21 August 2010

Sourdough Rye Bread

On his third try, George perfected his sourdough technique and delivered from the oven two loaves neither too dense nor too insubstantial: a sourdough rye. The guests gobbled down a loaf and a half during dinner and even cast longing glances back as we had a team of huskies haul them out the door. Having fulfilled the mission of Jews worldwide to overfeed each person who enters our home, we digested for five days in perfect contentment. Now, remembering the glory of that night, I share this recipe with you, my faithful disciples.

George adapted his recipe from the King Arthur recipe for plain white sourdough bread, which you can check out here.

Sourdough Rye Bread

1 Cup fed sourdough starter
1 3/4 Cup lukewarm water
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup rye flour
1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Combine starter, water, and 3 Cups of the all-purpose flour. Mix it.
2. Place dough in a large Tupperware-type container, with the top ajar for air. Let it rest for 4 hours at room temperature. Seal it and place in the refrigerator overnight for 12 hours.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
4. Let it rise, covered, for 2 to 5 hours until the dough is smooth, relaxed, and risen. The amount of rise will depend on the vigor of your starter.
5. Gently divide the dough in half. Shape into 2 loaves. Line a baking sheet or two (depending on the size of the loaves) with parchment paper. Place the loaves on the parchment paper, cover with a damp towel and let rise until very puffy, 2 to 4 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Boil a bunch of water. Pour into a cast iron (or other oven-safe pan) and stick on the bottom of the oven floor. The steam will help the continuous rise in the oven.
8. Make 2 deep slashes in each loaf with a serrated bread knife. Sprinkle loaves with water. Place loaves side by side or stacked vertically in the oven.
9. Bake 30 minutes plus however long it takes for the loaves to become golden brown and nice and crusty.

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