Overdoing kneading will have consequences – but not necessarily bad ones. I’ve just made a delicious rye bread which came out entirely different than intended. I was going for a heavy rye bread with fruits and nuts, and ended up with a large, soft, airy loaf. How did that happen? Well, I believe this happened:
- I kneaded excessively (probably 15 – 20 minutes in a kitchen aid machine) – I wasn’t happy with the consistency of the dough and didn’t want to add to add too much flour
- I treated the rye berries twice – once boiling for an hour and then mixing with other ingredients to soak for yet an hour. This made the rye berries very soft and bloated.
- The prunes were mixed with the boiling water for the pre dough, which made them dissolve completely during the rough kneading later on.
So I couldn’t see the prunes in my bread, but I could definitely taste them. The chopped walnuts added some resistance in this loaf, other than that I believe it is the most airy and soft bread I’ve made so far. Definitely not what I intended – but I’m thrilled with the unexpected result, which really is a result of several mess-ups.
I also found that cutting the bread the same day as I baked them, was a bit messy. However the next day, it was perfect. So this bread obviously needs a day to settle. It remains soft and fresh for quite long, even after 3-4 days on the counter (wrapped in a double paper bag) it is still fairly soft, moist and easy to handle. Rye generally keep better than wheat – but I’m pretty sure the soaked rye berries contributed significantly to the extended shelf life, probably also the dissolved prunes.
I’m eager to make a new bread with the same ingredients but through a different approach, just to observe how the treatment of the ingredients influence the taste, shape and texture. In the meantime I will enjoy this one while it lasts.
Whole Grain Rye with Walnuts and Prunes
1 cup whole grain rye berries boiled for 1 hour in 2 cups of water
2 cups rye flour
15 roughly chopped prunes
2 tsp salt
3 cups boiling water
2 1/4 tsp (1 pack) yeast
2 tbsp walnut oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp dark syrup
5-6 cups white bread flour
- Simmer the rye berries with 2 cups of water for about 1 hour
- Mix rye flour, chopped prunes and salt with boiling water and stir
- Mix the flour mash with the boiled rye berries and leave to cool down to about 104 F/ 37 C
- Add the prepared yeast, and start stirring in a machine (or by hand, but it will be hard work)
- Add gradually the white bread flour until the dough seems resistant – but not dry. It might remain sticky, that’s ok.
- Cover the dough with a plastic bag (I also move it to a bigger bowl to leave more room for rising) and leave to rise for a couple of hours.
- Bring the dough out on the counter and knead carefully by hand, add more flour if needed. Split into two halves and shape bread. Put the bread into greased bread tins or at a greased tray, and after rise for about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes, take them out from the tins and bake for another 15 minutes until there is a hollow sound when knocking underneath.
- Cool on a rack and wait for a day before cutting.
I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.