We found rye flour on sale at the grocery store, so now I’ve committed to making rye bread. Only problem… rye bread is not really my favourite. I almost halved the recipe from World’s Famous Chefs’ Cook Book, but didn’t. Calling for 11 cups of flour, I figured it would be closer to four loaves than the predicted two, and I was right. 2 standard loaf pans, one long baguette, and one small round loaf.
I started with the sponge – warm water, yeast, and about a third of the flour, then left it in the oven on the proof setting to rise. It did rise up nicely, and covered half of the handle of my Danish dough whisk with goopy batter. Note to self – take the dough whisk out before rising next time!
The mixing was almost too much for my dough whisk to handle, and I had to finish kneading in the flour by hand. Grandma’s old yellow ware bowl barely held all the ingredients but it did the job. I finished it on the counter, then put it into two loaf pans, and shaped a loooooooong baguette, but had to break off the end to make a small round loaf because I don’t own a pan long enough. I left it to rise, back in the oven, and came back to check in about an hour and a half. The results…. well….. I gave it another hour or so, then figured I’d better cook it or it wouldn’t be ready for dinner. I brushed it again with cold water and set the loaves into the preheated oven.
An hour later, I took solid, heavy loaves of rye bread out of the oven. The crust is pretty tough, to the point of making the loaves hard to cut, but the insides are tender, if dense. And the flavour is much nicer than I remember rye bread being, though next time, I’d put WAY more caraway seeds into the dough. I asked Mom if Grandma used rye flour in her bread, since mine really reminds me of hers, both in flavour and (sorry Grandma) it’s solid, dense, brick-like texture. Mom is pretty sure Grandma achieved the same results using whole wheat.
My guess is that the dough was too dry and so the crust, despite several applications of cold water during the rising process, dried out too much to let the loaf expand. The dough, made as directed, was very stiff. Next time I’ll cut the amount of flour I use significantly, and let you know how it works out.
We had rye bread for dinner with pulled pork and cole slaw, and it was delicious! You’ll hear about Bettina’s Best Cole Slaw in a future post, but rest assured, it was great too!
I found the World’s Famous Chefs’ Cook Book in one of the Powell’s stores in Portland, Oregon last Christmas. If you’re ever in the Portland area, check them out, you won’t be disappointed!
The book was published in 1940 and written by Ford Naylor. In the preface it warns that more homes are wrecked by the daily menu than by the “Other Woman,” so maybe we should all be paying more attention to their menu suggestions and cooking tips. It also says that every recipe in the book is a SECRET recipe that has been jealously guarded until now…. well…. until then. It also has sections about various famous hotels from around the world, and some recipes from them and train and ship menus as well. The rye bread is from the Hamburg-American Line.
And here are a few of the recipes in the Canadian Cookery chapter of the book, which seems to imply that we Canadians only eat what we hunt: