scalded rye loaf
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Being the queen of bad puns I can’t resist it: this loaf was repeatedly told what a bad, BAD dough it had been and threatened with punching and kneading should it prove to be naughty again.
Scalded – scolded – geddit? Okay, now I’ve got it out of my system we can continue seriously.
Scalding the flour works well towards softening the crumb and prolonging the life of a loaf. I imagine industrial breads must be all about boiling the flour, considering their shelf life. This is not industrial bread though but very much artisan, so we’ll talk only in terms of shelf life of a proper bread loaf – which should be a few days, not a month.
It reminds me of the Japanese tadzhong technique which involves cooking up a starter of flour and milk, not unlike roux for béchamel, and adding it to the bulk of other ingredients. Basically the case of Very Picky Yeast which won’t feed on raw flour but demands to be served a cooked starter.
Do not expect the scalded bread to be super fluffy like the Japanese Hokkaido though. The crumb is nice and squidgy, the crust firm but not crackling and the loaf makes wonderful toast. If you’re suspicious of the cinnamon addition, skip it: I’ll admit it’s not to everyone’s taste. I quite enjoyed the hint of spice but half a teaspoon of ground caraway will be less startling. That would be my idea; the scalding procedure comes from Virtuous Bread. I’ll be keen to try improvise on the scalding so watch this space. Bad bread!
- 150g dark or light rye flour
- 300g boiling water
- 300g strong white bread flour
- 300g wholemeal flour
- 300g water
- 15g fresh (1½ tsp instant) yeast
- 20g salt
- 1 tbsp. honey
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Prepare the scalded starter the night before baking. Place the rye flour in a large bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir to combine. Cover with cling film and leave overnight at room temperature.
The next morning add all the other ingredients to the scalded flour and knead by hand or in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, for about 15 minutes. Cover and leave in a warm place for 2 hours.
Lightly grease two 9in loaf tins. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in two. Shape each piece into a ball, then flatten it down and roll up into a cylinder. Drop them seam side down into the tins and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas 8. Slash the top of the loaves, transfer them to the oven and reduce the heat to 180C/350F/gas 4. Bake for 40 minutes, turn out of the tins onto a wire rack and let them cool for 30 minutes before slicing.