October 3, 2016
The Swedish Women's Society sells my Swedish rye at their Yule market. They can sell as many as 50 loaves during that day. I have made it for them for the last 10 years or more. I'm ready to start.
I must admit to a love/hate relationship with Swedish rye. It often gives me trouble and will rise or won't with no logical reason. Now I must admit as I have moved from kitchen to kitchen the equipment keeps changing. Ino longer have convection or reel ovens, a proof box, and my mixer is just a twelve quart Hobart which can make about 5 loaves at a time. I decide to do just that this year using my grandmothers recipe from my earlier blog. So I start. The problem rears its head today. The bread doesn't want to rise. The day and kitchen is warm, but one hour drags into two, three, and four before I think the initial rise is enough. I form it into loaves, cover them and let them rise again. An hour goes by and nothing. I decide to wait. That evening they still haven't risen enough, so I go to bed letting them rise overnight. The next morning they are almost what I want. After another hour I turn on the oven and bake them. They come out fine, but not as big as I would like and somewhat cracked on the top.
For the rest of the week I go through the same process daily with some days being speedier and more successful than others. Then my wife Charlotte suggests that maybe I need to add gluten. Rye flour is dense and does not have much gluten if any on its own. I find a bag-it looks like wheat flour to me, and substitute a cup for a cup of white flour. Better results that day. There is no cracking on the top. Eight hours still seems to be my production and baking time. That is too long. Thinking about it I decide to try to recreate a proof box. I remove the shelves in my oven and proof both the initial rise of the dough and the loaves of bread in there with a pot of boiling water. Success! The time is cut in half. The bread still doesn't jump as much as I would like so I start thinking about the recipe again. I notice that the ratio of liquid to flour is about 1 to 3. I always used a ratio of 1 to 2 on my other breads, so today I change the ratio by adding more water and the results are fantastic. The bread rises even quicker, it has a great dome, seems very soft after baking and has a great texture. I make notes on my recipe and put it away until tomorrow. But it's Swedish Rye, so who knows what I'll get🍞.