I'd never made rye anything, so I decided to try it. I used a formula relatively close to my whole wheat formula. The dough looked doomed all the way, and I had no idea how to correct it. Here's the breakdown:
the soaker (total 125 g before soaking):
- wheat berries (very small amount - all I had left)
- flax seeds
- steel cut oats
- rye flour (325 g)
- all purpose flour (75 g - don't ask me why)
- bread flour (150 g)
- sourdough starter (220 g)
- the soaker
- water (300 g, plus whatever came with the strained soaker)
- salt (11 g)
I let the dough ferment for 45 minutes. It looked like nothing had happened. I did a few strech-and-folds, and half the time, the dough broke off instead of stretching. Not good news. I let it ferment another 45 minutes. Same thing. It just didn't look like it was developing any gluten at all. I let it ferment yet another 45 minutes, and then gave up. The dough was extremely sticky though it's a stiffer dough than my usual. And it didn't seem to have any strength, and it did not stretch. Bleh.
I floured the table and formed it into a ball and let it rest for 10 minutes. Time to shape. I was careful to go for surface tension this time, and I think I got it right, and finally the dough is starting to look like a loaf. Let it proof close to an hour, scored it, and baked it.
One good thing: The scoring was easy and worked beaurifully. I think it's because the dough was stiffer than usual.
I got oven spring. Yeay! I'm pretty sure it was the surface tension. Got a beautiful grigne too, and started to feel hopeful. I let the loaf cool overnight and cut into it this morning.
Calling it moist would be a euphemism. Moist to the point of goopy glompiness. You can't tell from the way it looks. It almost looks decent. True, the crumb is not open, but I didn't expect big holes with rye.
But if you press it even gently between your fingers, it turns into doughy mush. What's worse is the mouthfeel. For reasons I can't fathom, as soon as you put it in your mouth, it feels mealy, like you're eating porridge or something. I confess that a couple of times (stop reading here if you're easily disgusted) I took it out of my mouth to stare at it to figure it out, but I couldn't.
So what went wrong? Fermentation and/or proofing too short? Too long? Too much soaker interfering with gluten development, which is already not very active in rye? Didn't bake long enough? I have no idea.
On top of it all, the taste is nothing special. I'm not going to try and improve my rye bread, because frankly, it doesn't seem worth it to me. So who wants the rest of my rye flour?