There are a few things that I really want to try and make. For example – I’ve always wanted to try and dry age my own meat at home, or make pinwheels. Another thing I want to try is making my own sponge starter to make bread with. Now for all of those who don’t know what a sponge starter is, basically, it’s a way to cultivate your own yeast to make bread with. Whenever making a yeasted bread, we take the yeast out of it’s package and throw it in warm water to “bloom” the yeast..ie we need to awaken the yeast from its slumber, that’s why it’s called active dry yeast, because it’s dried, but technically it’s still active, and therefore it’s possible that it can go “bad” – eventually. Another option is to get a block of fresh yeast, which is yeast that is alive, and will go bad much quicker, but probably does a better job causing your bread to rise. This is more for professional bakeries.
A third option, is to actually make a farm for your yeast to run wild in. Basically, you make a little cage for the yeast, and feed them what they want, and what they want is flour and water. All you have to do is combine flour and water, let is sit for a few days, and the yeast will start to come by, in their packed mini vans…it’s like a chol hamoed trip for the yeast. Once the “starter” is nice and active (and becomes spongy, hence the name), you just let it sit in your fridge, and feed it every once in a while, and it will stay active forever (apparently there are sponges that have been around for hundreds of years…). You then take this starter, and put it together with your dough, and let the yeasts present do the leavening act.
Rye is different than regular wheat flour in that it’s more dense, and therefore harder to use regular yeast to make a true rye bread. But I have some bad news for you, this time around, I didn’t do this sponge method. I know, I’m sorry..I made you read all of that, and for what? nothing…I hang my head in shame. You can ask Ayelet I’ve tried making sponges. Every once in a while, there will be some mystery container sitting out on the counter with some flour water slurry, and that seems to smell like nail polish remover, but I have yet to have luck in actually making it work. In due time my friends.
So about the bread I actually did make. As with everything else, it all started with me being bored. I opened up the Art of Cooking, and looked up a simple rye bread, and just followed the recipe. The book has a few simple recipes for white bread, and to make a rye bread, you just sub 1/4 to 1/3 of the regular flour with rye flour.
I combined the luke warm water with the yeast so they can bloom.
Combined all the ingredients, and then kneaded in the kitchen aid
Plopped it down on the counter, and kneaded it a little more by hand, and put it into a ball, and let it rise. (I did the microwave trick again)
After an hour and a half rise, I split the dough into two portions, and flattened it, and rolled it up into a loaf, and put it in a loaf pan, to rise one more time.
So one of the loaves I made a regular loaf, but I was thinking – these loaves go stale so quickly, and I have zero room in my freezer, so what am I going to do with 2 loaves of rye bread. So I decided to be innovative. I flattened the loaf in the same way, and spread some honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon on the loaf
and rolled it up, like the other loaf, and let it rise also.
Baked them up
And that’s it.
But wait! There’s more! Order now with you credit card, and not only will you receive this brand new rye bread, but you will also receive a sandwich idea! Operators are standing by.
Yeah – so the next morning for breakfast, I sliced up the honey-rye bread, and threw them in the toaster. When I took it out, I had a flash of genius. I never eat toast with jam, I mean I’m not British, but for some reason I felt like it just had to be done, I don’t know why. So I took the toast, spread some apricot jam on it…great right? Right?! But, because you stuck around this long, there’s even more! More you say? yup! Remember the other day I told you we picked a bunch of peaches from that farm, well it was time for the peaches to shine. When we picked the peaches they were slightly firm, but they told us that in a few days they would ripen some more, and ripen they did. These peaches were perfect, not too mushy, but not too firm, and they were really tasty. So I sliced them up, and put some on the toast, and it was amazing.
You got to try this sandwich one day, I’m telling you it’s really good.
Quick Rye Bread
(adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) of active dry yeast
- 2 and 1/4 cup warm water separated
- 2 cups rye flour
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm water, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the rye flour, the rest of the water, oil, sugar, and salt, and mix with paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Gradually add the rest of the ap flour 1/2 cup at a time, and switch to the dough hook, and knead on low to medium until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to an oiled bowl, and flip the dough around to coat the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1-1.5 hours
- Punch down dough, and split into two balls, and smooth out, and then roll up like a jelly roll, and place into a loaf pan.
- If you want to try and make a honey rye bread – before rolling it up, spread about 3 tablespoons of honey, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and then roll it up.
- Cover the loaves with plastic and let rise again for another 1-1.5 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 450
- Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, and then lower to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes. The bread is ready when you can knock on the bread and hear a thud.
- Remove from pan, and let cool.