SUNDAY SUPPERS’ RYE BREAD
I apologize before I say this simply because it’s gross and stuff, but yesterday somebody, two days in a row, decided to leave a hot steamy pile of poop right in the middle of our “aged” leather sofa… I’m sorry, I told you, it’s gross. But more importantly, why? What could possibly be the reason for this deeply punishing act? Hey beats me. Just to fuck with the word motherhood, I guess.
I recognize the weirdness in the usage of such word, motherhood, I get it, so let’s talk about it for a sec. Some swear by it. Some avoid it. And some get offended when it’s used in this context of, well, dogs. But for the convenience of making a conversation, I struggle to find a better word. Some say, “dog owner” is the more accurate phrase. Hey, I hear ya, but, it’s just that… I don’t own dogs, just like nobody owns children. They are mine, but not properties. If someday my dogs tell me that they wants to leave the nest to go to Amsterdam and smoke pot for the rest of their lives, hey, fair game, I would just lock them up and take away all their food-money like any discerning parents. Doesn’t make me an owner, just makes me a mother. So for the lack of a better word, last month, or 20 days ago to be exact, I became a mother again, for the fifth and sixth time. Yes, twin girls, two rescued Rottweiler-mix puppies.
Rottweilers × 2!? You must be thinking I’m crazy. And I’m starting to think you’re right.
How big do Rottweilers get? Please don’t tell me because I have no freaking clue. But the the fact that they are growing exponentially against our best wishes, seems to be one. To put it into perspective, our maltese Dumpling was what, 3 kilo? So by optimistic estimation, each of them would grow to be about 12 Dumplings, and together, 24 Dumplings. That’s 70 kilos of pure muscles powered by the spirit of a trampoline. We named them Sesame (芝麻), and Sticky Rice Ball (湯圓) or SRB for short, though the petiteness of their names is starting to sound more ironic than cute.
Who’s freaking out? I’m just sayin’.
So how did this happen? Couldn’t we just try a single Rottweiler on for size and good reason first? Well, the way we see it, we had no choice amidst a very complicated situation.
There was this adoption day thing at our local pet supply store that we simply wanted to “just check it out”, and there they were, two puppies inside the same crate. No harm in asking a question is there? So are they boys or girls? “Both girls, sisters!”, answered the staff. Hmm, girls, we’ve been wanting a girl. This one on the right seem to be nice and calm. Can I hold her? “Yes, of course! She’s the younger one.” Awww look at her just relaxing on my lap! Jason, Jason! Are you seeing this?! Wait, why is the other one acting all nervous and shit? “The sisters are very attached to each other.” What is this, woman? You trying to make me feel bad? Fine, Jason, can you just hold the other one so she’s doesn’t feel left out?
Oh wait you’re waiting for more complicatedness to come? No, no, that’s it. Yup. The beginning of the end. Put me on your friends-who-got-a-kid-and-gone-missing list. Likewise, I’ll resurface the earth in 10+ years.
But on the bright side, the food side that is, giant wall-eating babies are putting me in a whole new perspective. I never understood this “easy home cooking” business. I mean if you like cooking, what’s the problem? And if you don’t like cooking, why you cooking? Golfers don’t complain why is it 18 holes and not 4 holes. But now, ehhh… I sort of get it. The other day I allowed myself to spend a little obsession on homemade ramen, and someone ate my chair. Literally, ate my chair. It’s not that I don’t enjoy spending time in the kitchen anymore, but the stakes for negligence are higher these days if you know what I mean.
Which brings me to mention – Simple Fare.
Look beyond the soul-sucking-ly beautiful photographs by the hands of Karen Mordechai, there is also the answer to the prayers of all bone-crushingly exhausted parents. Take this elegant rye bread for example, which she calls “half day rye bread”, which really turned out to be “quarter day rye bread” in the warmer month that is May. It was a cinch to put together, so much so that I was able to test two loafs at once even with two flying trapeze-artists demolishing my apartment (and Shrimpy) in the background. I’m not an expert in the political correctness of a proper rye bread, but a smear of good room-temperature butter and a thin slice of fennel salami from Tuscany, I melted in a moment of relaxation and satisfaction, a rare one these days no doubt…
So thank you, Karen, but I simply must go because I just stepped into a puddle of pee.
