Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

This rye bread recipe, based on Rye Bread (page 16-19) in the publication The Best of Fine Cooking Breads(winter 2012), uses two starters: a rye and a wheat starter. Since I was basing this on the Breads recipe the flours are given in weight measurements. I have a small baking scale which made this part easy. Measuring by volume does give a slight different difference in amount produced. For example, I used 9 ounces of spelt flour, which by volume was: the first 1 cup = 4.6 ounces and the second 1 cup = 4.4 ounces. Is that important? Apparently.  Some bakers are adamant that it is critical, others (most bakers, given the number of cookbooks which use volume measurements) are not so concerned. It’s up to you.

Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

Rye Starter
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces rye flour

Wheat Starter
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces white whole wheat flour

7 ½ ounces rye starter
10 ounces wheat starter
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
9 ounces spelt flour
10 ounces white whole wheat flour
2 ¼ tsp salt

For the Starters:
Make the rye and whole wheat starters separately.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water in a medium size bowl.
Add flour until well blended.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours. I let mine sit for 20 hours.

For the Dough:
Dissolve yeast in water and put aside.
Divide the starters by weight and put together in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl mix the flours and salt.
Add dissolved yeast to starters and mix. The recipe said to do this by hand, and I did, but I think it could very easily (and less messily) be done with a large whisk. Just be gentle.
Add starter mixture to the flour mixture and combine by hand until it all comes together.
Knead on an unfloured surface (or in a very large bowl). Do not add more flour; use a scraper if you need to, but no more flour. Knead for 8 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Knead again for several minutes – until the dough springs back when you poke it with your finger.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a slightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size or for 1 hour.
Release the gasses from the dough by gently kneading it a couple of times.
Return it to the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Cut dough in half and form into two loaves. Place on baking sheet covered in corn meal.
Let rest for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 450 degrees.
Turn the heat down to 400 degrees and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the bottoms sound somewhat hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Don’t slice until the loaves have cooled completely.

RESULTS: The rye bread is nice and chewy with a golden color. It has a good texture for eating with just butter or for making a sandwich. I think it makes a really fine rye bread.

Using the starters added a couple of extra steps, but since it could be done the day before, it actually makes this recipe easy to fit into your schedule. My one real problem with this recipe is that there is so much more starter than needed for the dough. Yes, the leftover starters are enough for another batch, and that’s probably the best way to use them. Unfortunately, Breads didn’t give advice on keeping the leftovers if they’re not used immediately.

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1 Response to Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

  1. I’ve been in the mood for a rye bread lately. Even have a new bag of flour ready to go. Just haven’t found the time to do it yet. Grrrr. I would like to start a rye “starter” and this gives me a reason to do just that. Sounds great 🙂

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