German Rye Bread Recipe

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, you really should), you already know that yesterday was Bread-Baking Day.

I started baking my own bread about 3 years ago, when a two-fold realization struck me whap upside the noggin:

1. If I wanted to find good, dense, whole grain, healthy bread (read: not pasty-white-Wonderbread-ish-white-flour smooshiness), I was going to have to buy it at some kind of special bakery or something.

2. Buying bread at some kind of special bakery or something is expensive.

Thus: Woman, get thee to thy kitchen and start thee thy baking!

I’m not sure where I discovered the following recipe, so my apologies to the original baker for not attributing it here. But the fabulous and heart-warming Jennifer Bones (@JennyBBones) was so enthused about the breadal yumminess I posted on Twitter yesterday, I emailed her the recipe just a short while ago. And since I’d already typed it up, I thought ’twas a lovely opportunity to share it here, as well!

So, without further ado or adon’t, I give you:

German Rye Bread

INGREDIENTS

STEP ONE
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110-115ºF)
2 cups whole wheat or rye flour (I use rye.)

STEP TWO
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp sesame seeds (I will often add an additional 3 tbsp sunflower seeds or poppy seeds or nuts or all of the preceeding.)
2 tsp salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups warm water (110-115ºF)

1 egg

DIRECTIONS

STEP ONE
In a 4-quart (or 4-liter) bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. Whisk in 2 cups rye/wheat flour until smooth. Cover loosely with clean dishcloth and let stand in warm place for 4 hours or until dough falls about 1 inch and surface bubble activity lessens. (I pretty much go the 4 hours and call it done.) ; )

STEP TWO
Stir sugar, seeds, salt, 5 cups flour, and 2 cups warm water into prepared dough. Mix well. Add flour as needed to form a firm dough. Knead on floured surface for about 8 minutes (–> smooth, elastic consistency). Cover and let rest 15 minutes.

STEP THREE
Divide dough into 2 or 4 portions. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. (I just divide it in half.)

STEP FOUR
Shape portions into loaves. Grease two baking sheets with extra virgin olive oil; sprinkle each with corn meal. Place loaves on sheets. Cover and let rise 40-45 minutes. (I use two medium-sized loaf pans.)

STEP FIVE
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Brush loaves with lightly beaten egg. Sprinkle each loaf with more seeds (I use poppy, sesame, or sunflower.) Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating pans after 15 minutes or until browned. Cool on wire racks.

Store or refrigerate bread in airtight containers for 5-7 days or in airtight bags in freezer.

Makes spiffy sandwiches and tastes especially yummy warm with butter, cinnamon, and sweetness (I use Truvia.).