Thursday, August 12, 2010

40 Percent Caraway Rye

To round out the August breads, we have another rye recipe, number four of 15. As I've said before, I'm not a fan of rye breads. The good news is that this is a 40% rye—a transitional rye rather than one of the heavier ryes.

For my first pass at this recipe, I simply halved the original recipe an made an oblong loaf. Halving the recipe is pretty much as low as you can go. The recipe yields a moist dough that can puddle in the bottom of the mixer and resist kneading. I had to stop the mixer a couple of times, scrape the bowl, and lightly dust it with flower. Any less dough and this would have been a real problem.

This is truly a caraway rye. Caraway was the dominant taste, a taste that in large part obscured everything else. To be fair, in my experience, caraway seeds quickly lose their flavor. The caraway seeds I used were purchased recently. Perhaps, the recipe is designed for cooks using less potent caraway seeds. This was certainly an acceptable loaf, but I'd strongly suggest cutting back on the caraway seeds unless you have a real passion for caraway.

Hamelman suggests a couple of variations, so I simply followed his suggestions for my second pass at this recipe. I made both 3 oz. rolls and 3 oz. Salzstangerl or salt sticks. Basically, Salzstangerl are fat bread sticks that have been pressed into a mixture of coarse salt and caraway seeds.

For both the rolls and the Salzstangerl, I omitted the caraway seeds from the dough. With the rolls, I wanted to see what the bread tasted like without the overpowering caraway. And the answer? This is a very pleasant mild rye bread, something I could easily become used to. With the Salzstangerl, I figured that the caraway coating would be adequate. In fact, I made these with just salt and with a mixture of both salt and caraway. Both were pleasant. Since it is easy to do both, that would be my suggestion.

This isn't a bad recipe, but I don't plan to make it again anytime soon—even if I didn't have another 11 rye recipes from Hamelman to look forward to.

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