Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TWD: Baking with Julia - Eastern European Rye - Guest Baker

Normally Julie is the one baking every couple of weeks, but she wasn't that excited for making rye bread, and I love rye bread.  I read an article recently that describes all of the additives and such that are put into commercial bread and that has put me onto a big kick of making homemade bread, to the point where I'm making a loaf of half white/wheat for lunches each week.  I actually bought rye flour before we knew this was the recipe because I like rye so much and the flour has the whole grain in it, mmmmm!

The recipe came out of the Baking with Julia cookbook, and Julie cooks with a group called Tuesdays with Dorie.  The link is https://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com if you want to learn more.

I cut the recipe in half since I would be the only one eating the rye, I worried it would go bad.  My Mom then asked for a loaf, so I'll probably be making these again sometime.  I also have a bread machine recipe I am going to try, but this one will be hard to beat.  The crust was out of this world awesome.  Quick note, I used my cell phone camera for all of these pictures, so sorry if the quality is a bit low. 

The starting lineup
The yeast getting nice and creamy
The recipe called for finely ground caraway seeds, but our local mega-mart only had whole ones.  That was fine I thought, since I have a mortar and pestle, this will be fun.  Turns out caraway seeds are really strong and didn't take to grinding that way.  So I gave up and used the coffee/spice grinder, that was much quicker.

This is after 10 minutes of pounding and grinding, notice how whole the seeds are
Take that well-put-together seeds!
After adding the flour mixture into the wet ingredients the dough got really hard to stir.  I used the bowl with a handle (great idea) and a wooden spoon (another great idea), and I had to get the shoulders and back moving to get it combined.  But it came together nicely and went well in our largest bowl, well greased of course.  

Mmmmm, dough
Going in for the first rise
Covered with a festive towel...
It got huge!!  
Sometimes I just feel so deflated, you know? 
Rolled into the square for shaping.  
The instructions said to roll into a rectangle, roll it up, then put it on its side and push your fingers in while pushing dough in, then pull it apart and repeat until you get hospital corners or something.  I tried this and I could not get it to push in correctly, pulling it apart either ripped it or it just came apart at the seams.  I decided that kneading it a few times while shaping it into a loaf would work just as well, and it seemed to come out with the right texture and shape, so that's nice.

I didn't really understand why the bread should go into a sling for 30 minutes, but it was kind of fun, so I did it anyway!  I figured it might be to rise evenly without pressing against the counter or bowl, but it didn't seem to make much difference in the shape that I could tell.

Going into the sling
This was actually safer than it looks
Once out of the sling you cut into it, add the toppings, and bake.  I did half salt and half caraway seeds on top of the egg wash.  I liked the taste of  the salt side better, but I loved the look of the caraway seeds, so I will probably do both next time and see what that gives me.

Half salt and half caraway seeds
Crunchy, crispy, warm, smelled great
Because I started this way too late in the day, the bread didn't come out of the oven until 11-ish at night, so I let it cool a bit and then put into a cake holder so it wouldn't dry out.  The crust got a bit soggy unfortunately, but was otherwise unharmed by this.  I had my first slice the next morning with breakfast, and it was magnificent.  The flavor was great, it toasted well, and just wow.

My phone's best attempt at capturing the grain of the bread
The first meal with the bread: Runny eggs and rye
Toasted pastrami on rye
I will almost certainly be making these again.  I will compare it other recipes since this one took a lot of time, but the flavor and crust will be hard to beat with this one.  


  1. I had the same issue with the mortar and pestle. Switched to spice grinder and it was done in seconds! looking good!

  2. lovely loaf...you certainly did have a nice breakfast and lunch with that!

  3. Your loaf looks great!! No need to apologize for the photos =)

  4. Your photos are fine. I've been using my cell phone lately or it just wouldn't get done! Your loaf looks great. I made two loaves and then cut them in half and put the extra in the freezer. Since my husband and I both like rye it's actually all gone!

  5. Caraway seeds are crazy strong! I ended up running out to Target to buy a coffee grinder. Your bread looks great. You can always place the loaf back in the oven for a minute or two, to bring back the crunch of the crust.

  6. I didn't understand the sling or the hospital corners, but this was good bread!