Toxo Bread, formerly known as Deli-Style Rye

Welcome to my blog! I’m a microbiology and molecular genetics graduate student who also happens to like cooking food. Studying cell biology and molecular parasitology is fun but you can’t eat your experiments after you’re finished, unlike cooking (well, most of what I make anyway). The posts may not always be pretty but I’m happy to share my culinary adventures with you, and hope you will enjoy reading about them.

For my very first entry, I’d like to introduce to you what is affectionately called “Toxo Bread.”

Toxo Bread I - 01

Mmm… Toxo Bread

…what’s Toxo Bread? (No, it’s not Toxic Bread.)

It all started when I got a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. As my friends and I were flipping through some gorgeous colour photographs in the middle of the book, one of my friends suddenly stopped at the Deli-Style Rye and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, it’s Toxo Bread!” The caraway seeds on the loaf of rye had an uncanny resemblance to Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites, and so Toxo[plasma] Bread was born.

What the heck is Toxoplasma gondii? Wikipedia or Google it. Better yet, click here.

Toxo Bread I - 02

Toxo Bread

(Formerly known as Deli-Style Rye)

Recipe: from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, p. 58. You can also view it here, as posted on The Fresh Loaf.

The first loaf of Toxo Bread was made from Day 3 dough, shaped as an elongated loaf and left to rise overnight in the refrigerator. It was baked at 450F with steam for the first 10 minutes + 22 minutes without steam. It had a nice, open crumb like so:

I brought the loaf in to the lab the next day and wish I had taken a photo of what happened. When my PI and I finished our meeting and came out of his office, it was like stumbling on a [food] murder scene: caraway seeds scattered all over the counter, a used knife (!) and a crumpled Post-It note that read, “Toxo Bread! a.k.a. Deli-Style Rye – help yourselves.” There were no crumbs left. That’s right – no crumbs.

Toxo Bread II

Toxo Bread II - 01

Toxo Bread encore une fois

That night I baked another loaf of Toxo Bread, but shaped as a boule (free-form round loaf) this time. Now that I’ve actually had the chance to taste it, I think it was good but could use a higher proportion of rye flour and the addition of whole wheat flour. Maybe that would make it more rye-ish? There’s definitely a long way to go before I beat Klinger’s rye haha.

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3 Responses to “Toxo Bread, formerly known as Deli-Style Rye”

  1. em Says:

    Gorgeous loaves, Jackie! And yay, Toxobread is officially born 🙂
    I wish you had taken a picture of that (food) murder scene, too – what a Kodak moment, eh? Oh well. Maybe the next loaf you bring in to the lab will be ‘murdered’ similarly, too?

    Oh how morbid! haha.

    Congrats on the new blog, and I will definitely visit frequently! lol. Even though I usually hear things from you first-hand… but no matter!

  2. colloquial cook Says:

    Hi Jackie – I’m very intrigued by you leaving the dough rising in the fridge overnight after shaping it – did you let it return to room temp before you baked it, or did you put it straight in the oven? If you have time, I’d love to hear from you! Thanks a lot!

  3. toxobread Says:

    Hi Colloquial Cook,

    I took the shaped dough out of the refrigerator for about 30 min, while my oven was preheating. The reason that I did this was because I was afraid something bad would happen if I dropped a very cold lump of dough into a preheated 450F Pyrex bowl (that’s how I bake “with steam”).

    After some reading on The Fresh Loaf ( I think the best answer to your question can be found here:

    So… the bottom line is that it may depend on what type of bread you’re baking, but your best bet would be to let the loaf warm up for a bit first before putting it in the oven. I hope this helps!

    Thanks for dropping by, and all the best in your baking – do let me know how it goes. 🙂


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