August has arrived and with it comes the promise of cooler days and nights. If you’ve ever lived in Georgia, you know that August can be downright miserable. With temps in the 90’s and the humidity at record breaking percentages, it’s not really my favorite place to be. But, the kids have started back to school here and that means that cooler temperatures are right around the corner. This is the time of year when I start dreaming of new soup and stew recipes I want to try. Rustic breads which will transform into gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and all the many things I plan to do with apples this Fall. We are certainly entering into my favorite time of year in North Georgia. Because our featured Ankarsrum attachment this month is the Flake Mill, I wanted to go ahead and share a special bread recipe with you. This is a bread that we served at my wedding a little over 18 years ago and it was a huge hit. This Dark Rye and Oat Bread is the perfect yeast bread to usher in the cooler temps.
Growing up, I never liked rye bread but then I realized that what I didn’t like was the harshness of the caraway seeds with the bland flavor of regular wheat flour. Rye flour in itself doesn’t actually have a flavor. The flavor you associate with “rye” bread is actually the caraway seeds. You can of course leave the caraway seeds out of this recipe but I encourage you to give it a try because there’s a twist. This recipe calls for hot coffee and cocoa powder which mellows out the flavor of the caraway seeds and really brings out a richness that is unforgettable.
In this recipe, I’ve called for both rolled oats and rolled rye. These can easily be made with the Ankarsrum Flake Mill Attachment. If you do not own this attachment, just omit the rolled rye and increase the rolled oats to 1 cup. The Flake Mill Attachment is one of the easiest attachments to use. Here is a refresher video for use and cleaning directions.
NOTE: 1/4 cup of the whole grain will yield about 1/2 cup of the rolled grain.
Because this is a rustic bread and I wanted to use all whole grain flour, I’m going to autolyse my dough which is just a fancy way of saying I’m going to use a sponge technique. Not only is this perfect for when you bake with whole grain flour, but also when you use higher moisture grains like rye. Though you can make 100% rye flour bread, most rye bread calls for wheat flour as well. Rye flour alone is much higher in natural moisture and lower in natural protein (or gluten) than regular wheat flour which causes it to not make very stretchy dough which in turn means it won’t rise very well. By using this “autolyse/sponge” method, you actually help to develop the protein (or gluten) in the flour before the actual kneading process.
Let’s take a small time out and get a bit scientific. I’ll try not to be too technical, but hopefully by understanding this, you will have a better grasp on yeast breads as a whole.
Okay, flour is made up of all kinds of things. Starches, strands of protein (this is where the gluten is), fiber and bran (if you’re using whole wheat) and depending on the type of grain, you have different levels of moisture and protein. Developing these strands of protein (gluten), causes the dough to be stretchy and elastic. Then when the yeast starts to produce its gases, the dough stretches and rises with those gases. If you’ve ever had trouble getting your bread to rise, there is a good chance you did not properly develop the protein and therefore your dough was not elastic enough to rise with the gases from the yeast. Of course, always check to make sure your yeast is still fresh and active before you bake. Now, there are two ways to develop the protein in your flour. The first and most common way is by kneading the dough. This is the act of folding, pushing, pulling and stretching the dough either by hand or with a mixer such as the Ankarsrum. The second method of developing the protein is on a very basic, chemical level. When flour is combined with water, there is a chemical reaction that takes place, causing the protein (gluten) to begin developing. If you combine water and flour, gently mix it together and let rest for long enough, you will have a nice stretchy dough without all the kneading. This is why “No Knead” breads have become so popular. Now, by using BOTH of these methods, you are going to ensure a beautifully stretchy dough which will result is very soft bread. It is also a great way to develop the protein when using grains such as rye that are naturally lower in protein than regular wheat flour.
Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing and I certainly encourage you to try the autolyse/sponge method on all of your yeast bread dough. The basic formula is this:
Combine: All the water (or milk) called for in the recipe. Add half the flour and all the yeast called for in the recipe. Mix just until combined (you should have a thick pancake batter consistency). Cover and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Once rested, add the remaining ingredients and knead according to your recipe’s directions. NOTE: You may find that you end up using a little less flour than what is called for and because the dough will come together in a soft ball very quickly, you may want to knead at a slower speed than normal.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. If you give it a try, we would love for you to share it with us on social media. Oh, I almost forgot. A great spread to pair with this is the Garlic Cream Cheese Spread I shared a few years back. Follow the link to find the recipe. Enjoy!
Dark Rye and Oat Bread
Prep & Bake Time: 1 hr 15 minutes – 2 hrs depending on baking method
Yield: 2 lb loaf OR 4, 1/2 lb loaves
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. wheat gluten
2 Tbsp. instant yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled rye
3 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
Optional Garnish Ingredients:
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup rolled oats – set aside for garnish
Position stainless steel bowl with roller and scraper onto the Ankarsrum mixer base. Place autolyse ingredients into the bowl and turn machine on the lowest speed. Mix just until combined. Remove roller and scraper and place bowl cover over the bowl and allow to rest (sponge) for 10-15 minutes. Once ready, remove lid, replace roller and scraper and proceed with the remaining ingredients.
Once remaining ingredients are in the bowl, turn machine on the lowest speed. Dough will thicken almost instantly. Adjust the arm/roller about 3 inches away from the side of the bowl and increase speed to medium. (Speed knob set to about 3 o’clock). Set timer for 6 minutes and allow dough to knead until a smooth ball forms.
When machine turns off, remove roller and scraper and place bowl cover on the bowl and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Gently shape dough by pulling and folding dough from the outside, into the center of the ball, pressing gently with the palm of your hand. Rotate dough and continue pulling, folding and rotating. Turn ball of dough over to reveal a smooth ball. Slash dough with a sharp knife if desired.
Optional Garnish Directions:
Place 1/4 cup water into a small plate and set aside. Place 1/2 cup rolled oats onto a separate small plate. Shape dough as directed above. Dip the top of each ball of dough into the water and then onto the plate of rolled oats. Turn back over and proceed with rising and baking directions.
Bread Cloche Baking Method:
While dough rests, preheat oven to 400°F and place bread cloche base in the oven. Once oven is ready, remove cloche base and turn dough out onto a lightly greased board and shape using the above directions. Place shaped dough onto the hot cloche base and cover with the cloche lid. Place in oven and bake 35 minutes with the lid on. After 35 minutes, remove the lid and finish baking about 5-7 minutes to create a crisp crust on the bread.
Once done, remove from oven and place bread on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Traditional Baking Method:
Once dough has rested, turn dough out onto a lightly greased board and follow the shaping directions above. Once shaped, place dough onto a sheet pan. Place in a warm oven (preheated to 170°F) and then turn the oven off. Allow to rise 15-20 minutes. Once risen, gently remove from oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Once preheated, carefully place sheet pan into the oven and bake 35 minutes until bread is done. Internal temperature should be 190°F. Once done, remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool slightly before serving.
Ankarsrum Mixer Color featured in this post: Creme
Ankarsrum Attachment featured in this post: Flake Mill
Bread Cloche featured in this post by: Emile Henry