Making Sourdough Rye Bread
Rye was brought into this world for sourdough breads! With it's genius for fermentation, it makes a super sourdough starter, much better for both wheat and rye sourdough breads than any wheat starter we have used. We use this sort of starter for better flavour and for it's conditioning effect rather than to make the bread rise-yeast does that_ so the sourdough starter is easy to store and maintain. No doubt it passes through stages when in has plenty of leavening power, but none of our recipes depend on that.
The recipe we like is from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It makes a wonderful pungent mixture that give the bread a bright, tangy flavour with a substantial texture. Interesting enough, the small amounts of milk and yeast were necessary and we found that if we left them out, that mysteriously enough the bread didn't taste as good or have the same consistency. We have put the starter mixture in our New Recipe section of our website right here. Rye Sourdough Starter
Rye has a talent for fermentation. Rye sourdough starters have a long tradition: not only do they impart unequaled fragrance and a savory tang to the finished bread but they also condition the dough. Without them, rye dough , particularly whole grain rye dough, tends to be alkaline. The acid quality of a sourdough, and also it's fermenting organisms, keep the bread from being wet and gummy. Rye recipe without sourdoughs usually include some acid ingredient to achieve the same effect, like vinegar or lemon juice.
Mixing and Kneading Rye Doughs: To mix a rye-wheat dough, always add the heaviest flour first, so in this case use the rye flour first. Work in the remaining rye flour by hand until you have a smooth dough and knead it well. If you are using a Bosch Machine do the same. Add the rye flour first and slowly add the wheat flour until the bowl starts to clean. If your dough gets too dry you can add a little more water but stay with the machine as it could unbalance some of the older Bosch machines. (Shouldn't be a problem with a Universal Plus)
If kneading by hand, it has been our experience that you will only use about 2/3 of the liquid in the bread so save back about 1/3 of the water in a separate bowl. As you are kneading the bread, wet your hands and the table from it as you work. Use the water more generously the first ten minutes because during this period the dough should get soft (but not sticky).
By hand or by machine, the trick is to get a dough that is soft and smooth, before the dough gets unreasonably sticky. Rye like any whole-grain flour, will vary in the amount of liquid it absorbs. Watch the character fo the dough rather than trying to get the exact amounts of flour into it. The larger the proportion of rye to wheat in a recipe, the more liquid it will take to get the dough to come together. A 100% rye dough requires a lot less flour than a wheat-rye dough.
Proofing Rye Doughs: Rye has a knack for fermenting, and if you want to prevent the dough from getting away from you, make them cool--about 72 degrees F. to 80 degrees F. In other words, don't let them proof in the oven, which is much hotter. To help control the fermentation, before you shape rye dough either let it rise twice at room temperature, or once in a warm place, but not TWICE in a warm place (90 Degrees F.) Deflate the dough when your gentle wet finger makes a 1/2 inch hole that does not fill in. Try not to let the dough go so long that is sighs deeply around the fingerpoke.
Because rye ferments so enthusiastically, I don't really recommend making it the "fast way" with extra yeast. If you want to hurry your rye bread, give it just one rise in a very warm place.. The gluten in all rye breads, is fragile, and may tear when handled. To help overcome this problem, while shaping the loaves, use a little water rather than oil to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the table.
Baking Rye Breads: For centuries, earthy, traditional rye breads have been baked in brick ovens with high initial heat and then a long bake at descending temperatures. Much of the appleal of these classic breads develops in the oven, so proper baking makes a big difference with old-fashioned rye sourdoughs. Whatever kind of rye bread you make, though, be sure to bake it thoroughly--underbaked rye leaves a wet-pinky-woolly taste on the back of your front teeth. Quite unpleasant! In my opinion, nothing is worse than gummy bread!
With high temperatures in the oven, the problem of temperature fluctuations when the thermostat comes on and off, is intensified. The bake is much better in aoven that can hold a steady, even heat. Using quarry tiles or a pizza stone that is pre-heated in a very hot oven is a good way to control this as well. Many times to keep the doughs from splitting as it bakes, the tops are slashed and or water is place in a pan on the bottom rack to keep the moisture in the oven as it bakes.
If you wish to give your rye sourdough a pretty, shiny dark crust, you can paint your loaf with a glaze 1 minute before it comes out of the oven. being sure to cover all the exposed surface. For a darker, shinier crust, brush on the glaze during the baking period as well--about halfway through or so, but not before that.
1/4 cup cold water, 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. honey or molasses. Mix together and cook on stove for 5 min. until clear
Here's one of the recipes from Laurels's Kitchen Bread Books called "Roberta's Sourdough Rye Bread"