Carrot bread made with a rye poolish… sounds good, doesn’t it? Unless your thinking “Do I like poolish? or What the heck is a rye poolish?” Well, don’t worry, a poolish is only a starter for better flavor. There are three main “starters” for baking bread, a poolish, a biga, and the sourdough starter. Both a poolish and a biga are just flour, water, and a bit of yeast mixed together and left to sit up to 24 hours before finally getting mixed with more flour , water and salt (and whatever other ingredients your recipe calls for). A poolish is is a higher water to flour ratio so it is “wetter” , like thick pancake batter, compared to a “drier” biga. A sourdough starter (often referred to as a mother) is a just flour and water with natural airborne yeast doing all the work. This process takes several days and “feedings” to occur. Whew, have you got all that? If you don’t, it doesn’t matter, you can still make great bread!
The Bread Baking Babes are making a very interesting bread this month. Heather, from Girlichef chose a carrot rye bread with crackly topping (think tiger rolls). It also has carrot juice in it. Of course I didn’t see that part until I was ready to start baking, so I made my own. It was actually really easy. After peeling some carrots (from our own garden!) I added the juice and zest of an orange. It still needed some liquid so I added some water and whirled away until it was smooth. After letting it “steep” for about thirty minutes I passed it through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids to get all the liquid out. My husband gladly drank the leftover juice after I measured what was need for the recipe. My big error was that I let myself get preoccupied and when my kitchen timer went off, I just shut it off without taking checking on the bread right away, so I baked it about 10 minutes too long. The flavor was still really tasty and interesting , but my crust was a little too firm. It was more on the line with Danish brown bread. We really it enjoyed though with a smear of butter and some wine jelly that we picked up at the Millarville Farmers Market last weekend. It also made excellent toast. So start peeling your carrots and Bake On!
Prep Time: 28 hours (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
for the Poolish:
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water + more as needed
- 2-1/2 cups (13 ounces / 364 grams) stone ground rye flour
for the Dough:
- 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds ( I used golden flax seeds)
- 3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup carrot juice, lukewarm
- 1-1/4 cups grated carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley ( I left this out)
- 6-6-1/2 cups (29.4-31.8 ounces / 823.2-890.4 grams) bread flour
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon golden syrup (or honey or maple syrup- I left this out)
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 4 teaspoons sea salt ( I used Kosher salt )
for the Crackle Glaze:
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 3/4 cup + 1-1/4 tablespoons (4.7 ounce / 131.6 gram) rice flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1-3/4 teaspoons sunflower oil
- 3/4 teaspoons sea salt ( I used Kosher salt )
Day 1: Make the Poolish
Dissolve the yeast in the water, and let sit a few minutes to bloom. Whisk in the flour until smooth – if it is very thick, continue whisking in more water until it is the consistency of a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours; at this point it should be a bit bubbly.
Day 2: Baking Day
In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment), dissolve the yeast in the carrot juice, let sit a few minutes until it looks creamy (bloomed). Add the grated carrot, parsley (if using), the lesser amount of bread flour, golden syrup, and the poolish to the bowl. Knead on low-speed for 3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t seem too sticky, then don’t add any more of the flour; it will firm up as it is kneaded (plus you have more to add to it).
Add the oil to the bowl and knead for another 8 minutes. Add the salt, increase the speed, and knead until elastic, about 7 more minutes. At this point, the dough will not be sticky any longer. Use the extra flour, a tiny bit at a time, to remedy the dough if it is. Add the toasted seeds, and gently mix in.
Place the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl or container and cover. Let sit for 60-90 minutes, *knocking the dough back halfway through. To knock the dough back, remove it from the bowl and set it on a work surface. Use your hands to knock the air out of it. Fold the edges towards the center to form a cushion. Replace in the container, seam side down.
make the Crackling Glaze:
While the dough is rising, dissolve the yeast in the water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. It should be spreadable, but not runny. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before using.
shaping and baking:
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 3 equal parts (approximately 78 ounces of dough to equal three 26 ounce portions).
Form the portions into three round balls, and cover them with a clean tea towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Shape each circle of dough into an oblong loaf, by gently pressing ball down into a circle and then tucking/rolling into shape. Set loaves, seam side down, onto a lightly floured bread peel or thin cutting board. Glaze the loaves generously with the crackling glaze (you’ll have a lot of leftover glaze), and leave to rise at room temperature for 60-75 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size and surface is crackled.
Place a baking stone into the oven, and preheat to 475° F during last 20 minutes or so of rise time.
Slide the loaves onto the stone (let them rise directly on a baking sheet or two if you don’t have a stone – slide that into preheated oven) and spray generously with water. Close oven door. Lower the temperature to 400° F after 5 minutes. After another 10 minutes, open the oven door to let in a little air. Repeat two more times (every 10 minutes). Total baking time will be 45 minutes.
Remove bread from oven and cool on a wire rack.
*On “Knocking Back”:
Knocking back is normally done only with wheat doughs. Acetic acid is formed between 36° F and 75° F, which slows down the fermenting process. Knocking the air out evaporates most of the acetic acid, but what remains together with the softer lactic acid forms that great aromatic smell. The traditional cushion shape makes the dough more pliable, and the temperature ensures stability and provides the yeast cells with new nourishment. The removal of carbon dioxide from the dough flavors fermenting, the yeast propagates, the gas bubbles increase in number and the dough rises more quickly. By knocking back the bread you get a larger bread, which is easier to handle and which has a better and more elastic interior. (source: Artisan Breads by Jan Hedh)
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