Sunday, September 20, 2015

Long time in the Making - New York Deli Rye Bread

As promised, I am posting an occasional recipe and keeping a rather more laid-back pace. No more weekly posts, just good tried-and-true recipes for good honest bread. This one is a loaf I have been baking for a while, but have only just today gotten it to the point where I can say it is worth posting. I've been tweaking it, and taking it through various modifications and adaptations. Finally, it is where I want it to be.

If you have ever been to a true New York deli, (or Montreal for you Canadians) then you know what I am talking about. Nothing says deli better than real honest-to-goodness rye bread. With caraway baked right in. Although I am now a vegetarian, in my carnivorous past there was nothing better than New York or Montreal smoked meat or corned beef on REAL rye. These days, I still eat rye only with Dijon-style sharp mustard and an aged ceddar or other strong cheese. Maybe a tomato. Either way, this bread won't disappoint. It is adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Beranbaum Levy, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. Try it, you'll love it. The bread, of course, and also the cookbook.

Here's What Youl'll Need: (for the starter)
3/4 cups (117g) of bread flour
3/4 cups (95g) of rye flour
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 Tbs. malt powder (or honey, or sugar)
1 1/2 cups (350ml) water at room temperature

Make the starter:
1. Mix together all of the ingredients. It will look like a thick batter. Set it aside to ferment for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. If leaving it longer than a few hours, then put the plastic wrap covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Let it come to room temperature before going on to the next step.

(for the dough):
2 1/4 cups (350g) bread flour
1/2 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. (2g) instant yeast
2 Tbs. caraway seeds
1/2 Tbs salt
1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
cornmeal for sprinkling

2. Whisk together the flour, yeast, caraway seeds and salt. Gently spread this mixture over the top of the starter, covering it completely. Cover the bowl and let it sit to ferment for about 3 or 4 hours to develop flavor. Some of the starter may bubble up through cracks in the flour mixture. That is perfectly fine. Don't sweat it.

3. Either by hand or with the dough hook of your stand mixer, mix it all together to make a ragged dough, then knead for about 10 minutes vigorously to make smooth, barely sticky dough. Place this dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover for the first rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

4. Shape the dough, gently so as to keep some of the CO2 inside, into a fairly tight ball, and place it on a corn meal covered baking tray. Cover it to let it rise a second time.

5. About 30 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven, with a baking stone if you have one, to 450F (about 220C). Place a metal tray on the floor of the oven while heating the oven.

6. When the dough has risen, and the oven is hot, place a good handful of ice cubes in the tray, then place the loaf in the oven on the baking stone (if using)after slashing the loaf with a sharp serrated knife a few times about 1/4 inch (3mm) deep. Close the door quickly to keep the steam in.

7. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 400F (about 195C) and bake for another 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Your kitchen will, by now, smell heavenly.

8. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

9. You can thank me later, for now, enjoy!!! :D