Rye Caraway Bread

I am in the love love love rye bread camp.

And caraway. Love me some caraway.

Rye Caraway bread

But you know that already from the rye caraway scones.

So when my sister offers to bring over bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce for BLTs if I provide the bread I gotta bring my A game.

Rye Caraway bread

Well that and I am weird. Really good bakery bread can be pretty spendy ($4-5 a loaf or more). We don’t eat sandwich bread unless it is Dave’s Killer Bread and that isn’t cheap either. The artisan bread I have been making lately is delicious but I wanted something just a bit better for this go around.

And we already had rye flour. That’s normal right? To just have rye flour on hand? Thanks for making me feel normal about it.

Rye Caraway bread

So off I went to try and find a good recipe. I feel like recipe picking is something I am pretty good at. Rarely do I get a recipe that is a complete and utter failure and I ascribe that to my ability to know what a recipe will turn out like by reading it. Oh and by knowing that Smitten Kitchen is almost always a sure bet.

I don’t pretend that making this bread is quick. It is ridiculously easy but takes a while. I think I started around 8 am and pulled the bread out of the oven around 2. There is a ferment, kneed, rise, punch down, rise, shape, rise, and lastly bake. None of it takes particularly long but you are required to be around and baby sit the bread off and on.

Rye Caraway bread

Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. Or when you get snowed in. Or when you really really want rye bread.

Totally worth it though. I baked it on a pizza stone and threw some ice cubes onto a sheet pan in the oven before I shut the door to create some steam. The bread is light, flavorful, chewy, and has a slightly crisp crust.

Rye Caraway bread

Beyond perfect for BLTs. I used some the leftover bread for an egg sandwich the next morning and then a cheese sandwich that afternoon. Then it was sadly gone. I have been obsessing over it ever since and fully intend on making another loaf this weekend.

Rye Caraway bread

One year ago today: The very best pizza dough

Rye Caraway Bread (makes 1 large loaf)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sponge
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

Flour Mixture
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt

Dough and Baking
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling

Make the sponge
Combine sponge ingredients in a large or mixer bowl and whisk until very smooth, to intentionally incorporate air — this will yield a thick batter. Set it aside.

Make the flour mixture and cover the sponge
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour mixture and gently scoop it over the sponge to cover it completely. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 2-3 hours at room temperature. (The sponge will bubble through the flour mixture in places.)

Mix the dough
Add the oil and mix with the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. then raise the speed to medium and mix it for 10 minutes. The dough should be very smooth and elastic, and it should jump back when pressed with a fingertip; if it is sticky, turn it out on a counter and knead in a little extra flour.

Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a large container or bowl, lightly oiled. Oil the top of the dough as well (spray oil works great). Allow the dough to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Flip the bowl over and let the dough fall out on to a lightly floured counter, press it down gently, fold or form it back into a ball and allow it to rise a second time, back in the (re-oiled) bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 45 minutes.

Shape it and wait out the final rise
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it down again. Round it into a ball and set it on a cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel (or baking sheet). Cover it with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. While it is rising preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven
Place your pizza stone (or upside down baking sheet) in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F as early as you can tolerate. On a shelf below the pizza stone place a cast iron skillet or sheet pan.

Slash and bake the bread
With a sharp knife or singled-edged razor blade, make 1/4- to 1/2-inch-deep slashes in the top of the dough in a square pattern. Quickly but gently slide the bread on the hot stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and immediately shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 400°F, place an instant read thermometer in the bread and continue baking till it registers 190F or for 10-20 minutes and the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the bread on a wire rack.

Rye Caraway bread

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