| Sell deli rye already sliced, so customers can create great sandwiches. |
One of the best benefits of being a baker is offering customers excellent breads at the peak of their eating quality. My customers delight in deli rye bread. This bread has wonderful flavor, goes well with a variety of foods and has straightforward production requirements. All you need is a healthy and vigorous sourdough culture, easily procured ingredients, a good mixer, a good steam oven and good hand skills. I used a stiff-textured rye culture for this bread, but a stiff wheat-based culture may be used if you do not wish to keep a rye culture on hand.
The first step is the sourdough. The sourdough formula provided calls for whole rye flour, but it can be substituted with pumpernickel meal. Or, for a lighter-textured bread, you can use medium rye flour. Medium rye does not impart quite as much flavor as the other two, but it still makes delicious bread. You also can reduce or increase the percentage of rye flour, but that will affect the flavor profile of the bread. This bread’s basic characteristics can be maintained using rye flour between 15 percent and 25 percent of the total flour. Lower amounts of rye yield lighter bread and a slightly lighter texture. The rye flavor is more pronounced when a higher percentage is used.
| When shaping, try to achieve symmetrical loaves with blunt ends. |
To prepare the sourdough, disperse the mature culture in the water, add the whole rye flour, and mix until the flour is incorporated. This can be done either by hand or in a mixer. The sourdough should be on the stiff side, but loose enough to be able to “breathe.” I like to sprinkle the surface with rye flour, as this gives a visual aid in determining the degree of ripeness of the sourdough.
You should prepare the sourdough about 16 hours before the final dough will be mixed. Depending upon the season, you may need to use cooler or warmer water or allow the sourdough to ripen in a cooler or warmer environment. When ripe, the sourdough will be domed and well risen, with islands of flour on the surface separated by shiny open areas.
If the sourdough has receded (evidenced by a high water mark around the perimeter), it is an indication that it is over-ripened. Next time you prepare the sourdough, you will need to make the necessary adjustments in water temperature or the temperature of the ripening area to ensure that the sourdough is still domed when you are ready to mix the final dough. Often, simply leaving the sourdough on the floor as opposed to on a bench, or vice versa, can make the difference between a properly ripened sourdough and one that is either too young or too aged.
| To top the loaves with caraway seeds, press them on a damp cloth and then into a tray of seeds. |
Mix final dough
When you are ready to mix the final dough, remove a portion of the ripe sourdough, and save it for future use. To mix the final dough in a spiral mixer, place all the ingredients into the mixer in any order. If you are using a planetary style mixer, first add the water, then the sourdough followed by the remaining ingredients.
Mix on first speed for about three minutes or until all the ingredients are incorporated. Once the ingredients are incorporated, taste for salt and check hydration. The dough should be moderately loose-textured. Make small additions of water or flour as needed, but avoid adding an excess of flour, as this can result in dense and lifeless dough.
Then, mix on second speed until a moderate gluten development is achieved. In a spiral mixer, this should take three to four minutes. Four to six minutes of mixing may be necessary in a planetary mixer. The desired dough temperature is 78°F to 80°F.
Transfer the dough to a tub, and allow the covered dough to bulk ferment for one to two hours. No degassing is necessary with a one-hour bulk fermentation, but if you ferment for two hours, degas after the first hour.
| After shaping, place the loaves on couche linen, seam down, and proof until they are well risen. |
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and divide it into the desired weights. I scaled the loaves at 1.5 lbs. (680 g) and 3 lbs. (1.36 kg), and the rolls at 3 ozs. (85 grams). Using a 36-part divider, presses of rolls weigh 6.75 lbs. (3.06 kg).
If you scale the dough to 3 ozs., you also can make salt sticks (salzstangerl). Shape the dough pieces into long fingers, press the tops into a damp cloth, and dip the tops into a mixture of caraway seed and coarse salt. This sort of roll is very common in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
For loaves, pre-shape the divided dough pieces, and leave them to rest on a floured surface for about five minutes. Then, shape them into either rounds or ovals; however, the dough seems to come into its own the best when shaped into ovals.
Give the pieces a final shaping, striving for loaves that have an even symmetry and similar length. Unlike many white breads, where pointy ends are common, rye breads in general should have ends that are somewhat blunt because pointy ends can be a tough to bite into.
| Score the loaves four to five times perpendicular to the length of the bread using a lame or serrated knife. |
Once shaped, you can add caraway seeds if desired. The easiest way to do this is to press the top of the loaf into a dampened cloth and then into a tray of caraway seeds. Place the loaves directly onto couche linen, cover the shaped loaves, and proof at about 80°F to 85°F for an hour or until the loaves are well risen and ready to bake.
Transfer the risen loaves to a loading conveyor, or a peel sprinkled with semolina or corn meal. Using a lame with a straight razor blade, slash the loaves four to five times perpendicular to the length of the bread. Or, you can use a serrated knife to score the loaves.
The oven temperature should be about 460°F. Steam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 440°F, open the vents, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes for loaves scaled at 1.5 lbs., and 30 minutes for 3-lb. loaves. Round rolls bake in 20 to 24 minutes, and slightly less time is needed for salt sticks.
This deli rye makes a great sandwich bread, and pairs well with both hard and soft cheeses, deli meats, shellfish, and charcuterie. I slice 3-lb. loaves in half, and sell the deli rye by the half loaf, sliced. This makes it easy for customers to buy a variety of sliced bread to create their favorite sandwiches. If you give this bread a try, you may find that you have yet one more good bread in your repertoire, and your customers will have one more good reason to come to your shop.
| || Jeffrey Hamelman has been baking professionally for more than 25 years. Three weeks of each month he spends baking at King Arthur Flour’s production bakery in Norwich, Vermont. One week each month he teaches professional baking classes at King Arthur’s Baking Education Center. For more information about the professional classes, call King Arthur at 800/827-6836. |
|Overall Formula |
| ||METRIC ||LBS. ||OZS. ||BAKER’S % |
|Bread flour, about 12% protein ||8kg ||16 || ||80% |
|Whole rye flour ||2kg ||4 || ||20% |
|Water ||7.3 kg ||14 ||9.6 ||73% |
|Salt ||200 g || ||6.4 ||2% |
|Yeast ||150 g || ||4.8 ||1.5% |
|Caraway seeds ||125 g || ||4 ||1.25% |
|Total appr. wt. ||17.775 kg ||35 ||8.8 ||177.75% |
| ||METRIC ||LBS. ||OZS. ||BAKER’S % |
|Whole rye flour ||2 kg ||4 || ||100% |
|Water ||1.66 kg ||3 ||5.1 ||83% |
|Mature sourdough culture* ||100g || ||3.2 ||5% |
|Total appr. weight ||3.66 kg ||7 ||5.1 || |
| Instructions: Prepare according to article. |
*The weight of the culture is not included because it will be removed before the final mix.
|Final Dough |
| ||METRIC ||LBS. ||OZS. ||BAKER’S % |
|Bread flour ||8 kg ||16 || ||100% |
|Water ||5.64 kg ||11 ||4.5 ||70.5% |
|Salt ||200 g || ||6.4 ||2.5% |
|Yeast ||150 g || ||4.8 ||1.88% |
|Caraway seeds ||125 g || ||4 ||1.56% |
|Sourdough ||3.66 kg ||7 ||5.1 ||45.75% |
|Total appr. wt. ||17.775 kg ||35 ||8.8 || |
| Instructions:Prepare according to article. Load the bread into a 460°F oven with steam. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 440°F, open the vents. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes for 1.5-lb. loaves, 30 minutes for 3-lb. loaves. 3-oz. rolls bake in 20 to 24 minutes. |