Riga Rye from Stanley Ginsberg's Rye Baker


(mjohnson) #1

I’ve been having a lot of fun baking from Stanley Ginsberg’s wonderful book, The Rye Baker. I don’t have easy access to some of the ingredients (white rye or Malted Rye), and I don’t have a stand mixer, so I have to make some alterations sometimes. But my locally adapted Pumpkinseed Rye, Galician Rye, and ESPECIALLY the Gotland Rye have produced fabulous loaves. I do have and enjoy my Mockmill 200 with which I grind my own rye flour. But I think I’m in the middle of my first complete failure–too many alterations and mistakes–with Ginsberg’s recipe for Riga Rye. My biggest problem is (I think) that I was unable to figure out how to get a proper temperature for the scald (day 1, morning: 3 hours at 145-150F ) or the scald-sponge (3-5 hours at 100F). I have an electric oven that has a minimum temperature of 170F, and I had little success at keeping the temperature for the scald above 120F. I finally gave up and popped the scald into my Instant Pot on “keep warm,” for almost 3 hours. And, in a distracted moment, I skipped the scald-sponge directions and went directly to the final dough directions, adding water and molasses before I noticed. Sigh… I think that error may have been irretrievable. The ingredients for the scald-sponge and the final dough are all incorporated, and again I put the Instant Pot to use on the Yogurt setting. According to my instant thermometer, it’s holding the dough at about 96F. But what I have looks and feels more like day-old porridge than like most of the rye doughs I’ve worked with before. (It smells great, though…)
Does anyone have ideas about keeping bread dough or scalds at the proper temperatures?
Or about whether I’ll be able to rescue my dough if it ferments for a couple more hours?
Thanking this wise group of minds and bakers’ hands in advance!


(Melissa) #2

Bags of warm water in a cooler type box
Immersion in warm water that you refresh
Oven with light on, turn oven on for 15 seconds periodically and check with thermometer. Don’t leave the thermometer in and bake it later. Yes, I’ve done that.

I’d be somewhat dedicated about the scald temp, but for general fermentation, I’d make do with the cold. Fermentation is a time-temp equation. Yes some flavors and bacteria and yeast populations wax or wane at 90F vs 38F, but I’ve done fast and slow rye breads (warm and cold ferments) and they all taste delicious. I’ve never gone much above 80-85 though in my lit oven.

How’d the bread come out?


(mjohnson) #3

Thanks, Melissa, for the ideas.
This loaf? Epic fail! I think my first try could be used for a weapon, or a door stop! However the fragrance in the house when it came out of the oven makes me want to try the recipe again. And it actually tastes delicious when sliced open. (I think a chain saw might have worked better than my bread knife.) Ginsberg writes: “The crust is beautifully shiny and smooth–in that part of the world torn crusts signify an inexperienced baker…”

I like the idea of keeping the dough at the right temperature in a cooler with hot water.l I used to make yogurt that way. I also think there is merit in trying to use the temperature-holding capabilities of the Instant Pot for fermentation and proofing for those of us who have one.