June 7, 2010

Deli-Style Rye Bread

For those who liked the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day that I shared last year, you are going to love this recipe for Rye Bread.  I have tried more recipes for rye bread over the years than I can begin to count.  They have all fallen short of my expectations and been time consuming and difficult to make at best.  This one is, at long last, the recipe I have searched so diligently for.  I made a batch on Friday night with the hopes of baking it up for Saturday's breakfast and we were not disappointed.  In fact, the kids ate an entire loaf for dinner Saturday night. 

This recipe makes four 1 pound loaves and can be halved or doubled as desired.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons caraway seeds, plus more for sprinkling on the top
1 cup rye flour
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
cornmeal for pizza peel
cornstarch wash (see below)

1.  Mixing and Storing the dough:  Mix the yeast, salt, and caraway seeds with the water. 
2.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook).  If you're not using a machine wet hands to incorporate the last of the flour.
3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
4.  The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold.  Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 14 days.

5.  On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece.  Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Elongate the ball into an oval-shaped loaf.  Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 40 minutes.  (It may not appear to rise much... but don't worry.)  If you don't have a pizza peel set it to rise on a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.

6.  Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the overn to 450 F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack,  place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.  If you are using a baking sheet, ignore instructions for pizza peel and baking stone and just preheat with the broiler pan as instructed.
7.  Use a pastry brush to paint the top crust with the cornstarch wash and then sprinkle with caraway seeds.  Slash with deep parallel cuts across the top using a serrated bread knife.  Allow to finish the last 20 minutes of rising period.
8.  Slide the loaf directly onto the baking stone, or place baking sheet into the oven.  Pour 1 cup hot tap water into the broiler pan and quickly close the oven door to trap steam.  Bake for about 30 minutes until deeply brown and firm.  Smaller or larger loaves will require adjusting the baking time. 

9.  Allow to cool completely on rack before slicing and eating. 

Cornstarch Wash:  Using a fork, blend 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with a small amount of water to form a paste.  Add 1/2 cup water and whisk with the fork.  Microwave or boil until mixture appears glassy, about 30-60 seconds on high.  It will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks;  discard if it has an off smell.


  1. Kat,

    This sounds wonderful and I've been a rye bread lover for as long as I can remember.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  2. Oh, this sounds AWESOME! I'm definitely trying it, thanks!

  3. RYE BREAD.............YUMMMM!

    I can't wait to try this recipe. Than you for sharing, Kat!