Do Not Skip This
This recipe is loosely based on one from “Secrets of a Jewish Baker,” by George Greenstein. He says this is “real Jewish rye bread.” He further claims that this is the first authentic recipe for this bread to be published. He may be correct, although I usually take such claims with a very large grain of salt, in this case, kosher salt. Whatever the truth in the matter, this is a very good bread.
The process starts with the development of a rye sour over several stages before progressing to the actual bread creation. You may interrupt the development at any stage by putting the sour in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning just warm the sour to room temperature, either by using a microwave for 30 seconds at a time or running warm water over the closed container. In both cases, stir the sour every 30 seconds to make sure it heats evenly.
The original recipe for this bread is in cups of flour. I’ve found that Greenstein’s cups of flour are consistent at about 4 3/4 ounces. However, since I use stone ground rye flour, I can use the cup measure for the rye, since stone ground flour doesn’t compact very much, if at all. Other than these notes, this is a very straightforward recipe, since it uses just flour, water, salt and yeast, with onion and caraway seeds for flavorings. This is a 70% hydration dough, so it will be a bit sticky. Please resist the temptation to add flour to tame the dough, you won’t be sorry.
All flour and water measures are weight, not volume.
The sour develops through four stages, any of which may be delayed by refrigerating the sour in the refrigerator overnight. It starts with a very wet first stage. Each following stage reduces the hydration until the final stage is almost like a dough. All in all, a very interesting, simple process. This recipe takes several days to accomplish, but the actual baker time is very small until the actual dough development and baking. Give this a try; I can almost guarantee you’ll like it.
|Rye Flour||2 3/8 oz||67 grams|
|warm water||8 oz||227 grams|
|Dry Yeast||1/8 tsp||1 ml|
|Caraway seeds||1 Tblsp||15 ml|
|Minced onion||1 tsp||5 ml|
Mix all the ingredients, cover and let sit on the counter until bubbly, up to 24 hours.
|All the sour from stage one, warmed as above|
|Warm water||4 oz avoir||115 gramsl|
|Rye flour||7 1/8 oz, divided||200 grams|
Add the water and 6 ounces / 170 grams of the rye flour to the sour. Mix well, then sprinkle the remaining 1 1/8 ounce / 30 grams of rye flour evenly on top of the sour. Cover and let the
sour sit on the counter until the floured top develops cracks and fissures. This should take 4 to 8 hours, depending on conditions in your kitchen. The sour may then be stored in the refrigerator overnight to fit into your schedule.
|All the sour from stage two, warmed as above|
|Water||4 ounces avoir||115 grams|
|Rye flour||4 3/4 ounces||135 grams|
Mix up the sour and add the water and 3 3/4 ounces / 105 grams of the rye flour. Mix well, then sprinkle the remaining 1 ounce / 30 grams of flour evenly on top of the sour. Cover and let the sour sit on the counter until the floured top develops cracks and fissures. This should take 4 to 8 hours, depending on conditions in your kitchen. The sour may then be stored in the refrigerator overnight to fit into your schedule.
|All the sour from stage three, warmed as above|
|Water||4 ounces||115 grams|
|Rye flour||4 3/4 ounces||135 grams|
Mix up the sour and add the water and all the rye flour. Let this stand on the counter for 4 to 8 hours. Greenstein doesn’t specify the time to develop this stage, but he does say “when fully risen.” I interpret this to mean 4 to 8 hours, as above. Again, you may store the sour in the refrigerator after it is risen.
|All the sour from stage four, warmed as above|
|Warm water||8 ounces avoir||230 grms|
|Dry yeast||2 1/4 tsp||7 grams|
|All purpose flour||21 ounces||600 grams|
|Salt||1 Tblsp||15 ml|
|Altus||1/2 cup||120 ml||See below|
|Caraway seeds||1/2 Tblsp||7 ml||Optional, but highly recommended|
|Cornstarch solution or water for brushing.|
Altus is leftover sour rye bread, crusts removed, that has been soaked in water for several hours on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. It is then squeezed dry and added to the bread dough. Add a little extra flour to the final recipe to compensate for the moisture in the altus. The purpose of the altus is similar to a biga or poolish, it adds flavor and complexity to the final dough.
To make a cornstarch solution, boil 1 cup / 240 ml of water. Dissolve 2 Tablespoons / 30 ml cornstarch in 1/4 cup / 60 ml cold water, then whisk it into the boiling wateer until it thickens. To give a very high shine, brush a loaf a second time right after the bread comes out of the oven.
1. In the bowl of a large mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add the sour.
2. Add the altus if you are using it.
3. Without stirring add the salt and half the flour.
4. Begin to mix and continue to add flour until you have a shaggy mass.
5. Cover the dough and let it stand for 20 minutes.
6. Uncover the bowl and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. The dough will be smooth and not very sticky.
7. Oil a large bowl, put the dough into the bowl, turn the dough to coat it, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
8. Uncover the dough, gently deflate it and sprinkle the caraway seeds over the dough.
9. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape them into free-standing loaves.
10. Place on a flour-dusted baking sheet or on parchment paper, cover and let rise until doubled in size.
11. Heat the oven to 375F / 190C. Use tiles and prepare for steam in the oven.
12. When risen, brush with water or the cornstarch solution and slash with three slashes
13. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the loaves in the oven to equalize baking.
14. Bake until done. Internal temp 200F / 93C. The loaves should have a hard crust.
15. Remove the loaves from the oven, brush again with the cornstarch solution and let cool on a rack.
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