Rye Porridge Bread (Pain Bouillie) with Pistachio – BBB

A hearty, wholesome and darker shade of rye bread has enormous appeal. When Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, the host of BBB’s bake of the month suggested a rye porridge bread, I was all in. Rye is a flavorful grain, but rye bread can turnout to be a dense brick or a door stopper, due to its low gluten content. A look at Kelly’s nicely textured finished loaf and the recipe, the fear of another failed baking attempt is quickly laid to rest.

There are many favorable factors working for this rye bread recipe, adapted from The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz. Here are the highlights:

  • Rye porridge – Rye flour and cracked rye grain (or flakes) are soaked in boiling water and rest overnight. It serves as a preferment or a dough conditioner.
  • 50% rye / 50% white bread flour are conducive and accessible to relatively open crumb structure of the finished loaf.
  • Quick version – One teaspoon of active dry yeast sped up the rise. Two hours of bulk fermentation and 30 minutes of proofing were all the time the dough needed. The bread can be baked within a few hours of mixing the dough.
  • Shaping is not essential. Don’t be too overly concerned about the sticky dough. Since the dough is risen the second time in a loaf pan and the loaf pan goes directly into the oven, overall hydration level can go as high as 95%. It is manageable. The feel of wet concrete is not unusual for this type of bread. As long as you can get (or pour) the dough in a twice greased pan, it will turn out fine.
  • Flavor and texture – Traditionally, caraway seeds are used. I kept the honey and raisins but skipped the strongly flavored caraway seeds. In fact, I added nearly a cup or 100 grams of raisins, instead of one tablespoon called for in the recipe. A mild flavor and colorful green pistachio nuts are added — a boat load of them, for its bright visual impact.
  • With all the extra nuts and raisins, this recipe makes one large and one mini loaf. Love the mini loaf and its cute appetizer size.
  • Bake thoroughly until the internal temperature has reached 210°F, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Here is a quote in The Village Baker on some interesting tidbits about the pain bouillie:

“Whenever you see a French recipe that begins with the instructions “Faire une bouillie…” you know you have come across a very old recipe because it starts off with a mush made by pouring boiling water over flour.  The mush, which will ferment slightly overnight, is used the next day mixed into a bread.  The most fascinating recipe I have heard of for pain bouillie is one from the Alpine region of France around the town of Villar-d’Aréne.  The bouillie is made with dark rye flour and set aside to rest for seven hours.  The porridge is then mixed into a dough, without any yeast, and allowed to rest for another seven hours.  When the dough is finally made into loaves, they are placed in an oven that has already been used for bread and so the temperature is only about 200ºF.  The loaves bake for seven hours and the process produces a moist, dense, completely sourdough bread that lasts well over six months – or so the story goes.  The bread is traditionally made in November and it keeps best when stored in wine cellars and hay lofts.”


50% rye and 50% white bread flour, speckled with nuts, grains and raisins

I don’t think I’ve adhered to the spirit of the French country origin of the traditional rye porridge bread. The variations with high concentration of nuts and the speckled grains take it more in the realm of Scandinavian breads. On the other hand, if you look closer, you may see the reflection of me and, what I’ve been baking lately, all over it. I enjoyed a delicious, sweet and satisfying bite of a small slice of this freshly baked bread with a cup of latte in the late afternoon. Kicking back and happy with the results of this nutty rye bread, which has almost no hint of rye.



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  • Reply
    hobby baker
    November 23, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I am completely enamored with those pistachios, what a striking loaf! And so cute with the mini too. You really knocked this one out of the park, thanks for baking with us!

  • Reply
    November 24, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Pistachios! Wow! now I'm thinking cranberries or cherries for red and one would have a wonderful bread for the holidays;-)
    Still, I'd have to add in the caraway! I do enjoy them!
    And your mini-loaf … a perfect for a little gift at a tea party although I'd want that latte too.
    Thanks much for baking with us!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    This looks so festive with the nuts and all. And nice and airy, no doorstopper for sure! very pretty, thanks for baking with us!

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