Saturday, July 24, 2010

Caraway Rye Bread

For quite a while now, my bread choice has been whole wheat pita bread. I make a batch, 8 pitas, about once a week. I also keep a loaf of sprouted whole grain bread in the freezer for wild moments when a piece of toast begs to be made.

Recently, I've had a yen for caraway-rye bread. It's been years since I've attempted a rye, pumpernickel or heavy peasant bread, the type of bread that requires making a starter the night before, then fussing about dough temperature, weight of the flour, etc. I figured there had to be an easier way to produce a nice loaf of finely textured, full flavored bread.

With a little tweaking, a King Arthur Flour recipe that I've had since the early 90's, turned out a fine loaf. Quick to come together, with simple ingredients, mixer kneaded, two rises, and lo and behold—a fine treat resulted.

Caraway Rye Bread
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
1 1/2 cups whole grain organic rye flour (Arrowhead Mills)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

Whisk together the yeast, flours, salt and sugar, add oil and water and mix until well-combined. Knead the dough. In a machine with a dough hook for about 10 minutes, by hand, knead on a lightly oiled work surface for 10 - 15 minutes or until the dough is very smooth and supple.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise for about and hour or until it has doubled in bulk.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it. I made an oval to fit an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise again until it has doubled in bulk and is puffy, about 45 minutes to one hour.

Bake the bread in a preheated 375° oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until it's golden brown and the interior registers 190° on an instant read thermometer.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Hint: for an extra-crusty loaf, remove the loaf from the pan, then return it to the oven. Turn the oven off, crack the door open about one inch, and allow the bread to cool completely in the oven.

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