Monday, June 20, 2011

Kitchen Adventure: Deli Style Rye Bread

It's been a good long while since I last posted a Kitchen Adventure from Baking Illustrated. Actually, it's been well over a month. I guess I just needed a break, but break time is over now. As I was leafing through the book, I decided I wanted to embark on a slightly more challenging kitchen adventure than cookies or pie, which inevitably led me to this chapter:
Then I remembered that I'd purchased this from Vitacost recently:
Choosing the Deli-Style Rye bread recipe made perfect sense.
For the full recipe (steps and accompanying notes), consider purchasing your own copy of Baking Illustrated
Ingredients:
Sponge
2 3/4 cup room temperature water
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast, instant or dry active
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
Dough
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
3 1/2 cups (12 1/8 ounces) medium or light rye flour
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cornmeal for the baking sheet

Glaze
1 egg white
1 tablespoon milk
sponge - go yeasts go!
This bread recipe begins with making a sponge, that sits for 1-1/2 to 2 hours to allow the yeast to get a'crackin. After the sponge is sufficiently bubbly, the remaining ingredients are added in and the dough's kneaded, mechanically or by hand, until smooth but sticky.
Mmmm - caraway seeds!
The dough is then turned out, kneaded into a ball by hand, and placed in a large, lightly oiled bowl and allowed to rise in a warm area for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It was about 80° outside, so I covered the bowl with (an excessive amount of) plastic wrap and left it on my deck.
Once the dough doubled in size, it was time to turn it out onto the lightly floured counter and divide it in two. I shaped it into two smaller loaves, but I think if I were to make this recipe again, I'd make one large loaf for simplicity.  Once the loaves are shaped, they sit for another hour to rise again before they go straight into the oven. The delicious smell of bread wafting out of the oven had both Eric and I salivating while it was baking.
It's a popular belief that baking your own bread is difficult. It's not really difficult,  it requires a slight bit more precision, a vast amount of patience and an entire day to spare. As you can see in the first picture, I started this bread at 1:30 PM EST. It wasn't ready to be packaged away until 10:30PM EST.
Now that I'm left with a goodly amount of fresh bread, I had to think about what I could do with it. With my current egg obsession, I decided on egg salad:
Eric was excited because he could make Reubens! He even made the Thousand Island dressing himself, which I was pretty impressed by.
Have you tried to make homemade bread? What kind? Did it turn out the way you hoped?