Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cayuga Pure Organics and The Rye Bread Story

Cayuga Pure Organics – Locally Grown Dried Beans & Grains from New York’s Finger Lakes Region

It all started for me – the love affair with Cayuga Pure Organics, that is – after reading Florence Fabricant’s New York Times’ sweet spotlight on the revived grain growing in upstate New York.

(Well, maybe part of the love was joyfully recollecting my father crooning his beloved alma mater Cornell University's school song, "... Far Above Cayuga's Waters...")  

Florence wrote:  “Packaged under the Farmer Ground Flour label, the flours are sold in paper sacks in Greenmarkets by Cayuga Pure Organics, a participant in the cooperative. The flours are fresh, and have not sat for months in warehouses.”

My husband loves rye bread. 
I make bread every other Saturday morning and couldn’t wait to try out this fresh, pure rye flour. 

I visited Cayuga’s Pure Organics at New York’s Greenmarket in Union Square to purchase my rye flour.  

In telling my rye bread story, and looking over their whole grain recipe and beans and… I was told Cayuga didn’t have a rye bread recipe and they’d be happy to share my recipe at their booth.

I was on it.

That Friday, Cayuga’s unassuming brown paper bag with the rye flour peering back at me from the bag’s window, made the ferry trip back with me to the Garden State and our cooking kitchen there. (In contrast to here in Gotham, where we prefer to enjoy all the great restaurants and don’t cook in the kitchen J)

On the way, I got to thinking that I wanted a more special, perhaps more deserving bread recipe than my usual.  Coincidently, there was a multi grain bread-baking article in Martha Stewart Living’s recent Martha Stewart Living Magazine. (This was turning into a trend, I thought...)

It looked interesting. But then it hit me – I’ll ask my Hamptons sherpa Peter Garnham, Hamptons master gardener at the East End Community Organic Farm, writer, The American Hotel’s Ted Conklin’s garden consultant and bread baker extraordinaire, for his recipe. 


I considered all the recipes, and then massaged them slightly to make the best rye bread ever.
I wanted to call it, “Peter’s Pain” as the recipe is, by and large, Peter’s. 
And Pain is French for bread, if you don’t know... and pain, sounds like pan.
Peter Pan!  How perfect, I thought. 
The name captured the fairy tale and alchemy essence of the bread-baking miracle.

I wrote to Peter to share my excitement about the bread recipe results and my brilliant moniker.  You can imagine how crestfallen I was then when he wrote his pithy response, noting that he had indeed sometimes been referred to as a P-A-I-N. 

I hadn’t considered how it would read. 
Back to the drawing board.

Then, over oysters at Fish Restaurant in the Village with my friend, Beth, I was recounting my failed attempt at naming the bread recipe – and she came up with a brilliant solution. Beth speaks Spanish and therefore recommended the Spanish word for bread: Pan!

We were back to the magic of Peter Pan!

I made up index cards with the “Peter’s Pan” Rye Bread recipe and took it to the Cayuga Pure Organics booth at Greenmarket – along with the bread sample. 

Here are Cayuga’s Ted -- Lauren had just stepped away:

(While there, I had to buy some spelt. I found a really good recipe I want to try out.  Stay tuned.)

Without further delay, here is Peter’s Pan Rye Bread Recipe:

Peter’s Pan
4½  cups bread flour
¼ +  cup brown sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
2 TB caraway seed
1½  tsp salt

2 cups warm water
2 TB vegetable oil
2+ cups rye flour
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the K-paddle, combine 2 cups flour,
sugar, yeast, caraway seed, and salt. Add warm water and oil, beat for 2
minutes at medium speed. Add ½ cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed.
Scrape bowl as needed.

Stir in rye flour and enough remaining bread flour to make a soft dough.
Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Adjust moisture if
necessary. Cover and let dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Shape each piece into a boule, or place in bread pans.
Place boules on parchment-lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover with
plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Slash the tops, and brush with egg mixture. Bake at 400°F for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool on wire rack.

Yield: 2 loaves   

Let me know what you think!

See Cayuga Pure Organics to learn more about their dry beans, grains, corn, and soy.