Catch Her in the Rye

Day 2 of California’s Shelter-in-Place order and Bake #2 for “DeDe Bread.” Today I made two identical loaves of rye bread. One was delivered to my local family, and the other is currently being consumed by Quality Assurance Department.

Day 3’s plan is to make a replicate of today’s loaf plus a crusty loaf made in the Dutch Over. Before either loaf is delivered to likewise Shelter-in-Place friends and family the QA Department will be sampling a slice or two.

Homemade Rye Bread

INGREDIENTS
4 ½ tsp (16 g) packages active dry yeast
2 ½ cups warm water (just barely warm to the touch)
2/3 (225 g) cup molasses
2 tbl caraway seeds (optional)
1 tbl salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tbl Rye Bread Improver
2 cups rye flour
5 cups bread flour

METHOD

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the molasses. Put yeast mixture into a large metal bowl.
  2. Add the caraway seeds, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, 2 cups of rye flour and then 2 cups of bread flour, mixing into the yeast mixture after each addition with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add more bread flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is not so sticky and it is too hard to mix it with the wooden spoon. At that point, spread a half cupful of flour onto a large, clean, flat surface and put the dough onto the surface.
  4. Knead the dough with a Kitchen-aide bench mixer using the dough hook. Add more bread flour in small amounts until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Once the sides of the bowl are fairly clean then knead 8 minutes.
  5. Let the dough rise: Spread some vegetable oil around a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it so it gets coated in the oil.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  7. Gently press down on the risen dough so some of its air is released. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, knead the dough a few turns and then divide it by cutting it in half with a sharp knife.
  8. Shape each half into loaf. Place dough loafs into either oiled 8×4-inch bread loaf pans, or onto a flat baking sheet or peel that has been sprinkled with corn meal, depending if you want to cook the loaves in pans or directly on a baking stone. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth.
  9. Let the loaves rise: Let the bread rise again, this time not doubling in volume, but rising by about half of its volume, about 30 to 45 minutes, half as long as the first rising. The dough should be peeking over the top of the loaf pan if using a loaf pan.
  10. If you are using a Dutch Oven or baking stone, place it in the oven and preheat oven to 350°F for at least half an hour before baking.
  11. If baking in a Dutch Oven pick the dough up by the corners of the parchment paper and place the dough and parchment paper into the Dutch Oven or directly on the baking stone. Score the loaves a few times on the top of the dough right before putting it in the oven. Be careful, the Dutch Oven or baking stone will be hot.
  12. Put loaves in the oven. If you have a mister, mist the dough with a little water the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until done. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.

WHEAT Blew the Referee’s Whistle

So, as I know everyone does, I was browsing YouTube bread baking video tutorials yesterday while watching college football. As often happens as I spun down the YouTube rabbit hole I did a google search for “light, airy, whole wheat bread” and I found MelsKitchenCafe.com.

Having a few hours before the NFL games start today I decided to give it a try. No surprise, I had all the ingredients in my baking supplies, including vital wheat gluten.

Finished loaf – note low rise and tight crumb.
I followed all Mel’s directions and was pleased when my results very closely matched her pictures. I did find that setting 1 or 2 on my KitchenAid mixer was too slow to efficiently mix or knead the dough, so I used 3. (For my white bread I usually knead at 4 or 6. Oddly, there are only even numbers on the speed scale.) Perhaps I knocked some air out of the dough by using a more aggressive knead.
Shaped loaf in bread pan
I left the dough a little slack hoping the extra hydration would increase the size of the holes and crumb would yields the light, airy bread I hoped for. (It didn’t.) The flavor is excellent and this recipe is worth trying again. Now, if you will excuse me I need to check that the cooled bread is every bit as good as the warm.

And Fran said “Let’s just have bread for dinner!”

NOT IN MY HOUSE!! I had some chicken cutlets, plum tomatoes, but no garlic bread 😦

Making a couple of loaves of baguettes doesn’t take very long, however, without a baguette pan the loaves tend to flatten. Instead I just made them in bread pans and cut them on a diagonal. Not perfect, but not bad.

The chicken parm was nothing special beyond delicious. a 14oz can of crushed tomatoes, one cup fresh, peeled, diced, plum tomatoes, about 1/4 cup EVO, one clove of garlic, cut into thin slices, 1 teaspoon of salt, one sprig of fresh basil.

Heat the oil and garlic together. When the garlic turns pale gold, add the tomatoes, salt, and basil and mix. Let it cook until it has reduced to the thickness you like. Put the chicken in some type of roasting vessel (I use my au gratin’s), cover with the marinara sauce, sliced mozzarella, torn basil leaves and slices of fresh tomato. Bake at 350 for about 30 min. I cannot abide under cooked chicken so usually cook for 35 – 40 min. For the last 5 min use the broiler to be sure everything is browning.

Also, the home made garlic bread (2 teaspoons mayonnaise and 1/8 cup of garlic powder spread over the bread and broiled until just browning, 3-5 min) is cooked at the same time as the last 5 min of the chick parm.