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Nov 16, 2016

Rye Porridge Bread (Pain Bouillie)

This Rye Porridge Bread is representative of French rye breads; dense, moist, and flavorful. 

This Rye Porridge Bread is representative of French rye breads; dense, moist, and flavorful.

This month the Bread Baking Babes, hosted by Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, are making a traditional rye bread with a porridge. The porridge in this case is a mixture of rye flour and rye chops that is mixed with boiling water and allowed to soak overnight. I had about half of the recipe of rye chops in my freezer, so I supplemented it with 10 grain cereal.

I have heard that this method of pouring boiling water over flour is called "scalding." It kind of reminds me of the tangzhong method in Asian breads.

Typically, when you are working with rye flour, you have to be really careful, lest the rye gets overly gummy. You can't really knead the bread as you would with wheat flour, or you will end up with a glob of goo. While I'm not an expert, I noticed that I was able to knead this bread without ending up with a doorstop loaf. I'm pretty sure that making the porridge had something to do with this. 

Kelly found this recipe in the book, The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, considered one of the seminal and inspired artisan bread baking books, particularly when it comes to European crusty breads. 

This bread is started in a cold oven set to 450 degrees F. Unfortunately, I burned the top of my loaf. Maybe Joe Ortiz has a gas oven, but my electric one, equipped with a baking stone, pretty much charred the top of the bread within 20 minutes. Fortunately, I was able to tent the loaf with foil and finish the interior without any more damage. That's what I love about baking bread. It's so forgiving! 

Oh, by the way, this bread is deliciously wonderful and about the best traditional rye ever. Thank you Kelly. 

This Rye Porridge Bread is representative of French rye breads; dense, moist, and flavorful.

This bread includes both rye flour and all purpose flour, as well as a paste of caraway seeds and raisins. 

Some adjustments I might make next time:
  1. Bake the bread in a preheated oven with a steam pan to get some oven spring. 
  2. Watch the bread through the oven window to make sure it doesn't burn before I tent it. 
My other adjustments are noted in parens in the recipe. 

After the recipe, check out the rest of the Bread Baking Babes' take on this bread. 

Rye Porridge Bread Recipe


The Bouillie

2 tsp honey
1 3/4 cups (414 grams) boiling water
1 cup (102 grams) rye flour (I used dark rye)
1 cup rye chops (I used 1/2 cup rye chops and 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal)

Final Dough

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water
All of the Bouillie
2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tablespoons raisins
2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all purpose flour, plus more to create a cohesive dough (I needed another 100 grams or so to create the right consistency)


To make the porridge

  1. Pour the boiling water over the honey in a heat proof measuring cup and stir. 
  2. Whisk the flour and rye chops/cereal together in a heat proof bowl. 
  3. Pour the water and honey mixture over the flour mixture. Stir until all of the flour/cereal is moistened and cover with plastic wrap. 
  4. Let rest over night. 

To make the bread

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 2 tablespoons of the warm water. 
  2. Put all of the porridge into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix in the salt. 
  3. In a mini food processor or mortar and pestle, grind the caraway seeds. Then add the raisins to make a paste. Add one tablespoon of water and mix. 
  4. Add the caraway seed/raisin mixture to the porridge (the original recipe calls for just 2 teaspoons of the mixture, but I added it all, mostly because I wasn't paying attention). 
  5. Add the 250 grams of the all purpose flour along with the yeast mixture to the porridge, and mix with the dough hook until you have a firm but sticky dough. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. It's hard to judge when you are done, because rye is naturally sticky. I added about another 100 grams of flour. 
  6. Place the dough into an oiled container, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. 
  7. Divide the doubled dough into two pieces and shape them into 5 inch square by 2 inch high disks, by flattening and folding the dough. Place the disks, seam side down, next to each other, into an oiled 9 inch by 5 1/2 inch bread pan. 
  8. Cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise until the dough crests about 1/2 inch above the top of the pan, about one hour. 
  9. Slash the the top of the dough and brush with oil. 
  10. Place the dough in the oven and set the temperature to 450 degrees F. (see note above regarding placing the dough in a preheated oven.)
  11. Bake in the heating oven for 25 minutes (watch the dough carefully and tent with foil when it begins to darken). 
  12. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes longer. (In my case, the bread was ready in 20 minutes, not 45.)
  13. Cool on a wire rack, and thinly slice. 

The rest of the Babes' takes on this recipe:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Too bad about the top!! Because the bread looks fabulous, otherwise. Just look at that crumb!

    (Selfishly, now I'm glad that I didn't manage to retain the part that said we were supposed to put the bread in a cold oven.)

    1. I wish I hadn't retained that part too!

    2. Next time, Karen. Next time.

      (We just finished the last of the bread today. It makes brilliant toast!)

  2. That interior is sheer perfection. and the top, yes it's a bit over (mine was too in places) just cut it off, it might not be healthy.

    1. Thanks Lien. Yes, I just cut off the burned bits and it's just fine.

  3. I am seeing consensus here: the top crust is an issue. Mine got super dark, didn't have any burned aroma or flavor but way to dark and tough. If starting in a hot oven corrected that this would be a very terrific bread.
    Wonderful crumb!

    1. I think everyone's oven probably heats up at different rates, and mine heats up pretty fast! Thanks!

  4. Wow, you and I got almost the same interior. D'oh! about the burned top, because your loaf is gorgeous. I have a half loaf stashed in the freezer, but I want to make it again with a hot oven and steam.

    1. Thanks Kelly! I'm definitely giving that a try. Thanks for the great bread.

  5. I hope you had enough leftover to eat with the Smoked Salmon Pate.... It would seem that they were made for each other. Bummer about the extra-dark top.

  6. Where in your directions do you add the dissolved yeast?

    1. I've fixed it! It goes in with the flour.


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