No-Knead Caraway Rye Bread
I love bread. Growing up, we made bread every week. I never had those bread-like fluffy loaf products (sorry Wonderbread) in my lunch box, and I still do not. I still make bread almost weekly, and when I cannot, I buy bread from a local bakery. But there is nothing quite like the smell of rising and baking bread, and the toothsome satisfaction of eating a freshly cut slice.
My favorite kind of bread is rye. Growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, rye bread was ubiquitous. With a high concentration of people from German and Polish heritages, it makes since why rye bread is a staple in restaurant bread baskets in this city. Most rye breads, including my recipe below, are actually "maslin" breads: a blend of rye and wheat flours. All-rye breads tend to be dense and do not rise well because rye has less available gluten. The addition of wheat flour greatly helps to produce a well-risen loaf with a beautiful interior texture.
I have tried many, many rye bread recipes, and the one I have below is my ideal. I developed it from Jim Lahey's 2009 book My Bread*; his recipe got very close to what I like in my rye bread. My Bread* is an excellent book, and if you are interested in bread-making, I strongly suggest you buy this book or check it out from you local library. Lahey shows how the home baker can make bread that will rival any professional bakery. The secret is using a dutch-oven inside your regular oven to create a micro-climate for baking. Plus, his no-knead method is a time saver (although it does require a little planning because of the 8-12 hour rise time). It is completely realistic to make a few loaves each week.
When I bake bread, I do not weigh my flour, although I know that is the preferred method. I find that it takes more time and dirties up more dishes. I use the scoop-and-level method for measuring flour, and I adjust my liquids so I get the right texture. Its easy, but you might need to make a few loaves to get the liquid level just right.
Caraway Rye Bread
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (I prefer King-Arthur organic)
1 cup dark rye flour (I prefer Bob's Red Mill organic)
1/3 tsp bread yeast (Do not use quick-rise yeast. I know this seems like not enough yeast, but with the long rise-time, it is.)
1 tsp Kosher salt (I use Diamond salt. If you use another type, please adjust the amount.)
1 TBS whole caraway seeds
1 1/4 to 2 cups room-temperature water
1. Combine all-purpose flour, dark rye flour, yeast, salt and caraway into a medium mixing bowl. Stir to distribute all ingredients.
2. Add at least 1 1/4 cup water, and start to stir with a wood spoon, spatula, or your hands. Have additional water ready. As the dough starts to come together, you will see if it needs more water. It should come together in a shaggy mass like the image below. It should not be too liquidy, nor too stiff. It will not, however, look smooth like a traditional bread dough. But don't worry, it will. We are using time to develop the gluten strands instead of all that kneading.
3. Once it looks like the image above, gather it into a loose ball, and place back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a damp towel, or a bees-wax bowl cover, and set out of the way for 8 to 12 hours. In the summer, this dough raises quickly, in the winter it takes a little longer. I would not recommend it going longer than 14 hours, however. You will know it is ready when it has almost doubled in size and you can roll it into a smooth ball.
4. When risen, turn out onto a well-floured surface. Give it a few turns, and gather into a ball. Cover with a floured tea towel, and let rest for 30 min to an hour (depending on how warm your kitchen is.)
5. Put your dutch oven with cover (I use a Le Creuset 6.75 quart oval, but any about that size will work.) into the oven and pre-heat to 475 degrees F.
6. When your oven has pre-heated, open the oven and dutch-oven, add a little flour or cornmeal to the bottom of the dutch-oven, and quickly add in your ball of dough. I use a dough scraper to help with this. Replace the lid on your dutch-oven and bake for 30 min.
7. After 30 min. remove the lid from your dutch-oven and continue to bake for 15 to 20 min.
8. Remove the bread from the dutch-oven and allow to cool on a rack before slicing. Because of the high-temperate of the oven, your bread will "sing" - creak and crack while cooling. In my opinion, this is one of the best sounds in the world.
If you try out this recipe, I would love to hear how it went for you! Please leave your comments below, or on social media.
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