Marbled Rye Bread

In my continuing quest to branch out from white and whole wheat flours this week’s bread baking journey took me to the exciting world of rye flour.

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A couple of things I learned: Rye flour can be characterized as light, medium, or dark depending on how refined the grain is.  Most often you’ll find medium rye flour in stores. Due to lower levels of gluten rye flour is typically combined with white or whole wheat in bread recipes.  Recipes with 100% (or close to) rye flour are certainly out there and in some countries that is the standard.

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I decided to start off with something straightforward: marbled rye bread.  You make a light and dark dough which are then stacked and rolled together like a typical sandwich loaf.  The only difference in the formula for each dough is the dark one has a coloring agent.  Peter Reinhart’s recipe calls for caramel coloring to darken the dough but if you don’t have that (like me) cocoa powder works just fine.  Any significant bitter chocolate flavor is overshadowed by the rye flour and caraway seeds.

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I did hope that there would be a more pronounced difference in the color between the layers.  Reinhart uses clear flour in his recipe, a type of flour that is the sifted byproduct of other flour milling.  I had never heard of clear flour until this and it is rare to find in commercial stores (you can read more about it here).  While it wasn’t the absolute perfect result I was hoping for it was probably the best I could do with what I have available.

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Looks aside, the bread tastes fantastic and makes some super tasty Reubens.  Note that the recipe below makes enough for two loaves, so adjust accordingly if you’d just like one.  I made two and tried different marbling patterns on each.  Enjoy!

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Marbled Rye Bread (Makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients

Light Rye

  • 6 oz medium rye flour
  • 13.5 oz bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Dark Rye

  • 6 oz medium rye flour
  • 13.5 oz bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine all ingredients for the light rye and mix.  Knead for 4-5 minutes; the dough should be elastic but not overly sticky.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Repeat the mixing and kneading process for the dark rye, remembering to add the cocoa.  Transfer to another lightly oiled bowl and cover.  Let each dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide each dough into four equal pieces.  Pat each piece (or gently use a rolling pin) into a rectangle about 6×8 inches.  Stack four pieces of the dough on top of eachother, alternating colors (so two light and two dark pieces per loaf).

Roll the dough as you would any sandwich loaf, starting from the short side and pressing each seam as you roll.  Transfer the dough to a loaf pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let rise until the dough crests the lip of the pan, about 90 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350º F for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating after 20 minutes.  Allow to cool fully (2 hours) before slicing.

Recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

3 thoughts on “Marbled Rye Bread

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