Spelt Rye Bread
June 24, 2011
[250SP - 250RY - 225LE - 350WA] autolyse 30 min (1800-1830)
[10SA - 50WA] mix, bulk ferment 2 hours, turn every half hour (1830-2030)
shape into cylinder, retard in loaf tin for 9:40
Tried to speed up bulk fermentation by leaving it the oven with a pot of hot water. Skipped the bench rest because the dough never developed the way I wanted it to. It was very gloopy and did not congeal well, though the gluten developed and it did get quite stretchy. The dough felt like it was holding too much weight to get the right texture. After retarding overnight the dough had stiffened up a bit from the cold but still did not have much tension. I desperately tried to shape it and baked it as usual. This time instead of pouring boiling water into a preheated pan at the bottom of the oven to generate steam, I put a wet tea towel in a pan below the bread (per Chad Robertson's instructions in Tartine Bread) and it didn't really generate the same concentrated steam. This might have contributed to the very slight oven spring and the dough flattened out a bit in the first few minutes of baking - but the dough itself had faults that ended in this result. I'm not blaming the tea towel. Total baking time was 1:30 this was a longer baking time than usual but the finished loaf didn't seem to reflect that. The color of the crust was very light and even the flour on top of the loaf managed to stay white.
Was unusually patient enough to wait 1 hour before slicing into this bread. Both during cooking and cooling, there was an atypically sweet aroma hanging around the kitchen. The crust was hard, crunchy, and airy in structure. What it was missing was the sort of second-soft crust I described before that sort of sticks to your teeth and really carries the flavor. I'm not sure if this is due to under-baking or says something about the nature of the rye and spelt combination. The bread definitely could have used some more time, as the knife came out slightly gummy when slicing the loaf even though an hour had passed. As you can see in the photo, the crumb structure wasn't particularly open, uniform, or attractive. But it was moist and remained so even after sitting on the counter a few hours (the sign of a sufficient crust?). A few friends helped to all but devour the loaf with cheese, chocolate spread, jam, salami, and butter. A peculiar list of condiments, yes. Next time I may try this dough with less rye flour or the same 50-50 mix with a much lower hydration percentage (60-65%).
Submitted to Yeastspotting