Also at the natural foods store, I ran across rolled rye flakes. I have rye flour and was thinking of making rye bread. How about if I do an overnight soaker of some rye flakes and incorporate in the dough? Anyone tried this?
I have not tried this. I am not familiar with rolled rye flakes. BUT I sure would love to know how this turns out for you. Could they also be used as a rough dust or light topping on your rye loaves, perhaps stuck to the loaves with the aid of an egg wash?
Good idea to soak. I don't know if this has been scientifically proven, but I have heard it said that uncooked grains such as bulgar are like shards that cut the gluten strands in yeast breads. It makes a lot of sense. I have found from experience that soaking barley flakes produces a better crumb and overall, a nicer loaf. i would guess that the same would hold true for rye. Do let us know, please!! ;o)
Oatmeal, barley flakes, rye flakes -- they should all behave about the same, if they are whole. Quick cooking or instant are wimps, comparatively.
I wonder if they resemble oat bran or rolled oats. If like oat or wheat bran in size and texture, it's almost like you're just making whole rye flour (I used to purchase wheat bran and add it to white flour when whole wheat was unavailable where I was living). Treat the bread as whole-grain bread, don't over-do the flakes or you will encounter very dense bread due to the cutting action on the gluten strands. You could do the bread as an overnight sponge-method loaf if your heart is set on soaking. I'd say to mix the dry rye flour and flakes until it looks like the color and texture of a 3:1 white to whole wheat flour mixture (so...tan in color). Then treat it like regular flour in an overnight sponge bread. This recipe has the technique (ryes need less time to form a sponge or preferment than regular wheats): http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2009/03/16/they-took-a-licking/. I'm glad you asked this question because now I really want to try this recipe!
If what you have are larger, like rolled oats, I've used them to make my homemade granolas more multi-grain and interesting. Just like rolled oats.
Update on the rye flakes situation: I actually found a recipe in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads that called for a starter made of rye flour, water, yeast and rye flakes, to be combined sometime after 6 hours' worth of fermenting (I gave it about 36) with sprouted rye berries (I had none, so used spelt; next time I won't bother) in a Triple Rye Bread. And then I got all creative, rolled the dough out thin, and wrapped it around a filling of pastrami and swiss cheese, with some spicy brown mustard. I'm happy to report it was some excellent rye bread. I did add some caraway seeds to the starter, just because it seems to me rye needs caraway. Well worth the morning's effort!
The rye loaf with pastrami looks amazing!
I wanted to add my experience with rye flakes. I've tried grinding them in the food processor to make my own coarse flour, then using that in muffins and scones. I do this with rolled oats all the time, but it does not work with with the rye flakes. They end up being very hard within the final baked product - they're a much harder grain than oats, and so grinding in the food processor doesn't make them soft/fine enough to just bake with. I'm thinking soaking them would help, but I haven't tried that yet.
Gorgeous loaf, kayb. Yes, adding rye flakes to a soaker is a great idea. As AntoniaJames suggests, whole grains do indeed tend to act as tiny scissors, cutting the lovely long strands of gluten into smaller sections, hence a flatter bread. Rye flakes, like bulgur wheat, like barley flakes, add wonderful protein compliments and texture to breads. Plus, rye ferments spectacularly.