Baking Hamelman’s 80% rye “Affidavit Bread”

Affidavit Bread

I divided this big 80% rye loaf in the middle… some for me, some to give away

The other day I baked up a wonderful pullman loaf of 80% whole rye that’s perfect for serving with smoked salmon or some of the nice Brooklyn whitefish salad I had left over from a party last weekend. With a fairly open crumb it’s not too dense for sandwiches, either.

I baked it on Sunday and am just now (on Thursday) appreciating the full flavor. We made this when I was in Jeffrey Hamelman’s sourdough rye class but I had not tried it again because I was enamored of rye berries, cracked rye and other add-ins that go into the mix along with seeds to make a dense “corn” rye. Now that I’ve tried this, I like it better and it will be my go-to loaf whenever I want a heavy rye.

The recipe (as usual when I talk about Hamelman’s breads, I will not spell it out because I want you to buy the book) utilizes a number of tricks to bring out the rye flavor including a preferment that’s almost 1/3 of the total weight, a rye flour soaker, lots of yeast (so it’s not too overly dense), and 20% high-gluten flour to provide some structure for the very slack, mortar-like dough.

8% rye crumb shot

Crumb is surprisingly open for such a dense loaf

I lined a Pullman pan with parchment paper and covered it with aluminum foil for the first 20 minutes at high heat, then cooked it another 1 ¼ hour at 410 degrees after taking off the foil. (As I’ve mentioned recently, I now check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and make sure it’s close to 210 degrees so I don’t under bake.) I could tell I had a winner as soon as I pulled out of the oven and could not resist a first taste way too soon, after it had cooled a couple of hours. If you like nutty rye flavor, this is your loaf.

My notes from the class call this “Affidavit Bread” without further explanation. If any readers know what this means, please let me know. Maybe a baker cooks this as proof they know what they’re doing. Or maybe you deposit a loaf, instead of your drivers license, as security when you’re renting a bowling lane. It’s that valuable, for sure.

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