Start the night before to have fresh bread for lunch. Overnight Rye Bread can be made with a sourdough starter or a quick starter.
Although I thoroughly enjoy baking bread, I don’t do it as often as I would like. In a perfect world (the one where I can eat as much as and whatever I’d like) I’d bake bread several times a week and eat it every day. But in the real world, when it’s just me and my husband at home we try to eat pretty light and keep the carbs to a minimum, at least on weekdays. When our son is home from school it’s great for many reasons. Not the least of which is that I can bake as much as I like without the guilt.
The other day my son asked me to pick up some pastrami and brown mustard for sandwiches. While in the store I decided to also get Swiss cheese and sauerkraut so he he make himself a Reuben sandwich, and a good Reuben needs good rye bread.
I grew up in New Jersey and being so close to New York it was easy to find a good deli and fresh rye bread. Where I live now, not so much. So I decided to make a loaf of rye bread rather than buy the less than great bread in my local grocery.
As usual the base of the dough was my beer mash starter. If you don’t have a starter follow the changes in the “notes” section of the recipe, or better yet, make a starter for yourself.
I mixed the dough the night before so that it would be ready for lunchtime the next day. Also, allowing a long slow rise overnight will give you a bread with fantastic texture and taste.
For some breads, like a baguette or pizza crust, I purposely do not knead all the air out of the dough between rises. I like to keep the open and irregular crumb for a more rustic texture. Since this was going to be a sandwich bread I kneaded out the air after each rise for a more even crumb.
When I took the cold dough out of the refrigerator in the morning, I kneaded it a bit to redistribute the yeast and sprinkled in the caraway seeds. I then set the bowl over a larger bowl of warm water to warm up the dough and kick-start the final rise.
After I took this big beautiful loaf out of the oven, my son (who is a very discerning eater) said it was the nicest bread I’ve ever made. High praise for sure.
- 1 cups (9 oz, 255g) bread starter
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 375ml) warm water
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast (optional)
- 1 cup (5oz, 145g) stone ground rye flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups (10-12oz, 290-360g) bread flour
- 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1 egg white
- If the starter has been refrigerated allow it to come to room temp before using
- Combine the starter, water, honey, optional yeast and rye flour
- Mix with the paddle on low speed until combined
- Add the salt and 1 cup of the bread flour
- Change to the dough hook
- Add the remaining flour until the dough begins to clean the bottom of the bowl and form a ball around the hook
- The exact amount of flour used will vary based on the hydration of your starter. The dough will be a little sticky
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat the dough and cover the bowl
- Rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. If you don't use the dry yeast your rising times will be longer.
- Knead the dough, cover tightly and refrigerate over night.
- Remove from refrigerator and dump the cold dough onto floured surface
- Knead a bit to redistribute the yeast, sprinkle the dough with 1 tablespoon caraway seeds and and knead to distribute the seeds
- Return to oiled bowl and set bowl over a larger bowl of warm water to warm up the dough
- Allow dough to rise to double it's size
- Dump dough onto a floured surface, knead into a smooth ball then shape into an oblong football shape
- Place on a wooden peel or sheet pan sprinkled liberally with corn meal
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F convection or 425°F regular. If you have a baking stone preheat that in the oven
- Place a small baking pan with stones (I use whiskey rocks) into the bottom of the oven to preheat if you'd like some steam in the oven (optional)
- The dough is ready when it springs back slowly when poked
- Make 5 diagonal slashes in the dough with a single edge razor or very sharp knife
- Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle another tablespoon of caraway seeds
- Slide the dough onto the preheated stone or slide the sheet pan into the oven
- Pour 1 cup of water over the preheated stones in the pan and quickly close the oven
- Bake for about 25 minutes
- The bread is ready when tapping the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound, or use a probe thermometer to check for an internal temperature of about 190°F
- Cool on a wire rack
If you don't have a starter you can use 2 cups of warm water and about 3 cups of bread flour total and increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon. For step 2 of the instructions mix the water with 1 1/2 cups of bread flour, honey, yeast and rye flour. Proceed from step 3 as listed above.
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