Mar 30, 2011


judy motzkin's cloche slays it again. after various experiments with long-retardation, i began to fool around with rough-milled rye and increasing the amount of starter in the dough (this is a formula from peter reinhardt, by way of wildyeast). this accelerates the first fermentation ("bulk fermentation") of the dough so that you could, if you wanted, have fresh bread in about 6 hours.

rye makes dough sticky beyond belief and appears to become workable by hand only after lots and lots of retardation in a nice cold refrigerator. i followed instructions for time and temperature (which did not include a long cold period), so did not benefit. if you choose to knead a rye-heavy dough by hand, here are some discoveries i have made.

  1. dough on fingers dissolves most readily in warm water. hot water, apart from being uncomfortable, also cooks the dough onto you. 
  2. answering the phone while kneading is not recommended.
  3. wood toothpicks are best for getting dough out of the spaces between cellphone keys.
  4. folding the dough is easier and more effective than kneading it. 
as a test, i split the dough into two batches of equal mass, one baked with the cloche and the other on a pizza stone with a steel mixing bowl over the top. the loaf you see below is from the cloche: mildly sour, lots of rye flavour, incredible oven spring, great crisp, caramelised crust, tender crumb with great aeration. 

this competent but much less delightful loaf is from the stone. still decent oven spring, nice-ish crust caramelisation, but the final rise in the oven was not as uniform, and the crumb is not as well aerated (alas, no crumb shot):

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