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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tassajara Style Rye Bread

For the first loaf of 2012, I wanted to do something different: try a new technique. I had found this little book called The Tassajara Bread Book in the used book store for $3. This book was published in 1970 and almost all the recipes are whole grain! But I had two ingredients I wanted to use: whole milk and rye flour. The book has one recipe that uses whole milk but only whole wheat flour. I modified it to use a mix of rye, whole wheat and some bread flour.

I made two loaves, one of which would be the January bread for my father-in-law (He was quite happy to receive another 'A Loaf Every Month' IOU from us for Christmas.)

Ingredients for two loaves:
250 g rye flour
200 g whole wheat flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp molasses
1 cup whole milk
1½ cup 1% milk   (2½ cup milk total. Combine milks and scald. Cool to 100° F)

Final dough:
250 g whole wheat flour
100 g bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp caraway

Tassajara technique explained with pictures:

The sponge contains most ingredients except the salt and half the flour.

12:42 pm: Sponge ingredients

When mixed, the consistency is like pasty batter. The 'batter' is stirred well with a wooden spoon (stir 100 times).

12:50 pm: 'Batter' after stirring well.. 100 times

It is covered and left to rise in a warm place for 50 - 60 minutes.

2:02 pm: Unexpected rise that stuck to the lid

Final dough ingredients are added in. I mixed the salt with the flour first. Flour is 'folded in' little by little until dough comes away from sides of the bowl.

2:02 pm: Final dough ingredients

2:16 pm: Adding in the flour

2:23 pm: Before kneading

I let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
The dough is kneaded on a floured surface, using more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface, about 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth.

2:38 pm: Post kneading

The dough is left to rise for an hour or so.

3:57 pm: After the first rise

The dough is deflated, rounded and let rise again.

3:59 pm: Ready for the second rise

4:51 pm: Risen for a second time

The dough is shaped into loaves.

4:57 pm: Shaped into loaves, sprinkled with sesame seeds

5:42 pm: Risen loaves

The loaves are baked in a 350°F oven for an hour

6:49 pm: Not a lot of oven spring

Sliced well

Decent crumb

Date: January 7, 2012
Recipe: Adapted from #17 Tassajara Yeasted Bread Using Whole Milk from The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown
Flours: Whole wheat flour, rye flour, bread flour
Bread specific ingredients: caraway seeds
Sweetener used: Molasses
Liquid: Whole milk, 1% milk

Comments: The dough didn't rise as much as I had hoped for, based on the rise of the sponge. Salt inhibits rising, that is why it is added later, letting the yeast develop well in the sponge stage. I should try a Tassajara recipe without modifications to know if the technique yields better tasting loaves than Laurel Robertson's technique (similar, but without the sponge). The sponge method does add an extra hour or so to the bread making process.
This bread was good, but nothing special. It sliced very well, that's always a big plus.

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