While I had all of this barm made up, I figured I might as well use it. So I decided to try making the 100% sourdough rye bread as well as the sourdough bread in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, the results weren’t quite what I had hoped for. I ended up putting off baking the sourdough and ended up throwing it away — after a day or two the consistency was more like sad, chewed bubble gum than living, breathing bread dough. Maybe I should leave that to the folks in San Francisco but I plan to try again with fresh barm soon.
The 100% sourdough rye bread, on the other hand, turned out a bit better though.
One of the main issues I had with the 100% sourdough rye bread was finding the ingredients. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice recipe calls for a combination of white rye flour and coarse whole-rye, neither of which I could find at any of the grocery stores I checked. I could only find “rye flour,” a sort of mix between coarse and finely ground rye flour.
The other issue I had with the 100% sourdough rye bread may have had to do with my barm. Although the loaves of 100% sourdough rye turned out acceptably, they did not proof quite to the size I had hoped for. The loaves, on a whole, stayed on the small side, both in height and in width. Perhaps my barm was not fully realized.
The bread itself is rather dense and, because it is solely made from rye flour, full of coarse grains. As Reinhart himself notes in the recipe, rye is relatively low in gluten so the bread doesn’t get quite the shape, body and lightness that, say, the New York style deli rye gets. Between the rye and the caraway seeds, it’s very flavorful.