BBA: Marbled Rye Bread

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You may think I'm a glutton for punishment, given that I made 4 recipes yesterday (and um...my wedding is in a week from yesterday). But honestly, it all would've been totally relaxed and enjoyable, had it not been for that damn finicky Mochi. But I'm over it (not really, but I'll pretend I am anyway).

I really wanted to make some rye bread. I love rye bread. When I go out for breakfast and am given an option of toasts, it's always rye bread. In fact, once I'm done posting this, I'm going to go eat some rye bread toast. Jealous?

The pull of marbled rye was too much for me to resist. Two colors! One bread! My god, the possibilities!



Marbled Rye Bread
(from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart)
Light Rye:
-1 1/2 cups white rye flour
-3 cups unbleached bread flour or clear flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
-1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)
-1 tablespoon molasses
-2 tablespoons shortening
-About 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature

Dark Rye:

-1 1/2 cups white rye flour
-3 cups unbleached bread flour or clear flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
-1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)
-1 tablespoon molasses
-2 tablespoons shortening
-About 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
-1 tablespoon liquid caramel coloring OR 2 tablespoons of cocoa, carob, or coffee powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Egg Wash:

-1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy

1. To make the light rye, stir together the flours, salt, yeast, and caraway seeds in a 4-quart bowl. Add the molasses, shortening, and 1 1/4 cups water. Mix until the dough gathers all the loose flour and forms a ball (or mix about 1 minute on low speed with the paddle attachment), adding the additional 2 tablespoons of water only if needed. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter, transfer dough to the counter, and being to knead (or mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook). Knead for 4-6 minutes (or 4 minutes by machine), adding sprinkles of flour if necessary. The dough should feel supple and pliable, a little tacky, but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

2. To make the dark rye, stir together the flours, salt, yeast, and caraway seeds in a 4-quart bowl. Add the molasses, shortening, 1 1/4 cups water, and liquid caramel coloring. Mix until the dough gathers all the loose flour and forms a ball (or mix about 1 minute on low speed with the paddle attachment), adding the additional 2 tablespoons of water only if needed. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter, transfer dough to the counter, and being to knead (or mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook). Knead for 4-6 minutes (or 4 minutes by machine), adding sprinkles of flour if necessary. The dough should feel supple and pliable, a little tacky, but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment both doughs at room temperature for approximately 90 minutes, or until each dough doubles in size.

4. Turn each of the doughs onto a lightly floured counter. Divide each dough into 4 pieces of equal size and weight (a total of 8 pieces of dough).



4a. For a spiral loaf, roll each piece with a rolling pin into an oblong about 5 inches wide by 8 inches long. Take a light rye piece and lay a dark rye piece on top--repeat once. Roll this stack up into a batard and seal the bottom. Place the loaf into an oiled or parchment-lined 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pan.





4b. For a braided loaf, roll out each of the pieces into strands about 10-12" in length, thicker in the middle and slightly tapered toward the ends. Braid 2 light and 2 dark pieces together, by doing the following:

Pinch the ends together and number them 1-4 from left to right:


Follow this pattern for braiding: 4 over 2, 1 over 3, and 2 over 3. Repeat until you run out of dough, pinching the tips together when you get to the end.






**NOTE: Lest you think, "Wow, Heather's so awesome at braiding," let me assure you: I'm not. I had to braid and unbraid this thing, like...4 times. And it still got all wonky at the end. See?**

From left to right: Wow...pretty braiding!...er...what...the hell??


Moving on..

5. Mist the loaves with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until loaves nearly double in size. Most ovens do not hold 2 sheet pans at once, so if you're using sheet pans, put 1 of them in the fridge instead of immediately proofing the dough. The dough can then be proofed and baked as much as 2 days later.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 with rack in the middle. For the egg wash, whisk together the egg and water until frothy. Brush the loaves evenly and gently with the mixture.



7. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You may need to rotate pans 180 degrees after 20 minutes for even baking. The internal temperature of the bread should be 190 degrees, and the loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.



8. When the loaves have finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans (if using) and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing and serving.



-Make 2 loaves (or 4 smaller loaves)

Verdict: Epic noms. Very crusty, but not difficult to cut through. Tender inside. Great rye flavor. As an added bonus: Two colors!

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