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The originally recipe uses practically 100% hydration (360 grams water), which was highly suspicious but I followed it the first time anyways. It yielded an extremely wet dough, formless, could barely be shaped, and the final texture was more like a cake than bread. So I reduced the hydration to 80% (285 grams water), which was still a wet dough but workable, and the final texture was very soft but chewy. The only downside is that it probably won't give you that crackling pattern on the surface, but hey, you decide.
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp (170 grams) rye flour
- 1 1/2 cup (188 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (8 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp (6 grams) instant dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp (8 grams) sea salt
- 285 ml/grams to 360 ml/grams water (see the above note)
- 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- The original recipe did not use fennel, but I like it with rye bread. Lightly toast the fennel seeds in a skillet until they start to pop, then transfer into a stone-mortar and grind coarsely.
- You could either choose not to knead the dough for a softer final texture, or knead the dough with stand mixer for a chewier texture. For no-kneading, mix rye flour, all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, instant dry yeast, sea salt, ground fennel and water (see the above note to decide how much water to use) in a large container to form a very wet dough. Cover with plastic-wrap and let proof. For kneading, in a stand-mixer bowl with dough-hook, knead rye flour, all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, instant dry yeast, sea salt, ground fennel and water (again, depending) on high speed for 6~7 minutes. Cover with plastic-wrap and let proof.
- Now, depending on your climate, the proofing time will vary significantly. In humid climate, I would suggest proofing the dough in the fridge for 2~3 hours until fully doubled. In dry climate, leave at room-temperature to proof for 3~4 hours until fully doubled.
- Butter your loaf pan thoroughly than set aside. Scrape the dough onto a well-floured surface, then use the scraper to fold the dough over itself from 4 different corners, then flip to have the seam-side down and gently shape into a rectangle. Transfer into the loaf pan, then dust flours through a fine sieve until the top surface is covered. Cover the pan with plastic-wrap and let proof again until doubled. Less than 1 hour for humid environment, or 1~2 hours for dry environment.
- Preheat the oven on 425 F/220 C. Remove the plastic-wrap and bake in the oven for 25 min. Turn off the oven and leave for another 10 min. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool for 10 min, and best served warm. I suggest plain butter with thin sliced of cured fennel sausages.
AimeeMay 4, 2017 at 9:57 PM
I consider it motherhood too. There’s just not a better word for if you have to pick up another being’s poo and pee, and STILL love them unconditionally.
Also, this bread looks divine.
AviMay 4, 2017 at 10:22 PM
I have been loving all the videos you’ve been putting of the sisters on instagram. The more you can exercise them and tire them out, the better behaved they will be – the phrase I’ve heard is ‘a tired puppy is a good puppy’. Good luck! They are so cute.
MargeauxMay 5, 2017 at 12:10 AM
I have 1 child and 3 dogs. Raising them is basically the same deal.
Also, I would like to eat this bread forever.
AshleyMay 5, 2017 at 12:48 AM
noooooo… those puppy-babies are too much. I have to confess, I immediately clicked over to your site from the email when I saw “rottweiler-mix puppies” because I knew there had to be a photo.
AlisonMay 5, 2017 at 1:09 AM
Congrats on your new additions! I have shed tears of sorrow for you and now tears of joy with the news of your new fur babies.
I have two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and an old English Cocker. My big dogs “counter surf”. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a few noses in your photos soon :)
Oh, and I love rye bread too…
TinaMay 5, 2017 at 1:49 AM
Lol, “just check it out” never works. The dude and i would drive by a weekly pet adoption thing every so often and he would never let me “just check it out” cuz then we’re bringing a puppy home. We say that very phrase in that way with the “”..
I have 2 frenchies and they’re not even dogs to me, they’re like these weird human mutants i adopted.
Anyways, long time lurker, first time commenter. :)
AryssMay 5, 2017 at 3:14 AM
I’m not abreast of the situation of dogs. But, I do have two cats. I agree with your ‘motherhood’ blurb. My girl cat can wail with the best of babies, and my boy can pester as only the most talented of toddlers can. They are their own clusters of quirks and affections and I have no control (unfortunately) on which plants they decide can live another day, or which of my furniture pieces will be adorned with ribbons of unhinged fabric. Plus, it’s an added bonus that I get a face full of cat butthole every hour or so. Which toddler story do you know of which boasts of the progeny scooting its but all up in your face – just cuz?
