I made a version of this bread in the summer and decided to bake it again with some modifications to bring to our friends house for Christmas dinner. I usually bring some type of rye bread to go with the Christmas ham and figured a nice moist porridge bread would do the trick.
I decided to add some beer which usually gives Rye a wonderful flavor and I also added some toasted onions to the second build of the starter to really enhance the onion flavor profile.
I cut back some of the liquid to compensate for the wetter porridge which seemed to be a result of increasing the total yield of the formula to end up with 2 large loaves.
The end result was a very wet dough but it ended up springing up nicely and the crumb was as moist as I’ve ever achieved. The onion and rye flavors came through brilliantly and everyone seemed to like it very much with their ham.
Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.
If you have a rye starter you can simply refresh and use the correct amount in the final mix. If not, mix all the levain ingredients for Build 1 together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled. One trick you can use to see if the starter is ready for build 2 is to sprinkle some rye flour on-top and when it cracks you are ready to go. If you have a proofer you can cut down the time by setting it to 78 degrees. It usually takes me about 3-4 hours using the proofer.
When you are ready for Build 2, mix in the remaining ingredients and hold back some of the rye flour and sprinkle it on top after mixing. When you have a nice grouping of cracks on the top of your levain you are ready to mix the main dough.
Add about 3/4’s of the water called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the water is absorbed. Add the remainder of the water and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough. I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flours and 550 grams of the beer for about 1 minute. Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour. While the dough is resting stir in the onions with the remaining beer. If you use fresh onions you can simply add it to the dough when going to the final mix step. When the dough is rested, add the levain, cooled porridge, salt and beer/onion mixture and mix on low for 6 minutes. You should end up with a very sticky dough. Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds. Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold. Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold. After a total of 1.5 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours. (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1 hours before refrigerating).
When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 30 minutes. Remove the dough and shape as desired. (Note: this is a very sticky dough, so use wet hands and your dough blade to help you shape the dough. Do not deflate the dough and add a ton of flour or you will not be happy with the result). I suggest using a basket with a liner floured with rice flour to prevent sticking.
The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it’s size at most. Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.
Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam. I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf. I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.
Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.
After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.
Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.