Oh my, Marbled Rye Bread for the BBA Challenge is so ridiculously fun to make. You see, I’m the kind of person who loves two-tone anything. Zebra-wood is a favorite. Use the colors of chocolate and vanilla in a room and I swoon. This bread was made for me. And I’m the one who made it! Yes, I’m tickled. And thrilled that it has just enough body to avoid being pillow bread, while still managing to be soft. Delighted that it has light rye flour in it, but doesn’t taste like any rye bread I’ve ever known. Which means my family has been eating it up. (I like hearty pumpernickel rye bread, but I’m the only one in the family who does.)
The light rye flour used in this recipe looks almost like unbleached wheat flour. And the only thing that makes the brown dough different from the beige dough is a big spoonful of dry caramel coloring. (Yes, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what dry caramel coloring is made of – the label and website just says 100% caramel color. Hmmm.) I was concerned when mixing the brown dough, because it behaved completely differently than the beige dough. Reading The Bread Baker’s Apprentice carefully, I learned that rye flour’s specific protein profile makes it prone to “gumming up,” and that’s what I was dealing with. Peter says to proceed, anyway. So I did, and I’m awfully glad, though I was very worried about the way the dough felt. Kind of slimy. Not appetizing, to be honest. (Actually, I did the opposite of what the side notes say to do: I kneaded the dough forever and it finally came together beautifully. You are not supposed to knead rye flour for long periods of time. Guess nobody told my rye flour that because the bread was dreamy!)
The shaping was my favorite part. I separated the dough into equal (by weight) pieces. I rolled the dough out with a rolling pin and layered pieces to create one spiral sandwich loaf and two bulls-eye batards. As pretty to me as a layer cake!
We ate a bulls-eye loaf with the first soup of fall, and we made turkey reubens from the sandwich loaf (as well as toast and other sandwiches, of course). There was no flavor difference between the two colors of dough, although there would have been a slight bitterness if I had chosen to use coffee or chocolate to color the dough – they just don’t make the color contrast as striking. I also chose not to use caraway seeds, which is an option, as my family won’t go near that flavor, but I think I would have loved it that way – you can trust your own instincts on that.
If you want to learn to make amazing bread, get The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and start baking with us! Peter Reinhart’s book shares so much knowledge that you can’t help but become a better baker. Also, you can follow along on Twitter, by using the hashtag #BBA to find us.