Sunday, September 24, 2006

Le rye

Dearest,

I have to tell you that the rye bread turned out incredibly well. They were perhaps my most successful attempts at this recipe. The loaves were larger than ever before, but just as dense. My addition of my own special "Herbs d'last year" instead of parsley (that it turned out I was out of), made the bread much more savory.

Rosemary Rye Bread
A Cincinnati Post recipe contest winner in the 1970s. "Rye bread has a fearsome reputation because rye flour is hard to raise to any volume, but this one mixes in white flour for extra oomph, and it's quite easy. Rye flour can usually be bought in a small-sized bag, then stored for future loaves in the freezer. This precious recipe is pulled from Post files quite often. The name of the young man who entered the recipe is lost to me, but I remain very grateful to him for sharing his find. He wrote on his entry that the rosemary rye is great sliced and toasted, then spread with peanut butter. It's true, it's true."--Joyce Rosencrans

1 ¾ cups warm water (105-110 degrees F.)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup each dried minced onion, parsley flakes
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons each dried thyme, rosemary, thoroughly crushed
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
4 teaspoons salt
2 cups medium rye flour (not coarse pumpernickel flour)
3 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (bread flour is even better)
1 additional egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Yield: 2 braided loaves

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in warm water. Sprinkle on the dry yeast and stir to mix. Let stand for 5 minutes or until foam forms on the top. If it doesn't, the yeast might be too old or the water was too hot. Start over with a fresh package of yeast.

Once the yeast has foam on top, add the onion, parsley flakes, crushed rosemary, thyme, oil, egg, salt, rye flour and 3 cups of the white flour. Mix well, adding only enough additional white flour as necessary to form a soft dough. It will be slightly sticky.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary but as little as possible. Continue kneading and turning dough for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. It may still be slightly sticky.

Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl and turn to grease the top of the dough. Cover with a damp towel (paper toweling is fine) and set in a warm, draft-free place until dough is almost doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds. Divide dough in half and then divide each half into 3 equal portions. Cover with an inverted bowl or cloth and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough with hands into a rope 15 inches long. Braid 3 ropes to form a loaf; repeat with other 3 ropes. Place loaves, spaced as far apart as possible on a large baking sheet to allow for rising. Cover lightly with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled, about 50 minutes.

Brush loaves with egg-milk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds (caraway would clash with the rosemary). Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove loaves from baking sheet and cool on a rack. Slice with a serrated bread knife to avoid compressing the bread.

4 Comments:

Blogger Lynn Barry said...

My goodness, you have been busy. I wish I could have rye bread but since I can't I am glad you can, if that makes any sense at all. I can smell it over here in NY because your writing about it makes it SO REAL. HUGS

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

Great to see you are back cooking Willa. I've never had any success with Rye Bread. Glad yours turned out so well.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Willa Frank said...

dear barbara,

actually, the rye bread baker was my friend, The Palate, in pittsburgh. color me jealous. my cooking is still on the lowest level of the lows--mainly fresh things or nuking things for heat.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Well, over 4 years later, the young man who won the 1978 Cincinnati Post Recipe Contest with that recipe, googled said term and found your posting.

Jerry Natowitz - j.natowitz
(at)
rcn.com

9:31 AM  

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