Congratulations on your newest of fur babies. May they be the most annoying, most endearing creatures in your life. I wouldn’t give up my forever toddlers for anything. :)
CathyMay 5, 2017 at 3:33 AM
I have a rescued 6-year old Rottweiler. It’s great to consider yourself their mother, but I’d caution you not to treat them as if they are humans as Rottweilers can get very pushy as they grow if their mom and dad don’t stay the leader of the pack. Nothing mean, just that they must follow your rules. Also, exercise is huge in helping with any unwanted behavior. Two walks of at least a half hour a day if you can manage it. They can be very loyal, very loving dogs, but can also get out of hand quickly if you’re not careful.
Laurie HarrollMay 5, 2017 at 5:48 AM
Mandy, I was wondering when you and Jason would succumb! They are really cute! It is a coincidence that we adopted a Rottie-mix about six months ago, but he is around five years old and has grown out of his puppy ways. He weighs about 80 lbs., and that is small for a Rottweiler! He is the sweetest dog ever and wants constant petting. He is always putting his big nose under my wrist when I am trying to type, and flips it upward. He listens pretty well and even smiles!
Good luck with the training. It is always a surprise when you have puppies again – it is easy to forget how much work they can be. Oh, and we named our dog, Barley! And of course I do consider him and Jade my children. And I love the bread recipe – will definitely try it.
GFYMay 5, 2017 at 11:17 AM
Rye bread thinly sliced. Cool, unsalted butter. Raspberry jam. The best snack while reading a great book. PS: I’ve used an “animal communicator” 3 times to help me understand pet problems. They really do understand dogs, (often all pets) and can successfully solve for x in cases of indoor elimination issues, chair-chewing etc, highly recommended! (Though Avi’s suggestion makes sense too.)
AudreyMay 5, 2017 at 8:32 PM
Congrats on your new babies! And good luck on house training. It took us more than a year (and ruined carpets) with our mini daxie.
Always love your stories and recipes :)
JessieMay 9, 2017 at 1:06 PM
I made this recipe yesterday and had the same issue with the water-content. Totally cake-like center and thought I was crazy! Thanks for the help! The other recipes I’ve made so far in Simple Fare have turned out pretty perfect so I thought it was just me!
ViktorMay 14, 2017 at 5:51 AM
I am in the lookout of the perfect bread, and this looks absolutely deli. My kids will love it!
Jacqueline ChurchMay 15, 2017 at 9:39 AM
Love love love rye (and puppies and dogs. I’m the dog-allergic crazy lady that makes dog biscuits for random dogs I run into out and about) but back to rye.
Could I add some cooked rye berries? I think so? Not a great baker but am determined to improve. Do you grind flour from wheat berries? Preference of mill or attachment?
Thanks just discovered your blog – pinning and planning and swooning.
mandy@ladyandpupsMay 15, 2017 at 11:26 AM
Jacqueline, I’ve never used rye berries or wheat berries. The flours I used was pre-ground rye flour and wheat flour :)
JMMay 29, 2017 at 4:16 PM
Yes and yes and yes. For some reason I harbour this fantasy that when we finally leave the ol 852 this summer (nail biting, knees knocking) and I become “housewife” (at least until I work out how “home” works again) I will suddenly have time to indulge my love of cooking and attempt all of your drool inducing food… with two kids and no longer having a nanny (hey it’s a hk thing!) I think I am firmly in fantasy zone. This may be possible though…possibly.
abid abdullahJune 6, 2017 at 10:59 AM
why add photo dogs at the recipe of bread??
abahadilJune 7, 2017 at 3:18 PM
Verry good picture but why there are pictures of dogs
abahadilJune 7, 2017 at 3:19 PM
Verry good picture but why there are pictures of dogs :D
abahadilJune 7, 2017 at 3:20 PM
Verry good picture :D
abahadilJune 7, 2017 at 3:22 PM
Really cool picture is very clear picture:D
AnaSeptember 11, 2019 at 4:02 PM
nice info sist. I hope can do it soon. Thanks.