There’s nothing tastier than a fresh, homemade loaf of bread. With the many different types of bread, it may be difficult choosing which type to make. However, a homemade rye bread recipe is definitely worthwhile. This versatile bread is good as is, for sandwiches and with soup.
This homemade rye bread recipe requires 3 cups of lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast, 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, 1 cup rye flour, 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds. You will also need more caraway seeds for sprinkling the top of the loaf, cornmeal for sprinkling underneath the dough, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch for a cornstarch wash.
First, combine the yeast, sugar, salt and caraway seeds and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Stir in the rye flour and the all-purpose flour, but do not knead. After covering with a damp towel, allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 2 hours). There will be enough dough to make 4 loaves.
Once it has rested, dust the surface of the dough with flour. Then cut off 1/4 of the dough, dust with flour, knead a few times to force out gas and redistribute the yeast, and roll into a ball. Elongate the ball to make an oval-shaped loaf. Dust another work surface or baking pan with cornmeal, place the loaf on top, and let rise for 40 minutes (or until doubled in size). Repeat to make the rest of the loaves, or store the remaining dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. At this time, begin preheating your oven to 450 degrees F.
Now it’s time to make a cornstarch wash. Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to make a nice paste. Then, add 1/2 cup of water, whisk, and place in the microwave for about 1 minute. Brush the wash across the top of the loaf and sprinkle with the extra caraway seeds. Using a serrated knife, make 4 shallow, parallel slashes in the top of the loaf.
You can bake the loaf on a baking sheet or hot stone. Place the loaf on the top shelf of your oven, and place a boiler tray on the lower shelf, just below the loaf. Add 1 cup of hot water to the boiler tray, and close the door. The water will help create a crispy crust. Bake for 30 minutes. To check that it’s done, lift the loaf using a spatula, flip it upside-down into your other hand (use a pot holder or towel) and tap on the bottom. It should sound hollow. (Or, you could use a thermometer and remove bread from the oven when the internal temperature is 200 degrees F.) Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack before cutting or eating.
This homemade rye bread recipe is sure to please your family. You’ll also be surprised at how simple it is to make a beautiful loaf of fresh bread. Happy baking!
Betty’s baking tips.