I mentioned that there might be a slight decrease in the number of new recipes that pop up here.
As much as I like to get stuff done and conquer the domestic world with multi-tasking, I just can’t quite wrap my head around how women of the olden days managed child rearing and house keeping (not to mention, helping out in the fields, town hall meetings, and the yearly slaughter- did I watched too many episodes of Little House as kid?) But I’m serious about this…how did Ma Ingalls bake enough bread for the week, darn half a dozen socks, and help Pa with some of his chores while balancing Baby Carrie on her hip? A baby carrier, you say? Got one! It’s bright pink and has a zippered pocket for necessities like a debit card and nipple cream. Can’t tell you how glad I am to have a son comfortable enough in his masculinity to be seen sleeping in a hot pink shawl.
Anyway, until I figure out how to simultaneously churn butter and sooth a screaming baby, I’ll be posting a few recipes from the old site. Hope you don’t mind. The good news is, I’m leaving out all the duds and only posting the really stellar recipes. Don’t say I don’t treat you right.
Today's re-posting is a favorite yeasted bread recipe, originally posted in February, 2009.
There’s really no need to get creative in naming my newest pride and joy. Sometimes it’s best just to get to the gist of things, no beating around the bread, no getting overly fancy with something that is just this straight-forwardly awesome.
Just so you don’t get any wrong ideas, I will say that, like you, I am always skeptical of anything referred to as “The World’s best”, or “Better than sex”, or any of those other titles given to chocolate chip cookies or crummy diner burgers. It seems as if you know even before ordering that it’s go to be nothing more than half-assed, and a far cry from great.
I made some rye bread this week. But this is not The World’s Best Rye, nor Better than sex Rye. It is being christened as “Super Awesome Rye”, and with that being said, you’ll just have to take my good, honest word for it.
Can I tell you about this bread? First off, it weighs more than most newborns. I say most newborns, because I weighed in at 9lb.12ounces (4422grams), and I dare to ever make a single loaf of bread that weighs that much without hiding a brick or two in the middle. But this really is one, dense, beautiful loaf. Part of the appeal of such a dense loaf, is that it stays moist for a long, long time. We’re going on day 5 here, and it still tastes mighty fresh.
Secondly, Super Awesome Rye has a super awesome hearty sweet note to it. Those who have been following along with my bread recipes, know that I am a sucker for using blackstrap molasses. This always imparts a rich, caramelly, depth to a loaf of rye or whole-wheat bread that you can’t achieve from any other ingredient. A good drizzling of honey doesn’t hurt the flavor much, either.
Lastly, the crust on today’s bread is thick and chewy and just screams for you to sink your teeth into it. And what’s good bread without a good crust?
Super Awesome Rye is a loose interpretation of a Paul Hollywood recipe, which he calls Dark Rye Bread. Although it’s a bit hard to take a baker seriously when his name is Hollywood, I’ve had nothing but luck from his fairly innovative recipes. Next on my list of Hollywood recipes to try; Stilton and Bacon Bread and Banana and Muesli Bread.
This recipe involves a good amount of time, very little of which is active (hands-on) time. Start this the night before or early in the morning. It’s a great bread to have alongside a creamy, cold-weather soup or to enjoy as a breakfast bread with some good butter and jam.
Super Awesome Rye Bread
(adapted from a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads)
*makes 2 small or 1 massive loaf
3 1/2 cups (500 g) dark rye flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 cups (225 g) whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 oz (30 g) cake yeast or- 2 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
4 Tablespoons good honey
2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 3/4 cups (4 dl) lukewarm water
2 teaspoons bread spices, ground (choose from cumin, caraway, anis, or fennel)
Step #1/ Start 5-8 hours ahead of time:
Place 1 1/2 cups (225 g) rye flour and 1/2 cup (75 g) whole-wheat flour into a large bowl. Stir in the salt, yeast, honey, molasses, and 3/4 cup (1.75 dl) of the water. Mix well with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes, then cover with a clean dishtowel and allow to stand on the counter for at least 5 hours, or up to 8 hours. This will be your “sponge”, and will add a slightly sour note and moist, spongy texture to your bread. It will also improve the texture of your crust.
Add the remaining flours- 2 cups (275 g) rye flour and 1 cup (150 g) whole-wheat flour, the remaining 1 cup (2.25 dl) water, and the bread spices to the dough and mix well with a wooden spoon. You want the dough to be workable and just barely sticky. If the dough is still quite sticky, add more rye flour and if the dough is dry and feels as though it is lacking moisture, add an extra tablespoon or two of water.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly rye-floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes. Shape into either one or two oblong loaves, coat generously with rye flour, and place either on a baking sheet or in rising baskets and allow to rise, covered with your dish cloth, for 2-3 hours, until nearly doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. If using a baking stone, warm that up in the oven now too. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until your loaves are nicely darkened and hollow-sounding when tapped. If you choose to make 2 loaves, you are looking at close to a 35 minute baking time, while one large-loaf will take closer to 45 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack, then enjoy while still slightly warm. This bread will keep at room temperature in an air tight bag for up to 1 week.