40% caraway rye

40% caraway rye

This is the first recipe in the rye chapter of Hamelman’s book. I’d like to bake them all eventually, but I currently don’t maintain a wheat starter, so rye it is.

I tried to  follow the instructions as close as possible. He seems to use a relatively stiff (80-83% hydration) rye sourdough for all these breads. It’s hard to tell when it’s mature and I forgot to taste it. Another new thing to me was the relatively high percentage of rye in the dough (I usually bake whole rye breads or mostly white flour breads) and I was surprised when it actually came together. Mixing it by hand would have been very unpleasant though. 

The dough was surprisingly strong, but I was afraid it would suddenly fall apart and decided to bake it sooner than usual. There’s no picture of this bread in the book, but I’m pretty certain it’s not supposed to be this dense.

So far, I’ve only come across caraway in rye breads (which this is most decidedly not, despite the name) and I absolutely hated it (to put it very mildly). It was actually a bit more tolerable in a mostly wheat dough. Figured it could work with something sweet on top, didn’t like it one bit with cloudberry jam. And it’s absolutely jarring with Earl Grey tea.

There’s a fitting passage in Calvel’s book about panettone, which he classifies as a regional brioche:

The panettone is a very rich and highly scented type of hearch cake made in Italy. They are little known in France, and to be quite frank, are not greatly esteemed there, even though they are generally of excellent quality. This lack of acceptance is doubtless ecause they seem to many Frenchmen (and women) to be too strongly scented and flavored. It is unfortunate that excessive use of orange flower water, orange essence, and vanilla seem to overpower the delicate flavor notes from alcoholic fermentation and the use of eggs and butter in the formula, but these practices are suited to Italian taste.

I feel the same could be said about Germans (and by extension Americans) and caraway. I want to try this bread without it.