This is my wife’s baking. This is a rye whole wheat bread she has made several times before with complete success. But this time, it refused to rise despite proofing the yeast and leaving the dough “to contemplate its actions” until the following morning. (My rule of thumb is that if the bread is not rising fast enough just be patient and give it as much time as it needs.) My wife, however, was very distraught. She had been planning to make small rolls but I suggested she make 2 large loaves instead and see what comes out of it. The result was two boule-like loaves–one shown in the very bottom.
3 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 cups rye flour
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbs salt
2 tbs butter
2 tbs caraway seeds
1 1/4 cup hot water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 tsp honey added to proof yeast
1 cup raisins
Combine the honey, molasses, salt, butter, caraway seeds and hot water. Stir until the butter is melted, the salt dissolved and the honey and molasses melted. Set aside to cool to about 110 degrees or just slightly warm to touch.
Meanwhile add the rye flour and about 1 1/2 cups of the wheat flour to the mixer and combine. Proof the yeast in the 1/2 cup water with a dash of honey added.
Add the yeast mixture and honey/molasses mixture to the flour and start mixing with dough hook. As with any bread slowly add additional wheat flour until the dough forms a ball on the dough hook. Once the proper consistency has been reached knead for 7 minutes. Add the raisins and knead an additional 3 minutes. Turn out onto a floured board and hand knead a few more times. Put into a bowl with a bit of vegetable oil to lightly coat the dough so it doesn’t dry out while rising.
At this point the dough is supposed to double in volume in about an hour. When my wife made it in the past it behaved nicely and rose as expected. This time nothing happened–Zip. The picture below is when she placed the dough for the first rise. Even after 6 hours wrapped up in towels, it did not rise but just sat there sullenly. By this time it was getting late so I suggested we just leave it overnight and see how it was in the morning. Next morning it had grudgingly risen about 30%.
The rye taste came through with a slight sweetness and tang form the honey and molasses. We have been enjoying this bread lightly toasted with butter for breakfast. Still don’t know what happened to prevent it from rising but there was a lesson to be learned here; don’t give up even if the bread dough doesn’t rise. No matter how many times you bake bread and proof the yeast this type of failure will happen to anybody but apparently yeast breads can also be very forgiving. Wish we could say as much about other things in life.