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Bread Baking: Caraway (Stone-Ground) Rye

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

When I'm thinking ahead, I'll start making my bread dough the night before I'm planning on baking. Over the years, I've found that it's particularly useful to let alternative flours (anything except white flour) spend that extra time hydrating, particularly the coarse-ground or whole-grain flours. The extra time gives those rough flours more of a chance to soak up the water and get a little softer.


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There are a lot of different rye flours available, including light rye, medium rye, and pumpernickel flour. However, my local grocery chains tend to have one brand and one type, and that's stone-ground rye. It's a coarser, grittier rye than most of the others that I buy online, but it still makes a nice bread. If your local markets have other varieties of rye flour, use what's available or what you like best.

When I have it on hand, I use whey instead of water in my bread dough, but it's completely optional. The whey I use is left over from making yogurt or cheese, so it's not something that I go out and buy. If I don't have it, I use water, and that's a perfectly acceptable substitute. The benefit to using whey is the additional nutrients, but also that the whey is a bit acidic, and yeast likes an acid environment.

Caraway (Stone-Ground) Rye

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She most recently launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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