Rye bread

Let me tell you the story of my last project. I was really fund of stencils and initially I noticed them for cake decoration. But then, I realized that is not only for cakes ... it can be used for anything you'd like, starting from painting a chair, a wall, a table, a blouse and, why not, for decorating breads. To start painting the walls of my house I have to negotiate with my husband who likes very much the walls as they are :D.... for other furniture in the house .... hmmm ... I need to find some that are suitable for this... so why not to start with what I do most often and is in totally in my hands.... BREAD! 

First I searched what could I buy as stencils....uh... what a price .... and if you want a dedicated bread stencils.... uh such a big price.... but in the end what it is about these nice stencils to be so expensive? And why I couldn't do one myself, or as many as I like and with whatever pattern I want. And this is exactly what I have done. First, I tried with a classic plastic folder that I found too thin to sustain any additional flour or cocoa powder. Then I have used my classic cutter to cut the plastic folder. Didn't work so well and I gave up. But I still wanted to make something special and for sure I was very close, just that I hadn't the right tools. So I took it step by step:
- I needed some nice patterns to apply to my breads. Just a simple search after stencils, silhouettes or vectors on the web returned me a lot of nice results. But I wanted more, I wanted a collection, so I turned to my favorite photo collection place called pinterest. There I found so many nice patterns to use.... so I printed some I like the most. 
- the second step was to find a good cutter. I went straight to a bigger library and searched for a good one. I found a Japanese art cutter pen ... and it was exactly what I was looking for. 
- third step was to fins a good, transparent and stronger material. In the same library shop I have found some classical dividers used normally by students to organize their courses. I didn't know at that time but it was exactly what I needed. Coming back home I realized that the plastic dividers were perfect for my purpose. But I didn't stop here, because I bought only some to try if they were good, so before going back to that shop I brainstormed myself where else I could find similar ones. Guess what ... I was opening a ham plastic box and I was thinking ... why to through it away... why not to try another pattern on it... and is exactly what I did and it serve it's purpose so well.

So, with these 3 tools it was the time to put my project into practice. A transparent and perfect material to be cut, a very good art cutter pen that gives you precision and my preferred patterns printed on paper. And I spent my Friday evening only doing this ... I ended the evening with 3-4 stencils and I realized after that this was such a relaxing activity... 

The next day, it was a bread baking day. Of course, I couldn't wait to use my creations of the day before. I have picked an interesting recipe and went to work. When it was the time to score the breads, I took one stencil, put it on top of the bread and sprinkle some flour on it. With every experience you learn, and  I realized that I should have let the dough in the bannetons with less flour so my pattern to become more contrasting. A lesson to be applied with my next bakings, but for the moment I did it like this.

As for the bread, this is a very simple recipe, 50-50% rye and wheat flour and water. In French they call it "le pain de méteil". In fact, what they want to say is that is a mixture of cereals, rye with wheat. The dough had a perfect consistency to make ears to my bread. It raised so nicely and it was so rewarding the entire process. The taste? Should I still mention this? I thought is obvious.... it is just amazing ...

This is just the beginning of the breads with stencils era for me, so you'll, for sure, see me using these in the future...


  1. Mix all ingredients in a standing robot, 4 minutes on a low speed and 15 minutes on a higher speed.
  2. Bulk fermentation 1h30 at room temperature.
  3. Preshape 3 oblong loaves and let the dough relax for 15 minutes.
  4. Shape the final loafs.
  5. Final fermentation in lightly floured bannetons 1h30 at 24ºC. 
  6. Preheat the oven at 260ºC with the baking stone inside.
  7. Bake with steam in the first 15 minutes at 260ºC and continue for another 30 minutes reducing the temperature to 240ºC.

This recipe was inspired from Le Larousse du pain - Eric Kayser, page 92.


FrankO said...

these look amazing, and i love the stencil idea! rye bread is my favorite, so i will be trying this recipe. thank you!

HungryShots said...

Thank you, FrankO. It is a very simple recipe and the resulting bread is great. Try it!

FrankO said...

i plan on trying it this coming weekend. i will try to remember to keep you posted. thanks again!

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

I've recently becomes obsessed with bread baking. Stencils are SUCH a great idea :)

HungryShots said...

Natalie, this is passion :)) Do not worry ... it happens to me as well :p. Indeed stencils are great and they are endless ideas about them. You can personalize each of your bread in this way.

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