Bread baking can be a fun way to spend a few hours at home, especially during the winter months. It can also be a grounding, therapeutic practice–helping us slow down and become more present in our daily life.
This recipe yields what my Nana would have referred to as a “good dark bread”. She was always delighted to find a fresh loaf at the bakery, the darker and more fragrant the better. As a child, I couldn’t appreciate the rich, full flavors of the rye flour, molasses and caraway. seeds. But over the years my palate has come to look forward to complexities of flavor like those in a dark coffee or imported chocolate.
This recipe is an old-world style with basic ingredients. The project time is long, about 3 hours—but, like I said, if you have the time and you’re feeling ambitious, you will be rewarded with a rich, tasty bread sturdy enough for your favorite sandwich or just a little spread of margarine or jam.
Recipe courtesy Elizabeth Yetter via About.com Bread Baking
1-1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup molasses
4 tsp salt
2 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp caraway seed
2-3/4 cups rye flour
3 cups bread flour, about
In large bowl, add warm water and yeast. Stir until yeast is dissolved.
Stir in the molasses, salt, shortening, caraway seed, and rye flour.
Mix in 2 cups of bread flour. Slowly add the remaining bread flour until you have a dough that can be kneaded. You may or may not use the full amount of bread flour that is called for, depending on ingredients and weather.
Turn dough out onto floured board and knead for 5 minutes. If dough is too sticky, knead in more bread flour, a tablespoon at a time. I used a dough hook on my mixer for about 3-4 minutes.
Place dough in greased bowl. Flip dough over so that top is lightly greased.
Cover and let dough rise in warm place for about an hour or until double in size.
Punch down dough. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Punch down dough a second time. Turn out on lightly floured board and knead dough briefly.
Cut dough in half. Shape each half into small, round loaf.
Grease baking sheet. Sprinkle sheet with cornmeal, optional.
Place both round loaves on baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about 45 minutes or until double in size.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on.
Remove from oven and let loaves cool on rack.
Loaves can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for later.