I never particularly liked rye bread growing up. Rye bread tends to be dry, and coarse. Even with spreads in between, the bitter aftertaste still lingered in my mouth. Plus it had way too much caraway seeds in them. Once I was introduced to Russian black bread, I decided to perfect the rye bread through various experimentations. Not only does this revised rye bread recipe produce soft and light bread, but it has a sweetness to it as well. As a self-proclaimed enthusiastic and reputable bread baker, baking rye bread was quite an achievement for me. The crust is a highlight for me.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of yeast
- 2 1/2 cups of warm water
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar or molasses
- 5 cups of rye flour
- 2-3 cups of bread flour
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup of canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of oats
- 1/4 cup of caraway/flaxseeds
Dissolve yeast in warm water and brown sugar. Place yeast mixture in a large metal bowl. Add caraway seeds,oats, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, 5 cups of rye flour and then 2 cups of bread flour, mixing into the yeast mixture after each addition with a wooden spoon. Add more bread flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is not so sticky and it is too hard to mix it with the wooden spoon. At that point, spread a half cupful of flour onto a large, clean, flat surface and put the dough onto the surface.
Knead the dough by pressing down with the heel of your hand, stretching it, turning the dough a quarter-turn, pulling the dough back toward you and then pressing and stretching again. Knead additional bread flour into the dough until it reaches the right consistency. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Spread some vegetable oil around a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it so it gets coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about an hour and a half.
Gently press down on the dough so some of its air is released. Knead the dough a few turns and then divide it by cutting it in half with a sharp knife. Shape each half into loaf. Place dough loafs into either oiled bread loaf pans, or onto a flat baking sheet or peel that has been sprinkled with corn flour. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth. Let rise again, this time not doubling in volume, but rising by about half of its volume, about 45 minutes, half as long as the first rising. The dough should be peeking over the top of the loaf pan if using a loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F at last a half an hour before baking. Mist dough with a little water. Top loaves with flaxseeds and oats. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until done. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.
Yields 2 loaves