Monday, March 16, 2009

Artisan Five-Minute Deli Rye

Last Saturday, some friends invited us to a Pinot Noir tasting party. The idea was that we would see if we could tell Oregon Pinot Noir from northern California Pinot Noir (we couldn't) and to see if there was a clear favorite among four different wines (there wasn't). I was supposed to bring bread. Since I know that Fred, who would be the wine pourer, is a big fan of caraway rye bread, I figured if I brought him a loaf of caraway rye, he might pour extra-big glasses of wine for me. I think my ploy worked, but I don't remember.
I really wanted to bake Rose's rye bread recipe, which is the best I've made, but I was going to be gone all day Saturday and I didn't think I could work it into the schedule, so I settled on the Five-Minute recipe, which does have the advantage of giving you a lot of flexibility.
The recipe is supposed to make four loaves of bread, but they would be very small one-pound loaves. I scooped up nearly two pounds of dough for my first loaf.

The bread is supposed to be brushed with a cornstarch wash to make it nice and shiny, so I was envisioning a fat, brown, gleaming loaf of caraway-speckled bread.

I learned that if you mix up cornstarch and water but forget to heat it to a boil, it doesn't make the bread shiny. In fact, it seems to have the reverse effect. At least, something made this bread refuse to brown. I finally took it out of the oven because it had been baking for over twice as long as it was supposed to; even allowing for the fact that it was bigger than the recipe's one-pound loaf, it still was behaving oddly.

Not only did it have a dull matte finish, but the little slashes I made on top of the bread expanded so that the bread looked like it had exploded. My poor bread was kind of an ugly duckling. But I covered it in plain brown wrapping and sneaked it inside the Beiers' house; then I sliced it before anyone could see its oddity. It tasted pretty good though. Curiously, the more wine we drank, the better the bread tasted.
A few days later, I made another loaf. This time I took out 1.2 pounds and made a torpedo-shape loaf. I used my LaCloche bread baker, and I remembered to boil the cornstarch wash.

I think this is more what it's supposed to look like. And the slashes looked more normal too.

By now the dough had been in the refrigerator for about a week, so it had a little more tang, but it was by no means funky.
I'm always a little apprehensive about looking at the dough that's been hanging out in the refrigerator for a while--afraid of what I might see. So far, I've seen nothing but bread dough. Which is what I saw on Sunday, a week and four days after I made the original dough: a small amount of normal looking caraway rye dough. In fact, it was small enough that I thought a loaf of bread would look pathetic, so instead, I made four rye dinner rolls.

I thought the rolls were the most successful of the three variations I made, even though there were only a few of them. They were the prettiest--the cornstarch wash actually worked and the slashes didn't deform the bread.

The sad news is that Loaf #1 is gone; Loaf #2 is gone; and Rolls #3-6 are gone. I've been so busy at work that I haven't had time to make more bread, so I'm reduced to having my morning toast with store-bought bread, which makes me glum. I hear my mother's voice reminding me that the starving children in China (I know that some mothers talked about the starving children in India or Africa, but my mother's were always in China) would be grateful for that bread, and I get that whining about not having homemade bread is unattractive, but still. I hope I have time to make some of the real stuff this weekend.

Deli-Style Rye

--adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
3 c. (709 grams) water
1 1/2 T. (14.4 grams) instant yeast
1 1/2 T. (25 grams) salt
1 1/2 T. (15 grams) caraway seeds
1 cup (130 grams) rye flour
5 1/2 cups (771 grams) all-purpose flour.

1. Mix the yeast, salt, and caraway seeds with the water in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients with a spoon or a stand mixer, using the dough hook.

3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest about two hours, or until the dough rises and starts to fall.

4. Refrigerate in a container (not airtight) and use within 14 days.

5. When ready to bake, cut off the amount you want to use (one pound will make a smallish loaf. Shape into whatever shape you want, and allow to rest and rise, 40 minutes to an hour, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

6. Preheat oven to 450, with baking stone placed on middle rack.

7. Paint the top crust with cornstarch (mix 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a paste; add 1/2 cup water, stir, and bring to boil). Make cuts into top of loaf with slashing knife, razor blade, or serrated bread knife.

