No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

I thought I’d cracked it with this loaf. Texturally, it was closer to pumpernickel than a raised bread, but at least the crust stayed attached to the crumb!

However, it was a false dawn. Subsequent efforts failed in the same way as before.

I could go round in Beckett-like circles if I persist…


~ by jobes on October 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

  1. It would be helpful if you would also post what youre putting into your dough. Lack of salt can cause some of the trouble you are having. Also 100% rye is difficult to make and should be expected to be dense. Use salt in your preferment, and cut down your proofing times quite a bit. For instance, do a preferment overnight make sure you have some of the salt in it, then next day mix up the rest of the dough, mix or knead gently, overkneading will also ruin the weak gluten, shape, proof again for only an hour or two and then bake. Rye should be underproofed if you are comparing it to wheat proofing.

    • Thanks northwest, I’ve now got a much more accurate weighing scales and realised I wasn’t using nearly enough salt!

      The recipe was for a production sourdough of 50g rye starter (from a mix one third rye, two thirds warm water, fed in the same proportions every day for 4 days), 150g wholemeal rye flour & 300g warm water, proved overnight, of which all but 60g is used in the final dough, and to which is added 330g rye flour, 5g salt and 200g warm water. The recipe calls for the final dough to be ‘soft and far too wet to handle on the worktop’, scooped into the baking tin for proofing for ‘anything from 2-8 hours depending on the vigour of the sourdough and the temperature of your kitchen’. No salt until the final mix – perhaps next time I’ll try adding it earlier.

      Having no idea about the former, and having a cold house, I went for longer, relying on the advice that “if the dough slightly more than half filled the tin before proof, it is ready for the oven when it has risen to the top of the tin.”

      I was barely kneading the rye at all – just mixing it together, really, so no risk of overkneading. Can one underknead it? I wasn’t comparing rye proofing to wheat proofing, as I’d started off with rye and so had nothing to compare with. Given the problems I was having I have moved on to wheat. I will try rye again in the new year, and take your suggestions on board. Thanks!

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