By “traditional” sourdough rye bread I mean no-yeast. All the rising action comes from the sourdough itself.
Now you know I’m no stranger to bread baking. Nor am I a stranger to sourdough. Though I most often use sourdough for pancakes and waffles, I’ve made white or half-whole-wheat bread a bunch of times over the years—but always with added yeast. This ensures the bread will rise nicely but with a nice little sourdough twang.
So, for some reason, I decided to experiment with traditional sourdough rye bread. As an added wild card, I’ve had a Bosch mixer for a couple of years now and still have trouble getting the perfect amount of flour in with a machine doing the kneading. It’s far more different than I dreamed. Oh, the other wild card is locally grown, homeground flour.
Yeah, my bread baking has had some issues in the last while. Plus I’ve cut many carbs right out of my diet and haven’t been baking at all for months.
So. To recap. On Wednesday (while the weather was rainy and cool) I decided to make sourdough bread the next day. I pulled my starter out of the fridge, fed it flour and water, and set it on my bathroom counter overnight with the heat on. (Bathroom because it’s the only room in the house I can heat that consistently.)
Thursday morning I thought, hey, why not do it traditionally? It will take longer to rise. No problem. I’ll let it rise all day and bake it in the evening. So I mixed up a batch (recipe below) and set it to rise.
As I watched the dough creeeeep up the sides of the bowl (still on the bathroom counter) I wondered, really, how long I should let it rise. A more experienced friend said a baker she knows calls it a 3-day rise. Oh. Well. In that case, I could certainly let it go overnight. Or longer.
So all day Thursday and all day Friday this dough very slowly crept up the sides of the bowl until Friday evening I decided it had, indeed, doubled in bulk.
I thought it would be nice to make those round free-form loaves, so I blopped half the dough onto each of two pizza pans and left them overnight. Yes, the word blopped is accurate. It should have been a clue. (Remember the above wild card about getting the right amount of flour using the Bosch? Yeah. Not enough.)
Saturday morning they’d spread OUT but not UP. A lot out. This wasn’t going to work. By now I was viewing the experience more as a science experiment than sandwich holders. So what did I have to lose? I took a scraper and blopped the dough into 3 loaf pans, set them back on the bathroom counter, and left them for another 8 or 10 hours.
By this time they’d pretty much reached the tops of the pans. I didn’t think they’d round, so. . .they were as ready for the oven as they were going to get. 375 degrees for 45 minutes, and they sounded hollow when thumped. Pulled them out, let them cool, and cut one loaf open.
The bread is actually a beautiful texture, but my goodness, the sour flavor is powerfully well developed. I see more experimenting in my future. Since hot summer weather hit while my bread was rising, more tweaking may have to wait a few months.
TRADITIONAL SOURDOUGH RYE BREAD (2-3 loaves)
4 cups sourdough starter
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons olive oil (or melted lard)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda (they did sneak some leavening in!)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot—no idea why it’s in there)
Blend all of this well. I did it in my Bosch, but you could do it with a wooden spoon or whisk and proceed by hand.
3 cups organic rye flour
2 cups organic white flour
Add as much flour as the dough needs (ask your Bosch—HA!) and knead until smooth. Turn it into an oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm place to rise for 3 hours (that’s what the recipe said!)
Form 2-3 loaves, place into oiled loaf pans, cover, and let rise for 2 hours or so until doubled.
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
If you give it a try, let me know! Or if you have any no-leavening bread tips, I’m ready to hear them.