I'm getting there…
On Monday evening I decided to try my idea from Part 5, so I set the starter out at bedtime. Tuesday morning I mixed up a 1kg batch of dough using Samartha's recipe again, and put the covered bowl in the dehydrator to rest for 12 hours or so.
Tuesday evening at 7:30 I took out the dough. It didn't look like the volume had increased, but it had become very moist and sticky, basically no hard rye grains remained. It also smelled and tasted good (grainy & sour). So then, following a method in my Oetker cookbook for a whole grain wheat/rye bread, I formed 2 loaves (so to speak; it was extremely sticky dough), and placed them uncovered on a floured baking stone. I put this on the bottom shelf of the oven, with a pan of water on the top shelf (my own idea), and baked 1/2 hour at 225 degrees. Sort of. As I was describing to Al how I would be cutting back the temp to 180 shortly, I realized I'd forgotten to translate the temperature from Celsius! Good grief! Luckily it had baked in a too-cool oven, not the other way around. So I turned the temp up to 450F, where it was supposed to have been from the start, and left it go another 15 minutes (not sure if that's equivalent, but I figured it might be close). Then I turned it down to 350F (per instructions) for 1-1/4 hours.
Here's the end result, showing a whole loaf and a cross-section:
The outer crust is pretty hard, and the bottom 1/4" or so is burnt (probably due to using the bottom shelf as instructed), and it didn't bake long enough to turn deep brown / black… BUT it's definitely edible, and is nice and moist inside, with great chewy grain texture and sourdough taste. It goes very nicely with the English Bitter currently in the beer fridge. Also, the starter seems to be doing very well (also made some pancakes with it Saturday for the kids), so I'm pleased that I was able to create a rye sourdough starter from scratch.
Still not quite to pumpernickel yet, though. I need to find a way to bake it long enough for the Maillard Reaction to take place, without drying out and burning. My next idea (once these loaves are eaten) is to try doing it in the crockpot somehow…
[Though Roz suggests that if I can't get this to work, I could try making whiskey with that 27 pounds of rye :-b …]