Stout & Rye Sourdough

After a long break, I am finally settling down and returning to my old routines. My time away from school was replete with travel adventures and close friends, but unfortunately little in the way of good bread. With my appetite rearing, my taste buds hankering for a slice of strong sourdough, and my teeth itching to delve into a firm crust, I set about making elaborate plans for all the different loaves I was going to bake. And bake I did, but all of my initial loaves were not quite up to my usual expectations. Sometimes I did not let them rise long enough, eager to stick them in the oven and be blessed with a hot loaf faster. Unfortunately those turned out fairly tasty, but predicatably dense. Others just did not have a that subtle combinations of flavors that truly make a loaf shine. But, yesterday I finally baked a loaf that I can be proud of. My craving for a crusty, light, and flavorful loaf was satisfied.

stout-rye-bread

I threw caution to the wind when deciding baking this batch. Being disillusioned (or perhaps just a little grumpy) with the recipes I had recently tried from my library of bread baking books, I took an index card, sat down at my wooden dining table, and set about figuring out what I wanted in my own personalized loaf. I threw in some stout, a good portion of rye, and just a hint of malted barley syrup. At the time it was about 15 degrees outside with wind howling fiendishly and the sidewalks coated in treacherous slicks of ice. I wanted a hearty loaf to sustain me through this week of winter weather. Beer, rye, and a bit of sweetness just leapt out as obvious ingredients.

I decided to make a sourdough leavened by a rye culture refreshed with a dark stout the night before. During the mixing of the final dough, I fortified the gluten-lacking rye flour with some wheat flour, but also added more rye flour to the mix to maintain an overall rye flavor. Another tactic I adopted, more out of curiousity than anything else, was one that Dan Lepard uses. It consists basically of mixing the dough, kneading it for 10-15 seconds, letting it rest for a bit, kneading it for another 10-15 seconds, letting it rest for a bit, etc. He claims that he discovered this technique as a busy chef in a kitchen who would easily get distracted by other tasks while trying to make bread. Now, he says it is his preferred method of kneading dough by hand. I must say that I was quite pleased with the results. One benefit of this method is that you are physically manipulating and feeling the dough more throughout the dough-crafting process. It gives you a good understanding of how the dough is progressing and what changes it has undergone. I also believe that this method oxygenates the dough more, providing more fuel for the yeast. If you haven’t tried it, I’d recommend it if you have a lazy day around the house to spare.

The loaves resulting from my impromptu recipe were just what I wanted. The crust was thick and crackly, the crumb light considering the amount of rye flour used, and the flavor and aroma of the stout complimentary to the sour rye. My boyfriend and I enjoyed it with dinner last night; plain, drizzled with olive oil, topped with some delightfully pungent aged cheese, and as a vessel for our extra tomato sauce. It was delicious all those ways. I’m looking forward to experimenting with for the remainder of the week.

I’m thrilled to be part of this week’s YeastSpotting at the Wild Yeast Blog. Make sure to check out what other delicious creations were baked this week!

Stout & Rye Sourdough
Yield: ~1700 g

Rye Sourdough:
50 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter
250 g dark stout
250 g whole-rye flour

Dissolve the sourdough in the stout. Add the whole-rye flour and stir until well combined. Let ripen for 14 to 16 hours at room temperature.

Final Dough:
All of rye sourdough (~550 g)
425 g water
30 g barley malt syrup
200 g whole-rye flour
475 g white flour (11-12% protein content)
18 g salt

Combine the rye sourdough with the water and the barley malt syrup. Stir until the sourdough loosens and the mixture is slightly frothy. Add the whole-rye and white flours, kneading until it is thoroughly combined and all the flour is hydrated. Let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes.

Add the salt and knead on a prepared work surface for 10-15 seconds. Place the dough in a well-oiled container and let rest covered for 10 minutes.

Knead dough on work surface for 10-15 seconds and shape into a ball. Return to oiled container and let rest covered for 10 minutes.

Knead dough on work surface for 10-15 seconds and shape into a ball. Return to oiled container and let rest covered for 10 minutes.

Knead dough on work surface for 10-15 seconds and shape into a ball. Return to oiled container and let rest covered for 30 minutes.

Knead dough on work surface for 10-15 seconds and shape into a ball. Return to oiled container and let rest covered for 1 hour.

Knead dough on work surface for 10-15 seconds and shape into a ball. Return to oiled container and let rest covered for 1 hour.

Knead dough on work surface for 10-15 seconds and shape into a ball. Return to oiled container and let rest covered for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a loose ball and leave for 15 minutes. During this time prepare your bannetons or other proofing containers.

Shape the dough pieces into a tight boule, place seam-side up into the bannetons, and cover. Allow loaves to proof at room tempearture until they are almost doubled in height and very light and fluffy (~2 1/2 to 3 hours).

Preheat the oven to 450 F with a steam pan and baking stone. When the loaves are ready, score them and place them in the oven. Bake with steam for 15 minutes and another 25 without steam. Keep an eye on the loaves. If they appear to be getting too dark, turn down the temperature in the oven to 425 F. Turn off the oven, crack the door, and leave the loaves in for another 7-8 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into.

stout-rye-bread-2

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3 Responses to “Stout & Rye Sourdough”

  1. Ooooo that is great rye crumb!
    Dan Lepard’s is a wonderful technique!

  2. Nice to see you back! Your personalized loaf is gorgeous and just right for winter weather.

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