Sourdough Rye

A robust flavorful loaf

dwt 15 November 2007

Sourdough Rye

Two to three days ahead:

Feed the starter every 12 hours or so, keeping it at room temperature.  The goal is to have approximately 1 cup of starter per loaf prior to baking time.

The SPONGE - - Eight to twelve hours ahead: Quantities are PER LOAF

12oz room temp water or beer (75 F/23 C) 1cuprye starter
1.5cupsrye flour
In a non-metallic bowl, stir together the rye starter, rye flour and water (or beer). Place a cover over the bowl, such as a dinner plate or plastic wrap that can allow gas pressure to escape. Allow the bowl to sit at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours or so. The sponge should rise and become somewhat porous but will not be nearly as light and foamy as some wheat sponges.

The DOUGH - - Baking Day: Quantities are PER LOAF

1+Tbscaraway seeds 1+tspsalt
2.5cupsunbleached wheat flour 6 oz water at room temp
1 tsp cornmeal
Add the additional water, caraway seed and salt to the sponge. Stir in a cup of the unbleached flour. Then continue to work in the remaining unbleached flour, kneading in successively smaller amounts. Dough will be fairly stiff, but sticky.

Cover the dough and allow it to rest; let it rise until about a 50 to 60% increase in volume.

Cornstarch glaze:
cup water 1tspcornstarch
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, gently form a long cylindrical loaf.  Place the dough on a baking sheet (or parchment) sprinkled with corn meal.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the loaf is about 50% larger in diameter (about 30 to 40 minutes).  While loaf is rising, place a baking stone on an oven shelf just below mid-height.  Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).  A trick sometimes used here is to place a marble-sized ball of the dough in a glass of water at room temperature.  When the dough floats to the top, the bread is ready for the oven.[1]

When loaves have risen sufficiently, slash the loaves diagonally, " deep, six or eight times along the length.

Slide the loaf (and parchment) onto the baking stone to bake.  Toss two or three ice cubes onto the floor of the oven and close the door to provide a steaming environment.  Turn the oven down to 400 F (204 C) and bake about 35 to 40 minutes.

When the baking has started, stir the cornstarch into a quarter cup of water in a Pyrex(tm) baking or measuring cup.  Place the cup in the oven, or microwave it, stirring occasionally until the mixture forms a translucent glaze.  About 15 to 20 minutes into the baking, brush a coat of cornstarch glaze onto the loaf.  Brush another coat on about 4 or 5 minutes before removing the loaf from the oven.  When the loaf is done, place it on a wire rack and cover with a towel until cool.

I have taken to using a rich dark beer for this bread instead of water.
( Yuengling Black and Tan is just ideal!)

[1]Not all sources are enthusiastic about this trick.