This is our final Bread Bible project for 2016, and I must say that being a part of Rose’s Bread Bible Bakers has been a real treat. In addition to baking and eating some great breads, being part of a fantastic bread baking community, and continuing my growth as a baker, I’ve also had the opportunity to broaden my bread comfort zone if you will. I do want to give a special shout-out and thank you to the members of our bread baking community. We are a fantastic international group of bakers, and if you want to join the remainder of our journey just click on the link here. I’ve posted below a photographic summary of our activity since May. Although I’ve been baking from this book for several years, through this bake-along I’ve tried several recipes for breads that initially did not appeal to me, but will now become part of my repertoire. Our December bread is a great example.
I have never been a fan of rye bread — I suspect my dislike perhaps came from a bad childhood experience. I have a vague recollection of something my mother said was rye bread that I didn’t like, and I never tried it again. I actually thought about taking a pass on this one, but I am so glad that I didn’t. I type this as I finish eating a slice adorned with butter only, having had a tasty smoked turkey sandwich with my homemade cranberry chutney earlier in the day.
“Levy’s” Real Jewish Rye was a real treat with a nice crispy crust and moist golden brown interior. By the way, I think the secret to the beautiful color of this bread is from using barley malt syrup which I buy from King Arthur Flour. The taste of rye flour is very subtle in this bread as there is roughly 20% rye flour with the remainder being white bread flour. I used my beloved Artisan Bread Flour from KAF and Organic Rye Flour from Arrowhead Mills. I will confess that I forgot to pick up the caraway seeds so that was the one change to the recipe as I didn’t want to go back out in the rain for them — and yes, thankfully it does rain in Southern California.
The recipe directs you to leave the sponge and flour mixture for four hours before mixing. I was delayed returning home, so mine sat at room temperature for approximately six hours. When I mixed the dough, I did find it a bit wetter than usual so I had to add a good bit more bread flour. I suspect it was a result of our cool, damp weather and the excess time at room temperature. My dough rose quite rapidly which is one of the benefits I find of using the SAF Red Instant Yeast. If you haven’t tried it, I love that you don’t need to proof it, it’s very economical, and it usually gets results at the faster end of the time range given in your recipes. I often find myself baking at night so I can bake and get to sleep sooner which is a plus.
This bread was a real winner, and I’ll look forward to baking it again in the future. It is definitely proof that our childhood perceptions can be wrong. I am looking forward to baking our remaining bake-along recipes in the New Year ahead as well as working on my #piegoals. You’ll be hearing about them soon on the blog. In the meantime, let me know your baking goals for the New Year. I wish you the only best in all of your endeavors.
P.S. — I’m so excited and ready to break into my happy dance! Our January recipe is one of my long-time favorites. Yipee!