Onions and caraway flavor this light rye bread made with white flours. If you leave them out, the deli bread you know from New York becomes a perfect copy of German rye or "Weizenmischbrot." This bread can be used for deli sandwiches or a grilled cheese and is a great accompaniment to hearty soups.
This rye bread takes two days to make. The first day you set up the sourdough sponge and the second day is for mixing and baking. Learn about sourdough starters here.
Makes two, 1 1/2 pound loaves - "Weizenmischbrot" with 30% rye flour.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Overnight sponge plus 2 rises: 12 hours
Total Time: 13 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves
- ***Sponge - 1st Day***
- 1 c. active sourdough starter (80 - 100% hydration*) (200 g.)
- 1 c. white rye flour (125 g.)
- 1/2 c. lukewarm water (115 g.)
- ***Onions (Optional)***
- 1 - 2 onions, chopped (175 - 350 g.)
- 1 - 2 T. vegetable oil (15 - 30 g.)
- ***Final Dough Second Day***
- 3 1/2 c. bread flour (450 g.)
- 1 c. white rye flour (125 g.)
- 2 T. brown sugar (30 g.)
- 2 1/4 tsp. salt (16 g.)
- 2 tsp. instant yeast** (6 g.)
- 1 - 2 tsp. caraway seeds (3 - 6 g.) (optional)
- 2 T. oil (30 g.)
- 1 c. lukewarm milk (225 g.)
- 1/4 c. water (56 g.)
- Cornmeal for dusting
- 1 egg white for the crust
The Sourdough Sponge
Use one cup of active, bubbling sourdough starter and mix with one cup of white rye flour and a half cup of lukewarm water. Cover and let it sit for several hours until bubbles form on the surface, then refrigerate. If the starter is slow, leave it on the counter overnight at room temperature.
If you have a refrigerated starter, you will need to take the starter out of the refrigerator a day or two before you plan on making the sponge. Depending on how long the starter has been dormant in the back of the refrigerator, several daily feedings may be necessary to reactivate the sourdough.
I once left the starter without feeding it for 9 months. After feeding it, I waited two days for bubbles, then fed it twice more before I saw significant activity. Keep this in mind when you want to bake sourdough bread, as it is not a spur of the moment activity.
The Rye Sourdough
Remove the sponge you set up the day before from the refrigerator to take off the chill.
(Optional) Chop the onions and "sweat" them in a pan heated with 1 - 2 tablespoons of oil. Do not let them brown but cook them until they become translucent. Cool to room temperature .
Measure and add all the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Add all of the sponge, the oil, milk and water and mix until a stiff, but sticky dough is formed. You may need to add a bit more water if the dough is crumbly instead of smooth.
Let it rest a few minutes, add the cooked onions (optional), then knead by machine or by hand for about 5 minutes, adding a little flour to create a smooth ball that is just slightly sticky.
Form into a ball. Pour a little oil in a bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature, until doubled in bulk.
Remove the dough and place on a floured surface. Divide into two equal parts (you could also make several smaller loaves or rolls). Form each half into a smooth, oval loaf. You can also place the dough in a loaf pan.
Place the loaves on a cornmeal strewn cookie sheet. Use parchment paper if you wish.
Let rise about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature, until doubled in size.
Bake the Sourdough Rye in a Moderate Oven
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Whisk the egg white until foamy. Brush onto loaf.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Internal temperature should be about 190°F.
Transfer to a cake rack, so the crust does not get soggy and cool for 1 - 2 hours before slicing.
*Hydration levels refer to how much water is added to the flour. 100% hydration would be 100 grams of flour plus 100 grams of water (about 13 tablespoons flour plus 7 tablespoons water). Because we do not always keep track of hydration in sourdough starters at home, you may need to adjust the final dough by adding a tablespoon or two of flour or water.
**Instant yeast is a kind of yeast which can be added directly to the dry ingredients. If you do not have instant, use regular, dry yeast and rehydrate it in some of the liquid before adding to the flour. If you have cake yeast, dissolve it in some of the liquid as well.