Friday, February 06, 2009

Scandinavian Light Rye

Scandinavian Light Rye Bread
Adapted from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

Don't let the name fool you...the "light" just means color. The bread is dense and rich and delicious.

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Bread machine just for kneading the dough: 1½ hours
Second rising: 40-60 minutes
Baking time: 25-30 minutes (or until bread sounds hollow when you tap it with your knuckles)
Ingredients: It’s important that the ingredients are added to the machine in the following order:
1 1/8 cup water (room temperature)
1 ½ tbsp canola oil
1 7/8 cups bread flour
1 1/8 cup rye flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp gluten
1 ½ tbsp caraway seeds
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp bread machine yeast ( or 2 ½ tsp SAF yeast)
Coarse corn meal to sprinkle on the baking sheet

1. Place all the ingredients in a bread maker in the order given and set to “dough”.

2. Once the dough cycle is finished, remove dough from the bread machine, shape into a loaf (this dough is quite dry, so you don’t even need to dump it onto a floured surface before shaping). Then either:
a) place it on a pizza paddle, sprinkled with coarse corn meal, close to the edge of the paddle furthest from the handle, cover
b) place the shaped dough on a prepared baking sheet (parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal. Note: if you only have rimmed baking sheets, use the underside, so the prepared loaf can just slide onto the pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you still want to have a heated baking sheet in the oven – see step 4).

3. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise until double (about 40-60 minutes), preferably in a warm, dry place away from drafts. It’s cold and drafty in my kitchen (open plan great rooms are lovely usually, but not for finding warm places for dough to rise) so I preheat the oven to 200°F/90°C (lowest setting) and as soon as it’s at that temperature I turn the oven off, leave the door open for a minute or two, add the covered loaf , close the door and let it sit until it doubles.
REMOVE THE BREAD FROM THE OVEN after 20 minutes (the entire resting process could take place on a dry draft free surface).

4. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. For really crispy crusts like breads from a bakery, place a baking stone (if you have one – I use a pizza stone) set in the middle of the oven. Allow the pizza stone to heat through – 20-30 minutes. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you only need to preheat the oven for 10-15 minutes. I would place an unrimmed baking sheet (or rimmed baking sheet upside down) in the oven. Score the top of the loaf with a serrated knife 3 times diagonally (that means just lightly cut into the top of the dough). Cuts should be no deeper than ¼” . Do this quickly and don’t worry that the loaf will still fall slightly, it will rise again in the oven.

5. To bake the bread, I just use a dough scraper to help ease the loaf onto the pizza stone in the oven without losing its shape. If you don’t have a pizza paddle, slide the loaf on the parchment directly onto the heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when you knock it.

Last great tip…if you want the crust crunchy, place 1 cup of very hot water in a shallow pan in the oven somewhere not in the way of the bread rising and quickly shut the door. This step was counter intuitive for me – adding steam to make something crunchy…but it really works.

6. Once the bread is ready, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before slicing- hard to be patient, it smells so good.

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