I received some wonderful cookbooks for Christmas, one of which is called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois. And it has amazing recipes for AWESOME bread. The first one I made was the Rye Bread. Oh hell yes. It turned out so well I was stunned. And it looks perrty tooo. I also made the European Peasant Bread and changed the flour proportions slightly and it was incredible too. Seriously. Make this bread. It’s also really fun making your own bread (and extremely inexpensive). And relatively easy.
I split the recipe in half. The original recipe is supposed to make four 1lb loaves. I made one loaf with half of the recipe so I guess it was 2lbs. It wasn’t particularly large by any means and it was completely eaten in less than 24 hours. Yeah, it was really freaking good. The caraway seeds give the bread it’s flavor so don’t even thinking about leaving them out. You can also replace the flour top for a cornstarch wash with extra caraway seeds sprinkled on top but I love the look of the floured crust. I can’t even convey how good this bread is.
Deli Style Rye
Recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois.
Makes four 1lb loaves or two 2lb loaves.
- 3 Cups Warm Water
- 1 Tsp Sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Yeast
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Caraway Seeds
- 1 1/2 Cup Rye Flour
- 5 Cups AP Flour (plus extra for crust)
- Coarse Cornmeal
- 1 Cup Hot Water
Combine warm water, sugar, yeast, salt & caraway seeds in a very large bowl. I usually let it sit to let the yeast soften but Hertzberg & Francois insist it isn’t necessary. Add all of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. All the flour should be absorbed but the dough shouldn’t be sticky or too wet. It should hold it’s shape. Cover the dough and allow to rise for approximately 2 hours or until about double in size or until the dough has a completely flat & level top. Just give it two hours in a relatively warm spot in your house and you’re good to go.
When the dough has finished rising, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Place a pizza stone in the oven on a center rack and allow it to reach oven’s temperature. Cover a pizza peel with cornmeal. If you don’t have a pizza peel, like me, a large wooden cutting board will do the trick. Divide the dough into the desired number of loaves and shape into oval by pulling the top of the dough towards the bottom of the loaf while turning it and elongated the loaf when you’ve accomplished a smooth top. Don’t worry about the bottom not being smooth, it will cook into a nice flat, crunchy crust. Let the loaves sit on the prepared pizza peel/cutting board for about 40 minutes before baking. Cover each loaf with about 1tbsp of flour and spread with your hand. Make 5 slashes across the top with a serrated knife.
Just before baking the loaves, fill a boiler pan with 1 cup of water and add to oven. I used a baking dish because I don’t have a boiler pan and merely put it on a lower rack in the oven. The steam from the water is what gives the bread it’s crunchy crust.
Shimmy the loaf of bread (or loaves, I’ve done two at a time) onto the pizza stone, making sure they are spaced far enough apart to have plenty of room to double in size. Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is a deep amber brown then remove from oven and let cool. I don’t have that kind of patience so naturally my bread was still pretty hot when I cut into it but I recommend letting it cool because the dough will still be cooking a bit with all that trapped heat.
The bread is even better after it has had time to rest. I recommend it toasted and dunked into winter soups. SO DELICIOUS.