Chad Robertson
René Bolvig's Rye
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René Bolvig's Rye

Chad Robertson, Tartine: Book No. 3 - December 5th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Tartine: Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson―a book featured in Words-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

“This hearty bread came together quickly, as I started with a base recipe generously given to me by my Danish chef friend René Bolvig. My formula changed and evolved over time to be something quite different from the original, but the loaf itself—a nutrient-dense brick of sprouted grains and seeds—holds true to the source. Sprouting the grain makes the bread immensely more digestible, and adds a natural sweetness from the rye berries themselves. We use beer made by our friends at Linden Street Brewery in Oakland, who ferment the brew using our natural bread starter as the sole culture. The buttermilk and whey used in these loaves is what’s left after our weekly production of fresh cheese and butter at Bar Tartine. The loaf can also be shaved into thin slices and baked to make lacy crisps.”

Yields 2 loaves (requires advance preparation)

  • 400g high-extraction spelt flour
  • 100g whole-grain dark rye flour
  • 180g buttermilk
  • 135g dark beer
  • 20g dark malt syrup
  • 475g water
  • 310g leaven
  • 17g fine sea salt
  • 525g sprouted rye berries
  • 45g sunflower seeds
  • 135g whole brown flaxseeds
  • 70g coarsely ground brown flaxseeds
  • 105g unhulled brown sesame seeds
  • 45g pumpkin seeds
  1. In one bowl, combine the flours. In second bowl, combine buttermilk, beer, malt syrup, water, and leaven; mix by hand to incorporate; add flours; mix by hand until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes; rest dough, covered in bowl, 30 minutes; add salt; mix by hand until incorporated (the dough should have the feel of wet concrete); cover bowl with clean kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature (80° to 85°F/26° to 29°C), 3 to 4 hours [alternatively, you can accomplish the same goal more slowly by fermenting the dough overnight at cellar temperature (55°F/13°C)], folding dough every 30 minutes for first 2 1/2 hours (see note below), folding in rye berries and seeds after first two series of turns, 1 hour into rise; after 3 hours and six foldings, dough should feel aerated, billowy, and softer with 20 to 30 percent increase in volume—if not, continue bulk rising 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

  2. Remove dough from container; lightly flour top surface of dough; cut into two pieces; work each piece gently into a round by drawing the spatula around the side of the dough in a circular motion; flour tops of the rounds; cover with a kitchen towel; rest dough 20 to 30 minutes; line two medium baskets or bowls with clean, dry kitchen towels; dust generously with 50/50 mixture of any wheat and rice flours.

  3. Fold dough final time, leaving seams underneath; rest dough several minutes; transfer to floured baskets; cover with clean, dry kitchen towel; let dough rise at warm room temperature, 3 to 5 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

  4. Heat oven to 500°F (260°C); adjust oven rack to its lowest position.

  5. Place 9 1/2” round cast-iron Dutch oven and lid into the oven to preheat; carefully transfer one dough round into preheated Dutch oven, tipping it out of basket into pot with seam-side down; score top of dough with razor blade; cover pot; return to oven.

  6. After 20 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 450°F (230°C); bake 10 minutes; carefully remove lid; continue to bake 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is deep golden brown; remove from oven; turn loaf out onto wire rack to cool.

Chef’s Notes: To do a fold, dip one hand in water, grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out, and fold it back over itself. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat three to four times. When you are folding the dough, note its temperature to the touch and how the dough is becoming aerated and elastic. • We don’t “punch” the dough down to degas at Tartine. We strengthen the dough by using gentle folds and turns. As flavor develops during the first rising, it is key to preserve that flavorful gas built up within the dough until the bread is baked.

Chad Robertson, Tartine Book No. 3, Chronicle Books (2013).