This rye bread takes two days to make and relies on Mr. Reinhart's method of making both a stiff soaker and starter dough the night before, then mixing them together the next day for the final rise. The rye percentage is 30%, whole wheat and the sourdough is quite mild.
Add caraway and sautéed onions for a sandwich-type loaf, although the crumb is tighter than an American-style sandwich bread.
Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Overnight rest for dough: 12 hours
Total Time: 16 hours, 30 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf, about 2 pounds
- 1 3/4 c. (230 g.) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. (170 g.) milk
- ***Sourdough Starter***
- 1/3 c. (70 g.) active sourdough culture
- 1 2/3 c. rye flour
- 3/4 c. 170 g. room temperature, filtered water
- ***Final Dough***
- All of the soaker
- All of the starter
- Whole wheat flour as needed
- 5/8 tsp. (5 g.) salt
- 2 1/4 tsp. (7 g.) instant yeast
- 1 1/2 T. (30 g.) molasses
- 2 tsp. (14 g.) honey
Mix all of the soaker ingredients together until a ball can be formed. Wrap in plastic and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Mix all of the starter ingredients together. I used my basic, white-flour sourdough starter which I keep in the refrigerator and had been fed the day before. If you use a rye starter, the loaf will be 50% rye and 50% wheat. I also used medium rye flour (it was in the cupboard) but you can use white or whole grain rye flour for this recipe.
Form the starter into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for 4 - 6 hours, or until it starts to smell pleasantly sour, then place in the refrigerator.
Remove both doughs from the refrigerator two hours before you are ready to mix.
Break both balls into chunks and place both the starter and the soaker pieces in a mixing bowl, sprinkling with a little whole wheat flour to keep them separate. Use a total of 5 to 7 tablespoons of flour. The amount of flour depends on several factors, grind and age of flour are two reasons why it soaks up more or less water, as well as humidity in your area. So watch your dough carefully to achieve a good consistency.
Mix all the ingredients in the final dough together until the dough is uniform. Add more flour or a little water as necessary to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
If you are adding caraway and onions, mix them in here. Add up to 2 teaspoons of whole caraway seed and up to 1 cup of chopped onion, sauteed in butter until transparent.
Dust a board with flour, turn the dough out onto it and knead by hand for several minutes. The dough will be very pliable and still sticky but do not add too much flour or the bread will be dry.
Oil a bowl, form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until 1 1/2 times its size.
Transfer back to a lightly floured board and form into your preferred loaf shape. Place on a piece of parchment paper which I like to sprinkle with cornmeal. If you like a rustic loaf, sprinkle some flour over the top of the loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise again for about an hour or until almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450°F with a baking stone if you have it on the shelf two notches down (middle of the oven). Prepare the oven for steam (although I forgot to do this and it still came out with a nice crust).
Place the risen bread into the oven, directly on the stone if possible. Pour hot water into the bottom pan for the steam and squirt the sides of the oven with a spray bottle of water.
Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the loaf and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the inner temperature of the loaf reaches 190 to 195°F. The crust will turn quite dark.
Let the loaf cool on a rack so that air can reach it from all sides which prevents it from becoming soggy. Let it cool at least an hour before slicing.