The first recipe I chose to make in the baking challenge was the marbled rye found on pages 191 through 194 of Peter Reinharts Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I chose this loaf first because it could be prepared in 1 day and as a family we are a little dotty over rye bread.
We decided to rate the completed breads on a points system. A maximum of 10 points for taste. A maximum of 5 points for texture. A maximum of 5 points for Appearance. Therefore, a perfect bread would achieve a maximum of 20 points.
There wasn’t anything we didn’t like about this bread. Chris (my husband) and I both, independently scored the marbled rye at 19 points each. The only reason this did not receive full marks was due to a split across the the top of the loaf I kept for our family.
The mixing of the loaves was easy in my Kitchenaid stand mixer, but my mixer wanted to cakewalk across the counter when it came to the kneading process, therefore I kneaded by hand.
The marbling comes from mixing a light coloured batch of dough and a darker coloured batch of the same dough. A choice of colouring agents was listed and I opted for cocoa powder. I had to add an extra 30 ml of water to the darker dough to get the right consistency. In hindsight it could have used at least an additional 30 ml as the darker dough was very stiff and took an extra 30 minutes of rising to reach the same volume as the lighter dough.
I did make one ingredient change to the rye bread because I could not find light rye flour in Ottawa. I substituted organic Canadian dark rye which I found at Whole Foods. I did not worry about this change as the author advocates that bread making is about the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.
Degassing and rolling the dough was easy.
I used my oven with the pilot light as a makeshift proofing box. At one hour I took them out and pre-heated the oven to 350.
No mention was made in the instructions one whether scoring or slashing the loaves was necessary. I chose to slash only because every other rye bread I have made calls for the dough to be scored. In addition my gut told me that the gas trapped in the loaf would need help to escape. I didn’t want the loaf to split on the sides or top.
In the end one of the loaves had a small split of the top. This was due to the way I shaped the dough…pressed too hard with my rolling pin.
I loved everything about this dough and the bread. The crust was crisp, the crumb soft. The flavour was perfect and the addition of 5 g of caraway seeds per dough was perfect for our palates.
19 out of 20 possible points.