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The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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“Rye breads are back, as they rightly should be. In The Rye Baker, Stanley Ginsberg has given us everything we need to know about this most misunderstood and fascinating grain, along with a complete collection of superb formulas for every variation of rye bread imaginable. This book is a must-have for all serious bread bakers; an instant classic.”
- Peter Reinhart, author of Bread Revolution
“As a huge fan of baking with rye, I dug deep into Stanley’s illuminations on the history of the grain: a transporting story told through centuries of techniques employed to make the most of this hearty grain. The baking journey starts with the chemistry of sours, soakers, sponges, and scalds; then takes you around the world for a master class of the genre.”
- Chad Robertson, author of Tartine Bread and owner of Tartine Bakery
“Among the profusion of recently published baking books, a fair bit of chaff has been mixed in with the grain. For Stanley Ginsberg, rye is the grain of choice, and his book The Rye Baker is a tall and healthy stalk. Although we disagree now and again (for instance, I personally do not endorse vital wheat gluten or clear flour), there is no doubt that Stanley has made an important and durable contribution, and I congratulate and thank him for his excellent work.”
- Jeffrey Hamelman, bakery director, King Arthur Flour Company, and author of Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes
About the Author
Stanley Ginsberg, owner-proprietor of The New York Bakers,a seller of baking ingredients, received the IACP Jane GrigsonAward for his first book, Inside the Jewish Bakery. A native NewYorker, he lives with his wife, Sylvia Spieler Ginsberg, in San Diego.
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I think some of the volume measures are not compatible with the weight measures.
A good rye sour culture is key to making almost all the breads in this book. For weeks, I struggle to create a successful culture. I finally did some research on such cultures and found that chlorinated tap water can hamper or even kill a sourdough culture. Once I started using bottled spring water, my rye sour culture took off. I think that the author should have mentioned using non-chlorinated water in the rye sour culture recipe. It certainly could have saved me several weeks of frustration.
I wish Ginsberg had addressed dough spread during the proofing process and how to counter it. I found no mention of using bannetons or brotforms or any other process/device to counter this problem.
Another disappointment was better guidance on how to obtain powdered rye malt, a necessary ingredient in many Russian breads. I checked many a brewing supply site on the internet and could find none. If Ginsberg has found a source for powdered rye malt, he should offer it on his NYbakers site.
Being first in any endeavor is always daunting. The first anything. be it refrigerator, car or book. is always subject to gobs of criticism. There is always someone who says how it could have been done better. The Rye Baker is the best resource on rye bread now available. It's a classic. The second edition will be even better.
Importantly, all of the recipes and explanations are accompanied by measurements in grams, ounces, volume, and baker's percentages. The handful of comparisons I've made while starting to bake from this book indicate that the conversions are correctly done between weights and volumes.
This book starts with an brief introduction to how this book came into being, the history of rye in agriculture and food, a very comprehensive section on ingredients, including US-Europe flour equivalencies and a breakdown of their protein and moisture content. This section is packed with concise but key information on the roles of salt, sweeteners, spices and herbs, leavening, yeast, liquids, and other mix-ins like fruits and seeds. This section also walks you through starting and maintaining a rye sourdough culture.
Following the introduction, there's an in-depth chapter on understanding the terminology and techniques used in these recipes - "Nine steps to great rye bread". This section covers things like why and how different types of preferments are used, the importance of accurate measurements and scaling, benching the dough, etc. Even if you are an experienced baker, this section contains lots of interesting details about how baking with rye works and the rationale behind some of the different techniques.
An equipment section follows the "Nine steps", and again, Stanley goes into a lot of detail about the roles of specific equipment (like proofing baskets, steam pans, and baking stones) in turning out a great loaf of rye bread. This chapter concludes with a short section on cooling and storage.
The recipes themselves are split into Immigrant Bread (America), the Essential Loaf (France and Spain), Robust and Complex (Holland, Denmark, and Northern Germany), Sweet and Crisp (Sweden, Finland, and Iceland), Aromatic and Flavorful (Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy), Dark and Intense (Russia and the Baltics), Tender and Piquant (Southern Poland), and Rich and Varied (Central and Southwestern Germany).
While a lot of the recipes make use of a starter or preferment, there are plenty of recipes that look delicious and take very little advance notice. I just got this tonight and my loaf of Spiced Honey Rye (France) is already cooled and ready to eat. It smells and tastes utterly amazing. If I were to bookmark all the recipes I want to make from this book, I would flag almost every page. There's so much knowledge and diversity of rye-based recipes in here, this bread book will be a great resource for anyone (home baker or professional) who enjoys baking bread.
I noticed some reviewers had issues with finding ingredients. King Arthur Flour will have almost everything you need.
Other reviewers thought keeping the rye sourdough culture was hard. I didn’t even read that section. It really isn’t as tricky as it seems. I just took some of my regular sourdough culture and I fed it with equal amounts (grams or ounces) of rye flour and water (no chlorininated H2O). Let it sit at room temperature until it bubbles a bit and then store it in the fridge. I feed it at least once a week if not more. The more you bake the easier it is to remember to feed it.
While this might not be for a novice baker, it is a fantastic bread book with great recipes if you love rye.