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Norwegian Rye Bread

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Rye flour is somewhat hard to work because it makes a very sticky dough, but rye bread fanciers will find the extra effort worthwhile. This recipe produces a fine-grained bread that is smooth and light in color. Cardamom gives it an interesting, slightly exotic taste. Try a slice topped with cream cheese and your favorite jam.

2 medium loaves

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Type of Dishbread, yeast bread

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
  • 2½ cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Scant teaspoon powdered cardamom
  • 3½ cups unbleached white flour
  • 2-3 cups rye flour
  • 1 egg white plus
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornmeal for pans

Instructions

  1. Place the yeast, water, sugar, milk powder, oil, wheat germ, salt, and cardamom in a dishpan or large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the white flour and beat with the spoon for 3 minutes.

  2. Add 2 cups of rye flour, then squeeze the mixture with your hands until the flour disappears. If it is too wet to pick up, add a little more flour. As soon as you can handle the dough, sprinkle with a bit more flour and begin to knead directly in the bowl (or on a floured board), adding flour as necessary. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.

  3. Spread a little oil on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the ball of dough, then turn it over, oiled side up. Cover and set in a warm spot for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in bulk. Thoroughly grease (with oil or butter) two 8-inch round cake pans or pie tins and set aside.

  4. Punch down the risen dough and form into a ball. Cut in half, and shape each half into a round that is higher in the center than on the sides (do this by placing the palms of your hands on opposite sides of the dough and slapping it down on the counter while turning repeatedly). Place in the prepared pans. Leave the tops as they are for a rugged look, or smooth them with a little cold water. Cover the loaves and let rise about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

  5. Cut a ½-inch-deep cross on the top of each risen loaf (or 5 or 6 short slashes in a circle, like flower petals). In a small bowl, beat together the egg white and cold water; using a pastry brush or your fingers, brush some on each loaf. Place in a preheated 400°F oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the loaves are browned and hollow-sounding when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

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