This Swiss Rye Ring, also known as Brasciadela, hosted by Cathy of Bread Experience, is calling me in so many ways. While I grew up eating white bread, making complex, robust and nutritious breads, like this Swiss rye ring, have been my goal in bread-making. A friend of mine has commented that he did not see as many rye breads on my blog. One easy explanation is that it’s more daunting and unstable in dealing with recalcitrant rye than the wheat grain.
Several months ago, I started converting to a stiff rye starter. Meanwhile, I have been reading Stanley Ginsberg’s The Rye Baker with interest to expand my rye bread repertoire. The world of rye is vast. In Europe, rye breads are the daily staples. In Iceland, where I recently visited, it’s a part of a national identity. Baking rye breads in the bubbling geothermal springs for 24 hours has garnered increasing curiosity from visitors from around the world.
This Swiss rye bread originates from the Graubünden canton in Switzerland. It’s circular shape makes it easy to store on poles which can be hung from the ceiling during the long winters in the Alpine region. The dough is prepared using a 3-stage build process over two days.
The 69% rye bread rounds out the intense and sharp flavor of rye with the nutty sweetness of wheat while accentuating the tangy notes from the sourdough starter.
On the first day, I made the rye sponge (a low-hydration sour rye sponge that favors acetic acid formation) and the wheat poolish (that’s refrigerated overnight to bring out the wheat’s nutty sweetness). Then mixed the final dough, let it rise and baked on the next day. What came out was a complex, flavorful and tight-crumb rye bread (see the picture above). It’s similar to other Nordic breads and goes well with smoked fish or brined meat.
In my first bake, I used sifted whole-wheat (removing the bran) instead of first clear flour, which I don’t have. The result is a very flavorful but much denser crumb than I’ve expected.
In the second bake, I held back on the whole-wheat flour and used a higher protein unbleached bread flour. In addition, I put in more water than the amount the recipe calls for to over 70% of the total flour weight. See the cheat sheet below for details. As a result, the sticky dough gets stickier and much slippery to properly handle.
The 69% Swiss Rye ring bread has a desirable open-crumb texture. The ring shape makes it way too pleasant to cut a thin slice and eat, especially served with some smoked salmon and capers. It took me back to those wonderful open-faced sandwiches we had in Copenhagen not too long ago.
SWISS RYE RING | BRASCIADELAPrint Recipe
- Rye Sponge:
- Medium rye flour 300 g 10.60 oz
- Warm (105°F/41°C) water 200 g 7.05 oz
- Rye sour culture 20g 0.70oz
- Wheat Poolish:
- First clear flour 200g 7.05oz (I used sifted whole wheat flour)
- Cold water 200g 7.05oz
- Instant yeast 8g 0.30oz
- Final Dough:
- Rye sponge 520g 18.3oz
- Wheat poolish 408g 14.40oz
- Medium rye flour 110g 3.88oz
- White rye flour 210g 7.41g
- First clear flour 82g 2.89oz,
- Warm (105°F/41°C) water 170g 6.00oz
- Salt 20g 0.71oz
Mix the sponge ingredients with a wooden spoon until it forms a stiff dough. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until doubled in volume 10-12 hours or overnight.
Mix the poolish ingredients, then cover and refrigerate 10-12 hours or overnight.
Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, combine all of the ingredients for the final dough on 2nd speed until the dough becomes a stiff, slightly sticky dough, about 6-8 minutes. It should leave the sides of the bowl and stick to the dough hook. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let it bulk ferment at room temperature for 1 – 1.25 hours, or until doubled in volume.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide it into two equal pieces, about 750 grams each.
Take each piece and shape into a log about 18 inches / 45 cm long and 2 inches / 5 cm in diameter. Shape each log into a ring. Bring the ends together and brush them with water to seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking pan. Alternately, you can place the ring in a floured banneton basket with a center riser.
Cover the rings and let them proof at room temperature until they visibly expanded and the surface shows cracks or broken bubbles.
Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C with two Dutch ovens on a lower shelf. Using a fork or docking wheel, dock (poke) the surface of each loaf thoroughly and evenly to a depth of at least ¼ inch / 0.6 cm.
Transfer loaves in Dutch ovens and bake with steam (with the covers on) for 15 minutes. Remove the covers of the Dutch ovens, and reduce the temperature to 410°F/210°C. Bake until the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.
Adapted from Stanley Ginsberg's The Rye Baker