I’m killing time with baking things I like because I’ll be getting on with other things like preparing for the LondonSurrey 100 mile bike ride if the weather ever gets better. Today is a rest day because I did 50 miles yesterday.
Back to Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet book and an interesting loaf with a bit of a punch to it, the black pepper rye bread. Black pepper, and in my case fennel seeds, he gives you the choice of fennel, anise or caraway, are added to the mixture, and it’s all topped off with poppy seeds.
I have tried this once before and found that heating the coffee and the rye to boiling point means you get a really tough mixture and it doesn’t work too well. The good people over on The Fresh Loaf solved the problem years ago, which will teach me not to do the Googling before I get it wrong. Anyway, the recipe says “heat half the rye flour and the coffee until just reaching boiling”. DO NOT DO THIS. If it gets too hot and the mixture boils and is like polenta you’ve gone too far and you will need more water when you add the other flours, up to 75ml seems to be the quantity required. At least now I have the confidence to fix it when it’s gone wrong. If I did it again I think I might just use hot coffee and bypass the boiling bit. No-one seems entirely sure why you do it. I used fresh yeast rather than fast action yeast. I used milk instead of egg wash and slashed after I’d put on the poppy seeds.
Results – quite peppery, and browner than the book suggests. I used Bacheldre Watermill rye, maybe a light rye would not be so dark. It would be great with soft creamy cheese and/or smoked salmon as suggested by Dan.