A pleasant rye bread of good texture and interesting flavor. It is rather difficult to make but worth the trouble. This recipe makes two loaves in 8½ × 4½ × 2½-inch pans; or if the dough seems firm enough, it can be baked in one or two free-form loaves, in which case I would suggest letting the formed loaves rise and then very carefully inverting them (right onto hot tiles, if you have them) just before they are baked. This gives a better finished loaf.
2 free-form or regular loaves
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Recipe Courseside dish, snack
Dietary Considerationside dish, snack
Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner, lunch, snack, tea
Taste and Texturechewy, sweet
Type of Dishyeast bread
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoona honey
- ¼ cup warm water (100° to 115°, approximately)
- 1 cup warm milk combined with ½ cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 heaping tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 2½ cups rye flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly with 2 tablespoons water
Dissolve the yeast and honey in the warm water, and allow the mixture to proof for 4 or 5 minutes. Combine the warm milk and hot water with the softened butter and add to the yeast mixture along with the salt and caraway seeds. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When you have added about 4½ cups the dough will become difficult to stir and will be quite sticky, but continue to add the remaining flour a tablespoon at a time. Scrape out the dough onto a floured board, and using a baker’s scraper or a large metal spatula, scrape under the dough and flour and fold the dough over. Continue to lift and fold, and with your free hand start pressing down and away from you on these folded areas, adding more flour as needed to dust your hands and to sprinkle the board. After 2 or 3 minutes of this procedure you can eliminate the scraper. Flour both hands and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is soft, velvety, and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well-buttered bowl, turning to coat with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area to double in bulk, which will take from 1 to 2 hours. Punch down, turn out on a lightly floured board, and divide into two equal pieces. Let the dough rest 2 or 3 minutes, and then shape into two loaves, either free form or for well-buttered 8× 4× 2-inch loaf pans. If you are making free-form loaves allow them to rise, covered, on a buttered baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal until almost doubled in size, and then quickly invert them and brush with the egg white and water mixture. Otherwise, let the loaves rise, covered, in their pans until they have doubled in bulk and then brush the tops with the egg white and water mixture. Bake at 400° from 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped with the knuckles. Cool thoroughly on racks before slicing.
1973 James A. Beard