Homemade Deli Rye Bread
From Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Rest time: minimum…2 hours on the counter or (and my favorite way) up to 14 days in a lidded but not air tight container in the fridge.
Shaping and second rising: 40 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 (1lb/450g) loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 ½ tbsp granulated yeast (I used the one for the bread machine, because … that’s what I had)
1 ½ tbsp caraway seeds (plus more for sprinkling on top before baking)
1 ½ tbsp salt
1 cup rye flour
5 ½ cups all purpose flour
Cornmeal for the pizza peel
Cornstarch wash (see bottom of post)
To mix & store the dough: I used my KitchenAid with dough hook attachment but you can use a 14 cup capacity food processor or a 5 litre/5 quart bowl and a wooden spoon. No kneading required!
1. Mix the yeast, caraway seeds and salt with the water in the (stand mixer) bowl.
2. Mix in the flour at once just until the batter is evenly mixed. No kneading required! It only takes a few minutes in the mixer, slightly longer by hand. Wet your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour and to transfer the dough to a large bowl that has a cover – not air tight, though.
3. Cover (not air tight) and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses – about 2 hours (you can bake the bread from this state) or let it “rest” in the fridge for up to 14 days.
Baking the bread:
1. Dust the surface of the refrigerated (or counter top) dough with flour and cut off a 1 lb piece (they say the size of a grapefruit, but if the recipe makes 4 loaves…I say just cut off a quarter of the dough in the container), recover and place back in the fridge for next time.
2. Quickly (no more than a minute) shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball quarter turns as you go. Elongate the dough into an oval shape. Allow it to rise on a cornmeal covered pizza peel for 40 minutes.
Alternative for a caraway swirl rye:
After shaping the dough into a ball, use your hands and a rolling pin to flatten the ball into a ½” thick oval – avoid using extra flour or it might remain as the dry deposit in the caraway swirl.
Sprinkle the dough evenly with 2 tbsp caraway seeds. Roll up the dough from the short end like a jelly roll, forming a cylindrical loaf. Pinch ends closed. If you’re using this variation, allow the dough to rise for 1 hour 20 minutes before baking.
Alternative for Onion rye:
Caramelize 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced. Instead of sprinkling caraway seeds as for the swirl rye, spread the caramelized onion and continue to roll as above.
3. If I cover the pizza peel with parchment paper, I find the dough maintains its oval shape better. Otherwise mine sticks and some strange shapes hit the pizza peel. Still tastes great, but….
4. 30 minutes before baking time, place a baking stone (I use my pizza stone) in the center of the oven and an empty tin broil or cake pan on the lowest shelf.
For all versions of rye bread, preheat the oven to 450°F/220°C (hottest setting without broil). Bake at this temperature as well.
5. Just before baking, paint the top crust with cornstarch wash (see below) and then sprinkle with additional caraway seeds. Slash with deep parallel cuts across the top of the loaf, using a serrated bread knife.
6. Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the empty pan and quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam in. Bake for about 30 minutes. The loaf should be dark golden brown and firm.
7. Allow it to cool before slicing.
Cornstarch wash: Blend ½ tsp cornstarch in a small amount of water to form a paste. Add ½ cup of water and whisk with a fork. Microwave or boil until the mixture appears glassy (30-60 seconds on high in the microwave). It will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.