As Bob Ross would say, this loaf was the result of a series of 'happy little accidents'. I had initially set out to make one of Jeffrey Hamelman's rye recipes and had already prepared the rye levain, when I realised that the recipe in question was actually for a hybrid dough - i.e. a mix of sourdough and instant yeast. Not that there is anything wrong with a hybrid dough, but I had run out of instant yeast!!
As I needed to pick up a few groceries anyway, I decided that I would make the dough a little later in the day. But as it so often happens, the day ran away with itself and I never made it to the grocery store. By this time, the rye levain had already been ripening for 24 hours. Reluctant to waste the starter, I decided to mix a basic dough with it anyway. The result is this beautiful, robust yet easy eating everyday rye. You can leave the fennel seeds out if you prefer.
Starter: 136g rye flour
6g ripe sourdough starter
Dough: 500g AP or white bread flour
10g fine sea salt
5g fennel seeds
All the starter from above
Day 1: 8pm: prepare the starter and leave in a cool place for 24 hours
Day 2: 8pm: 1) Combine all the dry ingredients.
2) Add the water and starter and mix well.
3) Stretch and fold the dough every 20 minutes for 1 hour.
4) Place the dough in the fridge overnight.
Day 3: 5) 12 - 15 hours later, remove the dough from the fridge and shape into a batard.
6) Place in a proofing basket dusted with flour and allow to ferment at room temperature for 2hrs.
7) Bake in a Dutch oven at 260C or 500F for 30 minutes.
8) Reduce temperature to 230C or 450F and remove the lid. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
9) Allow to cool before slicing.
Babette's Bread Ltd.