Those of you who know me or follow Chew Wanna Eat? know that I am a seasoned bread baker. I do it all; knead, use my bad boy mixer, and also make the no-knead breads. Why, oh why, couldn’t I make a great rye bread? Rye is my very favorite and I’ve tried recipe after recipe and none of them were what I wanted. I wanted a delicious bread, one that we could also make sandwiches out of. I simply couldn’t find a recipe that I liked. I had to put my thinking cap on, and do it my own way. It worked! I finally have a good rye bread recipe. Here’s what I did:
I started with a sponge. Rye bread takes longer to rise, so I decided it needed a sponge.
2 tsp dry malt (diastatic powder)
2 ¾ cups water, at room temperature
1 ½ tsp instant yeast
2 TBSP honey
3 cups (15 oz) bread flour
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
2 ¼ cups rye flour
1 ¼ cup dark rye flour
2 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp Fennel (optional)
2 tsp dried minced onion (optional)
1 egg white, beaten with 1 TBSP milk
Mix water, yeast, honey, diastatic powder, and flour in heavy-duty mixer bowl. Using standard blade, beat only until everything is combined. You’ll end up with a wet mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at least 4 hours. Longer is better. I left mine on the counter for a little over 7 hours. You can let it sit over night. The mixture will rise quite a bit and lots of bubbles will form on the surface. This is good. Don’t stir.
To the Sponge, add 1 ½ cups AP flour, 2 ¼ cups rye flour, and 3/4 cup dark rye flour. (Hold off on the remaining 1/2 cup dark rye flour. I’ve learned that you will end up using just what the recipe calls for and not end up with an overly wet dough to which you have to sneak in more flour.) Also add caraway seeds, oil, salt, and fennel. Fit your mixer with the dough blade now and mix well on low speed. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then add the remaining 1/2 cup dark rye flour. Beat about five minutes, until dough becomes cohesive and smooth. Note that this dough is not a light fluffy dough like a white bread. It is dense and much heavier.
I moistened my hands because the dough is sticky at this point, and transferred dough to a floured counter. Form dough into a smooth compressed ball. Grease the same mixer bowl with a bit of olive oil and place dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 ¼ hours to 2 hours.
At this point, put the dough into a large prepared bread pan. I have a wonderful German brotform pan by Kaiser that holds a lot of dough. I did make a small sub roll for Bob, which you will see pictured. You can also roll the dough into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle, and then roll it up. Pinch the seams to seal. Place the dough seam side down on a prepared baking sheet, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap, and let it rise one more time. It should take up to 75 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Beat egg white with milk, and brush over sides and top of loaf. Make ½” deep slashes on top of loaf with a serrated knife, lame, or scissors. If you spray your tool with cooking spray, it won’t drag on the dough.) Bake loaf for 15 minutes, then lower oven to 400° F. Bake until deep golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should register 200° F. It took a good 25 minutes. The sub roll, of course, took less time.