All this experimenting with food is getting expensive. I was at the grocery store again this morning buying some varieties of vegetables to grill over the fire this evening, and a big hunk of meat to slice up for a batch of beef jerky, so of course I stumbled by the baking aisle and found another locally milled flour to scratch my local flour sourdough dabblers itch.
Until this morning I had not ever heard of Peace Country Milling & Grains but anyone who lives in this area knows that the “Peace Country” is a huge swath of land up in the North West of the province named for the Peace River that runs roughly transversely eastbound through that area. The largest city in the area is named Grand Prairie and is familiar to us because a my wife traces some of her paternal ancestry to a couple generations of relatives who immigrated to, settled in and farmed upon that area. Many a five-hour drives did we used to make for visits while there was still enough of her kin there to justify the multi-day trip.
This particular mill seems to be hunkered just fifty kilometers outside of Grand Prairie in an area even those of us who live pretty much in the middle of nowhere would consider remote and pretty much the middle of nowhere.
I bought a bag of their rye flour. Rye is a variety of wheat that tends to have a darker colour, nuttier taste, and a lower gluten content resulting in a bread that is darker, more substantially flavoured, and denser from a weaker rise.
I’d been experimenting with a more commercial variety of rye flour over the winter months and pushing my sourdough percentages past more than about 25% rye flour turned the final product into a bit of a poundcake.
So, with this local flour I started with a generous, but still cautious, twenty percent rye to eighty percent white blend and then otherwise followed my standard go-to sourdough process.
The dough is hydrated and resting for an overnight rise in the fridge even as I write this.
Rye bread has always had a bit a special space in my heart, though. I’d be the first in line for a good Reuben sandwhich if we lived near a good deli, and in fact the day after I ran the New York Marathon in 2016 we hiked over to Katz’s Deli in Manhattan, not an insignificant distance from our hotel the day after running forty-two kilometers (and much, much farther from Grand Prairie where my bag of rye flour originated) and ordered a thick pastrami sandwhich piled high on a couple slices of rye bread.
What a connection!
And maybe I’ll hunt down that photo and continue the story in part two, after my own rye is baked and tasted.