast in a large mixing bowl (large enough to mix & rise bread dough in).  Allow yeast to bloom.

Rye flour

Add remaining water, all the rye flour and 1 cup of the bread flour.  Rest 20 minutes.

making your gluten happy

The rest gives your gluten time to develop, which means in the next step, mixing in the starter, salt, and remaining flour (you may desire more than that half cup, but resist the urge; you want a wet, sloppy, sticky dough) will be messier than a three-year child in a mud puddle.

rye starter

Once you add the starter, the gluten strands feel wormy and slimy, but don’t be afraid to dig in with your hands.  The dough will be too stiff to mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon, anyway.  And who doesn’t want to relieve (or experience firsthand?) the squishy mud pie feeling?

Sorry to leave out any delightful images of myself covered in sloppy dough, but the dough rather loved sticking to me and the rabbits have yet to learn how to work the camera.

After mixing it as best as you can in the bowl, let it sit another 20 minutes so that the remaining flour can autolyse and some of the liquid can be absorbed by thirsty grains.

Once you’ve attempted to knead the challengingly sticky dough and have a good half-cup plastered to you hands, slop the dough back into the now-oiled bowl if you were foolish enough to dump it out (I recommend an oiled silicone mat for that part–it helps a little) and slick a little more olive oil or melted butter on top.

Let your lovely rye mess rise until doubled, or almost so.  Rye doesn’t rise as much, though the presence of cultured yeasts and bread flour instead of all-purpose will help somewhat.

end of 1st rise

Once risen (and mine took about 6 or 7 hours–it’s cold in here), punch down.  If you’ve oiled the top as advised, the dough baby won’t grasp at your fist.

N0w, grab about half the still-sticky dough baby and rip it from the grip of its twin.  Shape as you like.  And place on cornmeal-dusted baking sheet or baking peel for a pizza stone.  Whatever shape you attempt will mutate beyond your control as it rises.  Repeat with second dough baby.  Or, if you don’t want flat breads like I’ve got, dump half the dough baby in a well-greased bread pan and repeat.  I’ll try this next time.

second rise

second rise

After these lovely dough babies spread in an unseemly manner until almost double in mass but certainly flatter than before, pop them in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes.  Lower the oven to 350°F and bake until evenly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom.  To ensure done-ness (and I’ve had my share of mid-loaf disappointments–what’s this raw pocket doing here?)  Turn off the oven and let the bread and oven cool together.  Or at least for twenty minutes.  Or overnight.

The result?

tangy sourdough rye

Flat, chewy, and surprisingly un-crisp bread.  At least while it’s fresh.

delightful with butter & jam or as garlic toasts

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: