Jeffrey Hamelman’s Light Rye Bread


DSC01472 - Hammelmans Light Rye - No. 1

                                                         DSC01473 - Hammelmans Light Rye - No. 2

                                                                    Stretch and fold techique

DSC01474 - Hammelmans Light Rye - No. 3


                                             DSC01476 - Hammelmans Light Rye - No. 4



DSC02110 - No. 2

                                          Intentional tighter crumb for sandwiches

Jeffrey Hamelman’s book, BREAD – A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes, is one of my favorite baking sources.  It not only contains excellent bread recipes/formulas but also has a wealth of information about bread baking in general.  If you’re a serious home baker you owe it to yourself to become acquainted with this excellent, well rounded book about the baking craft.  The first section alone (ninety-two pages) is well worth the price of the book.  In these pages Hamelman takes you through a detailed description of each of the twelve steps of baking and explains numerous baking terms and techniques.  The twelve-step method is a defined, straightforward progression of logical steps used in the bread baking process.  I firmly believe that a thorough understanding and application of the twelve-step method will make your baking more enjoyable and provide you consistently better results. 

In the sections Ingredients and Their Function along with Hand Techniques Hamelman discusses and explains how ingredients work, such as yeast and sourdough starters, and how to make bread by hand.  BREAD puts artisan baking into perspective and reiterates the simple fact that most artisan breads require only four ingredients: flour, leavening, salt and water.  However, that’s where simplicity ends and knowledge and understanding of the craft takes over.  This book was written for both the professional and home baker.  It contains scaled down “Home” formulas for each recipe that can easily be executed by a reasonably proficient home baker. 

One of my favorite recipes/formulas from this book is Hamelman’s light rye bread (page 197) which, in my opinion, is about as good as rye bread gets.  I bake this delicious bread frequently, using it for sandwiches and toast or simply slathered with butter.  I prefer a slightly tighter crumb for sandwich bread, rather than a more open crumb (baguettes, ciabatta, etc.).  To acheive the desired crumb texture I give this dough three stretchs-and-folds (at 20 minute intervals) during bulk fermentation.  The three stretchs-and-folds result in a moderately open crumb.

Incidentally, when trying a new recipe I usually mix the dough by hand the first time.  Hand mixing has the advantage of getting my hands into the dough and being able to feel the changes that take place as the dough develops during the mixing process.  Hand mixing also leads to an better understanding of how your dough should look and feel (color, gluten development, hydration, etc.) as it progresses through the mixing process.  With this understanding and some practice a home baker can then confidently proceed to using an tabletop electric stand mixer to mix the dough.

Hamelman’s recipe comment: “This light, mildly acidic bread is similar to what is commonly referred to as Jewish rye bread.  Whole dark rye may be substituted for the medium rye in the formula.  In this case a little more water may be needed in the sourdough phase.  The bread will also have a more pronounced flavor.  White rye flour is commonly used in this style of bread; it is however almost devoid of flavor, so medium or whole rye is a better choice.”
Hamelman’s Light Rye Bread (Home recipe/formula)
Makes 2 large loaves
Medium rye flour                                                   4.8 oz (1 1/8 cups
Water                                                                           3.8 oz (1/2 cup)
Mature sourdough culture                                    .2 oz (2 tsp)
Final Dough
High gluten flour  (or bread flour)                1 lb, 11.2 oz (6 1/8 cups)
Water                                                                         1 lb, 1.3 oz (2 1/8 cups)
Caraway seeds                                                          .6 oz (2 1/2 T)
Salt                                                                                 .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast                                                                             .16 oz, instant dry (1 1/2 tsp)
Sourdough                                                               8.6 oz (all of the above minus 2 tsp)
Total                                                                        3 lb, 6.5 oz
1. Sourdough: Prepare the sourdough and ripen for 14 to 16 hours at 70 deg. F
2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl.  In a spiral mixer, mix for 3 minutes on first speed and 3 to 4 minutes on second, until a strong gluten development is achieved.  Desired dough temperature: 78-80 deg. F.
3. Bulk Fermentation: 1 hour.
4. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5 pound pieces.  Shape oblong or as a round boule (as in above photo).
5. Final Fermentation: 50-60 minutes at 78-80 deg. F.
6. Baking: With normal steam, 460 deg. F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 440 deg. F and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Just before loading [the loaves into the oven] score the loaves by making 3 or 4 cuts across the surface, perpendicular to the length of the loaf.
Caraway Seed Variation: Caraway seeds can be added to the top of the loaf.  Gently press the top of the shaped loaves with a damp cloth (or lightly spritz with a fine mist of water from a small spray bottle) and then sprinkle caraway seeds onto the moistened surface.

2 Responses

  1. […] I recently became a member of a new baking group: the Mellow Bakers. We bake our way through the book “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman at a rather relaxed pace. One of the breads that was randomly picked for April was the Light Rye Bread which you can find on page 197 in the book (or online here). […]

  2. […] Similarly to what happened in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, we will not post the recipes for this group project. The Light Rye Bread can be found on page 197 of Hamelman’s BREAD. It is also available online. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: