Friday, May 20, 2005

Home-Style Caraway Rye Bread

Home-Style Caraway Rye Bread (Adapted from Canadian Living)

For the starter

1 cup stone-ground rye flour
2/3 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast

For the dough

1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups stone-ground rye flour
1 3/4 cups bread flour, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
cornmeal, for dusting

For the topping

1 tablespoon stone-ground rye flour

To prepare the starter

In a large bowl, stir together rye flour, water and yeast until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

To prepare the dough

Uncover bowl and stir yeast and water into the starter. Stir in rye flour, 1 cup bread flour, caraway seeds and salt.

Scoop mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, elastic and just tacky to the touch, adding enough of remaining bread flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Move dough into a large bowl lightly coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Punch down dough and turn it out onto a floured surface, kneading a few times to remove air bubbles. Cover dough lightly and let rest for 10 minutes. Press dough into a 1/2" thick circle. Fold dough 1-1/2" down from top, pressing down with hand. Repeat folding, pressing into torpedo-shaped loaf, pinching seams and ends to seal.

Transfer the loaf, seam side down, onto a pizza peel or baking sheet dusted with cornmeal (if your baking sheet has sides, use the bottom backside). Cover loaf lightly with plastic wrap and set aside until it has risen about doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees with a pizza or bread stone set on a rack in the middle of the oven.

To top the dough

Gently uncover the dough and dust the top with the tablespoon of flour.

Using a sharp knife, firmly slice two or three diagonally 1/2" deep slashes on top. Slide dough onto the heated stone, then spray inside of oven with roughly 1/3 cup water, making sure to avoid light bulbs and the glass of the oven door. Quickly close the door to seal in steam. Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 20 to 30 minutes more. Remove loaf and place on a wire rack - let cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 large loaf, about 16 servings.

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