8. Place baking pan on hot stone. For a better crust, either pour 1 cup boiling water into another baking sheet on another rack, or put about 1/2 cup ice cubes on preheated baking sheet or skillet on rack below the bread.

9. Bake about 35 minutes for one-pound loaf, longer for a larger loaf, and less for rolls.

10. Let cool on cooling rack before cutting.


jini said...

hmmm, i haven't tried that recipe as yet, but it looks great. even with a dull finish and explosive shape it sounds like it tasted great! i hadn't heard of the boiled cornstarch wash. there's a lot about baking that i don't know!! :)
i suppose that whining could be than attractive, but it's allowed and sometimes it's the only thing that works! i hope you have adequate time to return to baking very soon!
my mother's threat was the starving armenians.

evil cake lady said...

Your rolls are so perfectly round!

(And as an Oregonian, I am obligated to say, "well of COURSE Oregon pinots taste different...they taste better!" However I am not much of a wine drinker, so truthfully I have no idea.)

I baked the Whole Wheat with Raisins and Pecans bread this weekend, so now I doubly envy your bread making skills!

breadbasketcase said...

It's good, but not as good as Rose's rye recipes. But it's hard to beat coming home at 5:00 and having bread coming out of the oven at 7:00! Thank you for allowing me to whine. It did make me feel better.

The rolls were the most aesthetically pleasing, so maybe that's why I liked them the best. I also dusted cornmeal on the parchment paper, and cornmeal goes especially well with rye. The Oregon wines were very good, but so were the Californian ones. Wine is so good! (But not so good with, e.g., red devil's food cake).
I can't wait to read about your bread! Since you humored me with my bread recipe, you can choose any cake recipe you want.

Anonymous said...

Your breads look lovely, Marie, as they usually do! I really like the look of the rolls though. I did the Vermont Cheese bread from your blog a few weeks ago and i was pleased with it and almost ordered the book but then I decided to get Rose's first and i have made the Hearth Bread and the Banana Feather loaf. Both were good but I need to practise more before I get to your standard! Any home-made bread is better than shop bought though, don't you think?
Regards, Jeannette.

Annie said...

I think you're really clever keeping dough in the refrigerator like this. We sometimes bake, slice and then freeze bread so it's ready to eat when required. Trouble is getting around to replacing it! When forced to buy bread I always buy Turkish.

We try to keep ourselves in homemade bread but have a couple of standard recipes we make all the time: (1) wholegrain and (2) ciabatta. Very occasionally we make a black bread which is great with smoked salmon or under scrambled eggs:)

We must try to be more adventurous!

Doughadear said...

Hi Marie,
What a coincidence that you made rye bread from 5 minutes. I recently purchased Aritisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and mixed a batch of the Master Recipe last night. I was eager to give the recipe a try first thing this morning as I was very curious what the bread would be like considering its minimal handling and proofing times. The loaf turned out okay, perhaps a bit dense, next time I would let it rise a bit longer and decrease the amount of salt I think. Considering that this method goes against everything I've learned about artisan baking the loaf tasted pretty good. It certainly is nice to be able to pull some dough out of a container and have bread ready in a couple of hours.
Your bread looks lovely especially the buns.

Melinda said...

Pretty loaves, even your so called 'brown bag hidden loaf'. I love rye bread and caraway seeds, so I bet I would happily eat all these up too!

breadbasketcase said...

Sometimes I wish I could bake all the breads in The Bread Bible for the first time again! It was such fun to try all the different breads. If memory serves, the banana feather loaf is Melinda's favorite. The hearth bread is one that I've returned to over and over. I'm still waiting to see your Bara Brith!

Slicing and freezing bread is my favorite way of storing it--but you're right, it's so sad when you use the last piece. Your three breads all sound classic, but there are so many other kinds that you would love.

breadbasketcase said...

Exactly my assessment of the Five-Minute book--good, but not great, and you can't beat it for ease and convenience. The salt problem is because they use kosher salt, so if you use 1 1/2 T. of regular salt, you're using more, and it's way too salty. Try some of the recipes made with the book's brioche dough--they are excellent!

I had a heavy hand with the caraway seeds, but I love them in rye bread too. You might have laughed if you'd seen the brown bag loaf in person.

