Sep 23, 2017

Smoked Sprouted Rye Bread

My third try of Smoked Sprouted Rye Bread from Chad Robertson's Tartine Book No.3. This time, I increased the amount of leaven to 30% from 15% (of original recipe), to see how it affected the dough. It worked great, resulting in much higher oven spring. 

I love the natural sweetness and the complex rich flavors of whole grain breads, but most of them I had before were rather dense with coarse texture, and hard to digest. The breads Chad Robertson aimed at in his Tartine Book No.3 were the ideal solution to these issues associated with typical whole grain breads. By incorporating sprouted berries or pre-cooked whole grains as porridge into the dough, just like adding nuts or seeds, you can add the same (or even more) nutritions and flavors of whole grain flours to the dough without ruining the great benefits of white country loaf, such as nice crisp crust and soft open crumbs. To me, this was a genius idea! You can make a bread that has a better texture than a dense coarse whole grain bread, but as tasty and nutritious as those traditional whole grain breads (and much easier to digest). 

Sprouted rye berries are rich in food enzymes and natural vitamins, much more nutritious than whole grains. Also, they are much easier to digest since sprouted grains are more like vegetables than grains, according to Chad Robertson in his book Tartine Book No. 3.

4 days before making the bread, I soaked whole rye berries in the water with a pinch of sea salt for 6 hours, then rinsed and strained them, kept them in a glass bowl with a plastic wrap cover with small holes. I repeated rinsing and straining for the next 3 days until the berries started to sprout. The rye berries got softer once they sprouted, and 65g rye berries ended to be 120g after sprouting.

For smoking, I made a simple smoking device with a Lodge cast-iron pot and a lid covered with aluminum foil, placing a stainless steamer basket inside, which I leaned from a Japanese website. This is an easy way to smoke in a home kitchen. 

Instead of using wood chips for smoking, I used 3 tbsp Darjeeling tea leaves and 1 tbsp brown sugar. Black tea leaves give a similar smoky flavor as using wood chips, and brown sugar helps to add a dark color. I learned this method from a Japanese website, too. I smoked them for 14 minutes in a tightly covered cast-iron pan, until the sprouted rye berries obtained a light smoky flavor. 

* I recommend to open the room windows while smoking, so the smoke will not linger in the house too long. The smoky flavor of Darjeeling tea leaves was not so strong as normal wood chips (and I love tea flavors), so I liked this way.  

After cooling down the smoked sprouted rye berries, I mixed them into the dough at the last stage of final mix (10 minutes after mixing salt and leaven into the dough), just like mixing walnuts or sesame seeds, before bulk rise started. 

Bulk rise was (     ) hours at (    )F at room temperature, until the dough rose to 20-30%. Initial dough temperature was (   )F, ended at (   )F. 

I also tried a longer time for the final rise, for 4 hours in the refrigerator at 41F. This time, I took longer time for final rise (5 hours 50 minutes in the refrigerator), so the crumbs structures were better and softer with well developed gluten. 

I used a kitchen scissors to score the loaf, as suggested in Tartine book.

The increased leaven seemed to help to develop the dough, which resulted in better oven spring.

The crumbs were very soft and moist even after 15 hours. There was almost no smoky flavor left, but when I toasted a slice, it smelled really good with a hint of lingering smokiness. 

The taste of the bread was *amazing* … there were this complicated mixture of flavors in every bite, all perfectly balanced. Putting a little butter on a toasted slice tasted like a heaven (the crust was ideally light and crunchy, too). This could be one of the best breads I ever baked (and ate), both in taste and texture.  

Comparison: Amount of Leaven (15% vs. 30%)

The loaf with increased leaven had a better oven spring, while the loaf with 15% leaven had a moderate spring.

There was not so significant difference in taste from my previous loaf (with less leaven), but the crumb was somewhat softer, and the overall taste was slightly milder than my previous loaf (which had more intense flavor/taste). This loaf will be good for sandwich. I will also try to reduce the total amount of flours from 500g to 400g next time, with the same baker's percentage, considering the additional amount of leaven. I liked the nutty flavor of the rye flakes, which I used for coating the loaf for the first time. 



20g   starter
100g    50/50 flour (whole wheat/AP flour)
80g   water


80g Bread flour
170g Organic AP flour
100g High-Extraction wheat flour (85%)
100g KF whole wheat flour
50g Organic whole rye flour
20g Wheat germ
400g Water
150g Leaven
12.5g Salt
125g Sprouted rye berries, smoked


50% Bread/AP flour  
20% High-Extraction wheat flour
20% Whole wheat flour
10% Whole rye flour
4% Wheat germ
80% Water
30% Leaven
2.5% Salt

25% Sprouted rye berries

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