Pain de Seigle - French Rye Bread

Smoked salmon: check, salted butter: check, lemon: check, rye bread: argh... It's times like this when I wish I could just go to the boulangerie and order my pain de seigle, ready to pick up for Christmas dinner. Not an option where I live so I had to go without or find a recipe! It's not the Scandinavian style dark rye, it relies on a rye chef and several refreshments with white flour so it's full of flavour but not dense. It was delicious and I will definitely make it again. Recipe from The Complete Book of Bread & Bread Machines.

Quand on ne peut pas aller commander son pain de seigle chez le boulanger, il faut faire sans ou partir à la recherche d'une recette vite vite!

DAY 1 - The Chef

200ml water
175g rye flour
1/4tsp fast action yeast

10min on the dough setting then turn the machine off. Leave 24h in the machine with the lid closed.
Here is what it looks like after 24h.

DAY 2 - 1st Refeshment

70ml water
50g plain flour (not bread flour)

Add to the chef. Mix 10min on the dough setting then leave 24h as before. Here is what it looks like after 24h. If you need the bread machine, tranfer to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth (make sure it doesn't dry out or a crust will form).

 DAY 3 - 2nd Refreshment

1Tbsp water
50g plain flour (not bread flour)

Add to the previous mixture and mix 10min on the dough setting. Leave for 8h only. This is what it looks like after 8h. 


Add to the 2nd refreshment:
1Tbsp of water (I had to add more than that as the dough seemed too dry)
225g white bread flour
2tsp salt
1tsp honey (I put black treacle)
1/2tsp fast action yeast

Mix on the dough setting (my machine takes 1h30 for mixing and first rise). 
I needed the bread machine so I transfered the dough after mixing to a bowl covered with a damp cloth until doubled in size.


In the book they shape the bread in a big twist: divide the dough in two, make two ropes and twist. But I realised too late that it wouldn't fit on the tray... So I turned it into a couronne (which was obviously a stupid idea, as I realised when we had to slice it later...) Anyway, next time, I will make two twists. 

Cover the bread and let it rise until almost doubled in size. Bake at 220°C. The couronne took about 30min. It should have a good colour and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Switch off the oven but let the loaf inside, with the door ajar, for 5min. Cool on a wire rack.

So... the bread is fab, there is nothing difficult BUT, as you've noticed, it's several days of timings to get right, so not ideal and way too stressful on Christmas morning! I want to make it again: bake it in the evening and see how it is the next day and also freeze to see if it could be done ahead. I'll update this post when I do.

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