Goody said...

I got the lecture about starving Biafra children with their swollen bellies-though I suspect even they would have taken a pass on mother's stewed courgettes in V-8 juice.

When I do a cornstarch wash, I apply it after the loaf has come out of the oven to the still hot loaf. The thickened mixture adheres and gives it shine along with a bit of a chewy texture. Obviously, you'll want a heatproof brush for that.

Still, fresh bread on short notice is a pretty great thing, and I don't know anyone that would turn up their nose at those loaves-I think they look lovely.

breadbasketcase said...

Courgettes in V-8 sauce? That sounds truly awful.
I never thought about doing a cornstarch wash after the bread comes out of the oven--you can't taste it?

pinknest said...

lol! look at you be sneaking with your bread! i love it.

Goody said...

You can't taste it, but it should be applied very lightly. Here's the link to the recipe (and photo) at my blog:

breadbasketcase said...

Yes, I love to skulk.

Thanks for the link--it looks beautiful (and shiny!)

Jenny said...

Marie, thanks so much for (among other things) your note of caution about boiling the cornstarch wash.I used the peasant bread recipe from the 5-minute book and added walnuts and currants, a la the pumpernickel bread recipe. That one calls for a cornstarch wash and as I was mixing it, your warning wafted into my head.

I could have used a cautionary note about how to put the walnuts and currants in the dough. The recipe says to roll it out into a rectangle, scatter the fruit and nuts and roll it back up. That, however, gave me a baked loaf with colonies of currants and walnuts (overpopulated colonies, at that) huddled near the top and bottom of the loaf.

I agree with you on the "good but not great" verdict on the loaves I've baked so far from the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes" book. However, having the olive oil dough in the fridge for pizza is wonderful (or so my 11-year-old daughter thinks).

Love your blog!


breadbasketcase said...

Glad to save you from the useless cornstarch wash! I know exactly what you mean about ending up with colonies of fruits and nuts amid other unpopulated areas. My excuse is always that it shows the bread is not machine-made.

Jenny said...

Marie, I like your thinking. That loaf disappeared in record time, census problems or not. I'm doing another loaf right now by commiting the (seemingly) cardinal sin of kneading the currants and walnuts into the peasant bread dough. We'll see.

I said this in a previous comment, but I'm not sure it made it onto the site, since I was a neophyte regarding Google membership. I make the 5-minute loaves on parchment paper and slide it along with the loaf onto the baking stone. About a third to half way through the baking time, I go in and remove the parchment so the bottom can get nice and firm. I have made pizzas that turned into Dali's melting clocks as I slid them onto the baking stone (and the pizza either continues to slide or doesn't slide far enough), and that experience scarred my baking psyche. I tried a Gourmet pizza recipe that used parchment paper in this way, and it worked great. That recipe didn't worry about removing the paper mid-bake, but I've found with the breads you can end up with a soft bottom if you don't.

breadbasketcase said...

I can hardly believe that just a few years ago I didn't even know what parchment paper was. Now I've gone through rolls and rolls of it and it is indispensable. I know that some people are very successful at sliding pizzas directly on to the baking stone, and I have great admiration for them, but the parchment paper alternative works beautifully. (I would like to have seen a picture of your melting-clock pizza, though).

海琉 ky said...

I just made a few mini-boules this morning, and they turned out great! I forgot to use kosher salt, so it was a little salty, but not horrible. I also tested out different cornstarch washes; I agree with Goody that the wash should go on after baking, while the loaves are still warm. The crust will be less crispy, but it will shine!
Thanks for this recipe! I haven't been this happy with bread I've baked in ages.

Anardana said...

I was under the impression that the cornstarch wash was only there to make it sticky enough for caraway seeds to stick after being sprinkled on top of the bread.

Anonymous said...

I have been using the 5 minute recipe, but went to a bread baking class and learned how to get a really crunchy crust by baking the bread in a dutch oven that has been pre-heated in the oven with the lid on for at least 30 minutes and then turned down to 450 right when you put the bread in. You then take the lid off half way through baking. I have been trying to bake a good loaf at altitude for years and this FINALLY did the trick! It works for the 5 min bread and regular artisan recipes.