Sunday, October 23, 2011

Deli Rye Bread

If it’s one thing I have learned from my deli cookbooks, it’s that delis and Jews are not messing around when it comes to portion sizes. I love rye bread and if you do too, you’ll still need some friends to get through this delicious, gigantic loaf. I made this for reubens specifically, but this bread is wonderful for all sorts of sandwiches. You may just want to make half as much.

Deli Rye Bread from Deli:

1 package (or 2¼ tsp.) dried yeast
2½ c. warm water (100-115 degrees)
2 Tb. kosher salt
1 Tb. caraway seeds
3 c. rye flour
1 c. mashed potato (1 medium potato)
5-6 c. unbleached all purpose or bread flour

Combine the yeast with warm water in a large bowl. Stir with a fork or small whisk. Add the salt and caraway seeds. Stir in rye flour, one cup at a time, the potatoes, and the white flour, one cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Starting with the flour I was using my stand mixer with a dough hook.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead vigorously for 20 to 25 minutes. You can get a lot of kneading done in the stand mixer, which is what I did. Either way, you want the dough to become smooth, nonsticky, and elastic. Knead in up to 1 cup additional flour, if necessary (hence the 5-6 cups). Let the dough rest while you wash, dry, and grease the bowl. Knead the dough a few more times, form into a ball, and place it in the bowl. Turn it to coat with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and put ina  warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1½ hours. It has risen sufficiently when you can gently poke a finger into the dough and the hole remain after a few minutes’ wait.

Flour your first and punch down the dough. Knead a few times, then shape into a round, plump loaf and place it on a large, cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet (or your awesome baking peel to later put on your baking stone. That is all awesome).   Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place to double in bulk. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
When loaf has doubled, slash it lightly in two places with a sharp knife. Brush it with cold water. Bake it from 1 to 1½ hours (mine was done in 1), until a knuckle rap produces a hollow sound. Brush with water twice during the baking process. Let cool thoroughly on rack.
And then make sandwiches! This had one of the best crusts I’ve ever gotten on a bread. The addition of potatoes was a surprise to me, but this bread really works. Next time though, I’m going to half size. Or maybe just make more people come over and eat bread with me.

Tomorrow is the reuben sandwiches this all was for.

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