Friday, June 17, 2011

Swirl Rye Sourdough, Eh?

After our day long adventure whale watching, we decided to take it easy. We slept in a bit, then packed a picnic lunch and headed to Canada. 

Though that might not sound like taking it easy - I should note that it takes only about 20 minutes to get to Canada from where we live. 

My grandparents do not have passports, which sounds like a bit of a problem. However, you can venture across the border and between countries in the jointly-operated Peace Arch International Park - you just can't leave the park boundaries on the other side. 

This ended up being a better deal anyway - I couldn't believe the lines of cars at the border! 

We're in Canada! My grandparents have never been. 

The gardens were beautiful and it was very peaceful and enjoyable to walk around. 

We were enjoying the sun even though the wind made it chilly. 

While we were straddling the border I had a rye sourdough at home in the final stages of proofing.  It began a few weeks ago when my grandparents were telling me about this swirl rye bread they had eaten at a restaurant in Colorado and asked me if I could make that.

Swirl Rye Sourdough, Eh?

I was certain I could figure it out with a lot of help from Andrew Whitley, and the (week-long) process went something like this: 

I found a jar and gathered my measuring spoons - 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon as well as a 1/4 cup. 

Day 1: Create your starter by mixing together 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp rye flour & 1/4 cup hot (104F) water. Cover loosely with the lid and leave it in a warm place. 

Day 2: Add in 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp rye flour & 1/4 cup hot (104F) water to your starter, and mix together. 

Day 3 & 4: You should start to see some frothing in your jar - and perhaps a layer of liquid on top. That's ok - just stir it up and add 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp rye flour & 1/4 cup hot (104F) water each day. 

On Day 5 your starter should be ready to use. I, however, left it for 4 additional days as is because I was busy hangin' out on a glacier and spending time with my grandparents. I just made sure to stir it up a little each day and keep it warm - and it worked out just fine. 

So this could be Day 5 or the night before you plan on baking the bread - but you then make the production sourdough: 
1/4 cup rye sourdough starter 
 1 1/4 cups rye flour 
 1 1/4 cups hot (104F) water

I left that to sit for about 20 more hours, though you can leave for any amount of time between 12-24 hours. 

Early on Day 6 I also mixed together a quick batch of this whole wheat bread to use with the sourdough to make the swirl - however, rather than adding in 1/2 cup rye flour I added in 1/4 cup of the production dough before I used it make the final dough.  

Day 6: After that you are ready to make the final dough:
2 cups production dough 
2 2/3 cups rye flour 
1 tsp sea salt 
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp hot (104F) water

The key to making your final dough (and this is VERY IMPORTANT) is to realize that the dough should be wet and will not come together like a bread you would knead. Keeping the final dough wet and soft will prevent your bread from becoming too dense in the baking process. 

And finally - late afternoon on Day 6 I got to the baking part. 

First I took out a chunk (very objective I know) of the whole wheat dough, placed in on a floured surface, and then rolled it out like you would a pizza dough. Then I wet my hands (this makes the sourdough manageable) and spread it out on the whole wheat dough. 

Then you roll up the two doughs together. 

Seal the ends and place it in a a greased bread pan. Slash the loaves 4 or 5 times with a sharp knife and then leave this to proof for another 2-8 hours (we left it for 3 while watching Ross' hockey game).  

When we returned home we preheated the oven to 500F and then baked the loaves for 45 minutes - turning the temperature down to 425F after 15 minutes. 

This might sound painful - but it is recommended you leave it to cool completely and then wait a day (or overnight like we did) before eating. The flavor of the sourdough will continue to develop and the acidity of the sourdough will keep it from molding for 5-7 days. 

We ended up with enough dough to make 3 loaves total. Needless to say, after more than a week of prep there is only one loaf left in less than 24 hours... we did wait too long for more flavor to develop. It is delicious as it! 

I love the swirl in this bread, and I also love the taste! 

It went well with an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich the next morning! 

I just have to say... I tried a sourdough a few months ago and it failed miserably, probably due to the cold temperatures in our house at the time. I was so thrilled at how well this turned out! It certainly encourages me to keep at it - I'm excited to see what other sourdoughs are in my future! 

Have you ever tried to make a sourdough? Do you want to try it?