I’m embarrassed to admit this in my household, but I loathe rye bread. Everyone else I know loves it, but I just can’t see the attraction. Everything I love about bread seems absent in any loaf of rye I’ve eaten. It’s heavy. It’s bitter. Its crumb is dense. It doesn’t satisfy any part of what I crave when I think about bread.
So you can imagine how I felt as I approached the rye bread section of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I almost longed for the celebration breads again. I think this is one reason why it’s called a “challenge”.
So, to make a long story short, I made this bread, which is actually two colors of a basic rye bread, one light and one dark, rolled together to give the bulls eye pattern.
The one thing I found interesting about the recipe is how the dark rye gets its color. I’d always assumed that it was due to the bran content or color of the rye flour itself, but, since this recipe uses a light rye flour, which has most of its dark color milled out of it, the color must be added back in separately, either via caramel coloring, cocoa, carob, or powdered coffee.
The recipe itself is a very simple one-day affair, though you are making two doughs in succession. The shaping is the fun part, rolling the two different colors of dough into a spiral or bulls eye.
See step-by-step pictures of this bread here.
It yielded a pleasant loaf, but since I’m no fan of rye, I didn’t especially love it, and the rye lovers in the family found it not rye-y enough. I think the recipe is fine; it’s just not our style of bread. On to the next.
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge is a group of home bakers, scattered across the planet, focused on one goal: completing every recipe in Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, in order, and writing about our experience. Want to join us? Buy or borrow a copy of the book, open a big bag of flour, and plunge in!