Tuesday, January 22, 2013
What a week (a month really) it's been. Starting from mid-December right up until last Thursday, my wife and I have been working almost non-stop setting up and making all kinds of last minute arrangements for my daughter's wedding! Now that it's over, I'm sitting here, a few days after, in a state of shock, not really comprehending that it's over and the guests have gone home. That the party's over. That it's time to get back to work. So pardon me, please, if I have not been posting as much as usual. Truth be told, I have also not been baking as much as usual! But, like I said, it's time to buckle down, and get back to work.
Arranging a wedding made me very nostalgic. Of course, I think of my daughter as a little girl. But it also makes me think about my hometown when I was a little boy. A small one industry town in northeastern Canada. Literally in the middle of nowhere and filled with immigrants from all over Europe. Poles, Irish, Ukranians, Jews and, of course, many, many Scots.
Food from northern Europe is simple fare but no matter where you are from, there are certain things in common. For instance: since it is so cold there and winters are long, a lot of foods are based around root vegetables easily stored for the winter. Also, lots of animal fat (chicken, goose, pig). And preserved foods like pickles of all kinds, hard cheeses, and smoked and pickled meats, fish and cheese. Bread is very heavy and hearty using whole grains and especially the heavy, dark flour from rye.
In keeping with my current nostalgia, I am posting a recipe for rolls, for any time of day, using rye flour. They are the kind of rolls I used to eat as a child, but lighter. The rye flavor is unmistakeable, and the texture, soft and just a little chewy, makes them perfect for anything from a nice sharp cheddar to a good pastrami with mustard. Enjoy them while reminiscing.
Here's What You'll Need:
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbs. sugar
1 cup rye flour
about 2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. caraway seed (optional)
Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. Add all the ingredients, except the salt, and mix to form a shaggy dough. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle the salt over and mix it in.
2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and just barely sticky.
3. Form into a ball, them place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
4. Shape the dough into 2 equal boules or about 12 rolls. (I made rolls.) Place the shaped dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, covered, and let it rest/rise a second time, about 45 minutes.
5. Just before baking, slash the rolls/boules with a sharp serrated knife or a razor blade.
6. About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Bake with steam (a small metal tray filled with boiling water on the bottom of the oven does the trick), for about 17-20 minutes (for rolls) or about 30-35 minutes (for loaves), until the crust is fairly hard and the bottoms are well browned. Cool on a rack.