Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This may be the best rye bread ever!

Over on Serious Eats, I have a column called Knead the Book, where I make five bread recipes from a cookbook, and I write about it.

One thing I learned pretty quickly is that there aren't a whole lot of bread-only books being published these days. I thought it would be easy to find a new book once a month. But no, there aren't that many of them being published.


So when I don't have any bread-only books, I'm using other cookbooks that have a good number of bread recipes. And I'm also going back into history for some older bread books.

This is really a fun column to work on, and it's a blast pick to the bread recipes that will be published. I try for a good mix of varieties of breads, and I try to find at least one that people will think is unusual.

Rye bread isn't all that unusual, but this one has a few ingredients that you might not immediately think of. First, there's sauerkraut. Then, mustard seeds and dried onion. And finally, pickle juice. Yep, there's pickle juice in this bread. And it's one of the best rye bread recipes I've come across in a looooong time.

Oh! You want to know about the book? It's King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking. Highly recommended.

Sauerkraut-Rye Bread
From King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

1 can (8 ounces) sauerkraut, drained and wrung dry, juice discarded (about 5 ounces sauerkraut, drained; about 1 1/3 cups, very lightly packed
2/3 cups (5 3/8 ounces) lukewarm water
1/4 cup (2 ounces) dill pickle juice or sour pickle juice
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups (5 ounces) whole rye (pumpernickel) flour
1 cup (4 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached bread flour
Heaping 1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces) dried potato flakes or 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) potato flour
2 tablespoons (5/8 ounce) vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Combine the sauerkraut, water, and pickle juice in a blender or food processor, and process until the kraut is finely chopped.

Combine the chopped sauerkraut and its liquid with the remaining ingredients, stirring vigorously to make a crumbly mixture; it won’t hold together.

Allow the mixture to rest, covered, for 45 minutes; this will give the flour a chance to absorb some of the sauerkraut’s liquid.

After the dough’s resting period, knead it – by hand, mixer or bread machine – until you have a cohesive, very stiff dough. This dough won’t be very elastic; that’s OK. Let the dough rise in a lightly greased bowl for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it won’t rise much at all.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled or lightly floured surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in the prepared pan, cover the pan with a proof cover or greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise till it’s crested about 1 inch over the edge of the pan. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Be aware that this bread has very little oven spring, so what you see when you put it in the oven is pretty much what you’ll get coming out of the oven.

During the last part of the rise, preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Uncover and bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with foil an bake until its internal temperature registers 190˚F on an instant-read thermometer, 25 minutes more.

Remove it from the oven, and after a minute or so turn it out onto a rack. Cool the bread for 30 minutes before slicing.

So.... have you ever had a bread made with sauerkraut and pickle juice?

This has been submitted to YeastSpotting.