Further to the earlier post about simple rye bread made with yeast, remember I would write all about my fascinating learning. Well, here it is: use fresh or dry yeast if you can. Don’t use instant yeast. Because I almost never use instant yeast, I was not entirely empathetic nor data driven in my mental frustration with the WONDERFUL people who wrote in. Mea Culpa – how I have learned.
Now, a better scientist than me can probably tell you why this is so. In theory there is no difference in performance between fresh, dry, and instant yeast. However, when I did the time trial on the 100% rye bread I did find a difference. So, I tried the time trial with wheat bread, with spelt bread and with enriched bread and found no difference. However, let me repeat – there was a difference when I made 100% rye.
The bread made with the instant yeast simply did not really rise very well at all. Whether or not I “proofed” the instant yeast (and in theory you don’t have to) the bread simply did not move very much. When I put it in the fridge it refused to budge and I had to leave it out of the fridge to get it to move at all. Then, when it finally came to baking it was quite dry and so the resulting bread was not what it should be. Now, it is winter and it is COLD and the kitchen is probably about 18 degrees maximum but that should only mean that the bread takes longer to rise – not that it barely rises at all. I got a slightly better result when I used warm water and added some honey to the dough (neither of which should be necessary).
So, lesson learned although not understood: when you make the 100% rye, use fresh or dry yeast if you can get it. If you are using instant, use warm water and add a bit of honey (or sugar or molasses, bread syrup…something sweet that the yeast will like) and that should help it along.
Finally, remember to just stir the ingredients together – no kneading – and when you get the loaf from the bowl to the tin, gather it together GENTLY with very wet hands. Smooth it into an oblong, don’t squash it into and oblong. And when you pop it gently into the tin, don’t push it down, flatten it, smooth it, or try to squish it into the corners. The more air in the dough the better rise you will get. Still concerned? Come and take a class with us – we do 100% rye bread in all the basic bread classes.
Next up: simple sourdough rye bread. Not impacted by the cold at all. Weird….