Whey Sourdough Bread

If you think you can replace water with another liquid in making sourdough bread, think twice. 

I do yoghurt at home and sometimes it makes whey. As this is such a great ingredient with high protein content, I wanted to use it for bread.

Yoghurt whey (also known as sour whey) is much more acidic then cheese whey (sweet whey).
The general recommendation is not to go over 20-30% the quantity of whey in the total liquid for sourdough bread. But I am using 44% liquid coming from sour whey for this recipe. 

The acidic environment of whey and its foreign protein affected the dough of this bread and some extra effort was needed to rescue this dough.

This is an interesting experience to bake bread. More than following a recipe, it is very important to read the dough. When I noticed that things were not OK, I had to adjust my steps and my techniques to correct the dough.

The adventure in making this bread is recorded here:

What I like the most with bread experiences is that you get a lot of lessons learned out of them. For example, this is what I learned by making this bread:

1. Sour whey does affect the dough by weakening the gluten development.

2. More sour whey in bread liquid requires extra handling and may lead to inconsistent baking.

3. You may keep higher whey quantities but use sweet whey, that is less acidic.

4.  For an easier bread, reduce the hydration in this recipe by lowering the whey quantity (with 50g, let's say).

Although tricky, I am happy with these loaves: crunchy crust, soft crumb and what a flavour ...

100% Whole Grain Rye Sourdough Bread

Rye flour is clearly different than wheat flour. It has weak gluten that is not capable to form a gluten network and when mixed in a dough develops almost no elasticity. It looks like a viscous paste and is breaking quickly at an attempt to stretch it. Rye flour does not benefit from autolyse either, so forget this technique when baking bread with a high percentage of rye flour.

Kneading a rye dough has no effect because the gluten in rye is not capable to form an elastic dough. Rye dough relies on pentosans to be formed. If you do not like to knead the dough, then this bread is for you.

When baked in a loaf, it gives to the bread a dark crumb and a lower volume should be expected. The crumb is denser, you won't get big alveoli but rather smaller holes. Expect then a loaf with a dense crumb with small holes.

Instead, rye bread is more nutritious than wheat bread because it contains more bran. When ground, it is more difficult to separate the bran from the flour, so the content of bran is much higher in rye flour. But if you use whole grain (dark) rye flour you'll get the entire bran as it was not sifted out. 

Here is the video with the recipe and description for this special rye bread:

Compared to wheat flour, rye flour absorbs much more water and makes the bread last longer.

Rye bread tastes better 24 hours after baking and actually improves with age. It will stay moist inside for a week.

Rye bread is known for its specific aroma and taste and is very popular in North European countries.

A slice of 100% whole grain rye sourdough bread is a perfect match for cheese, pâté, salmon, eggs and I let you discover other ones.

So, are you ready to bake and taste this bread?

Cheese crisps with discarded rye sourdough

If you are like me, baking with sourdough and keeping the sourdough at room temperature you understand that it is very easy to end up with a lot of discarded sourdough in the fridge. I feed my sourdough twice a day, and with every feed, I get ~50g discard. This makes about 100g a day and 700g a week. That is a lot but there is no way that I through away such an incredible ingredient. I simply store it in my fridge, and every week or every other week I do something with it. It can be crackers, pancakes, anything. Sometimes I use it as such for making pizza dough. It is incredibly useful and healthy ingredient so I am happy to use it.
This time I made crisp crackers with it and its secret ingredient is cheese. There is no trace of sourness inside remaining from the sourdough. My kids are crazy about them and it is a great healthy snack that I can sneak into their schoolbag.

This recipe is using a lot of discarded sourdough and this is what I was, in fact, looking for. If you do not have sourdough or you do not have enough, I think you can easily replace the sourdough with half quantity of rye flour and half quantity of water. But for me, the main purpose was to use the discarded sourdough for this recipe. Eggs will help them stay together while butter will help at cooking and make them melt in your mouth.
I simply invented this recipe myself, by trying and adjusting it to fit my taste. This version is the best I achieved so far and I am very happy with it. The composition is extremely easy to make, what is taking a bit more time is cooking them. But with an alarm set at every 2 and a half minutes you can enjoy doing other things in between without worrying that they'll get burned.
What I love the most about them is the taste of the crisp cheese that it is browned just enough to give a lovely texture and taste.

Let's see how to do them.

Romanian Sourdough Sweet Bread (Cozonac cu maia)

I do this sweet bread every year but it is just this winter that I tried the sourdough version. As always, once I try sourdough, I do not come back to yeast. It will be the case for this bread as well. It is true that it takes time to make it but it worth every minute of it. 

The difference is that the crumb is soft and fluffy. You can also break the crumb into straps. It conserves much better than the yeast one. I am simply impressed by it and I'd like to share with you how I've done it.

I published some versions with yeast before on my blog and you can find them here:

The filling that you chose for it is a personal option. I've put inside 3 of the most common ingredients, but you are free to pick only one, 2 or all. Or you can add others that you like.

I do this bread called "Cozonac" only for Christmas and Easter. Sweet bread is not my highest preference, but this one is a tradition that I know since childhood. I am continuing this tradition, especially for my kids, although I am now living in another country. The smell spread in the house when this cake is prepared for Christmas and Easter resides deep in my memories. I recall when my entire family was reunited a few days before Christmas at my grandparents to prepare all the traditional food. Those were special days. They were starting with children carols, when we were singing and knocking on the neighbour doors for pretzels and walnuts. Then it was the day for "cozonaci" and the day of pork meat preparations. Many of these are gone, and some traditions as well. But if I can bring something from those days into my house to keep alive the Christmas spirit I do it, no matter how much work is needed. This sweet bread is one of the few that I can continue, especially during this weird year.

My children love it, myself as well. My favourite version for me is with lokum because it is very sweet. My children also pick them from the slices, but I was doing the same as a child.

This is a sweet bread linked to traditions, memories, aroma and holidays. It is a treat to share with family and friends in joyful moments. It is also a delicious breakfast or dessert.

40% Rye Sourdough Bread

When you bake bread with a high content of rye flour expect to have a darker and denser crumb.  

I baked before another version of rye bread inspired by the same Hamelman's recipe "40% caraway rye". That version is on my blog 40% rye bread with sunflower seeds, posted more than 6 years ago. This time, I went for an improved version with no yeast, based exclusively on rye sourdough. None of these recipes includes caraway as I do not like it very much, but if you like it, please feel free to add it back, as in the original recipe.

Compared to the first recipe, the bread raised much higher and even got me an ear. The reason for this is the use of strong bread flour that had an autolyse before being combined with the rye preferment. This is essential mainly because rye flour has weak gluten that does not behave as the bread flour does. The strong bread flour adds strength to the dough structure and makes the bread to rise more.

This bread in any version is very rich in flavour and I find it outstanding in terms of taste. It has a moist and soft crumb that simply melts into your mouth.

Another advantage of this bread is that the bulk fermentation + final fermentation lasts only 3 ½ hours. On the other side, if you are up to get all the rye flavour, expect to let it cool for minimum 5 hours.

I am happy with this result and for sure I will revisit this recipe again, probably in another version :).

Merry Christmas!