Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Medium Rye Bread with Caraway

Sometimes rye bread is just what you need.

Around here, there aren't many options when it comes to rye flour. About all I can find is one brand of stoneground rye, so I usually order just order from King Arthur Flour, where I can get a larger variety of ryes.

This recipe would probably work just as well with any type of rye, but obviously the result would be different.

Since rye doesn't have the gluten needed to make a loaf of bread, bread flour plays that role here. But even with the bread flour, rye breads can be a little tricky for new bakers, because it stays a bit sticky, even when it's done being kneaded. So the tendency is to want to add more and more flour, but then it just turns into a dense loaf.

A properly kneaded rye dough will be a little sticky, but it will also be elastic enough stretch nicely.

Medium Rye with Caraway

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (one package)
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 cup medium rye flour
1 tablespoon Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine water, yeast and sugar and let it sit until it's bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add rye flour and yogurt, and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit until it's nice and bubbly and has risen in the bowl, about 20 minutes.

Uncover the bowl and attach the bowl to stand mixer. Add bread flour and and salt and knead until the dough comes together and is starting to get stretchy. Add caraway seeds and olive oil and continue to knead until the dough is elastic. It will probably be a little more sticky than a comparable white dough, but you should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands.

Form the dough into a ball, put it back into the bowl (or a clean one) drizzle with a little olive oil to coat it, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise until it has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.

When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and form it into a nice tight round ball and put it on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let it rise again until it is doubled in size.

Slash the dough and bake until it's nicely browned, about 40 minutes.