Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Amazingly Delicious Light Honey Rye Bread


Unfortunately I can't claim this recipe. If it were mine I'm sure that I would receive some sort of Nobel Prize of bread making just for coming up with it. Instead I simply follow the directions and marvel at how delicious this bread is.

We don't have rye in Belize and it wasn't until I started reading "Super Natural Cooking" by Heidi Swanson that I became excited about the many different grains available here in Washington DC. A whole world of flavours was just waiting to be explored. And rye bread, well, that always reminded me of my mom's stories about the perfect Reuben sandwich. I just had to make some.

So I turned to my well-thumbed old fashioned bread bible, "Bread Winners" by Mel London, only to find quite an array of recipes to choose from. Everything from sourdough to Finnish rye awaited me. I finally decided upon Yvonne Rodahl's Light Rye Bread, which called for lots of honey and caraway seeds. It was so good I made it twice, and the second time I doubled the recipe. It did win the yellow ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair in 1977, after all!

Note: This is THE bread to use for grilled cheese sandwiches. Choose the sharpest Cheddar or a good Gruyere and spread a little Dijon mustard on the slices, add the cheese and then, if you have one, place in your George Foreman grill or sandwich press and grill until the fragrance of caraway and rye fills the room and the cheese has actually melted INTO the now crusty and golden bread. Devour. Repeat.


Yvonne Rodahl's Light Rye Bread (with honey and caraway seeds)

I present the recipe to you in its doubled form, which makes three loaves or two loaves and 12 delicious rolls. If you cut the loaf into 12 slices, each one will be about 155 calories. These freeze well. And, as you must know by now, I insist that organic grains will taste better in this bread.

4 packages dry yeast
3 cups warm water (lukewarm so the yeast isn't killed)
1 1/3 cup honey
1 tsp salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil (Yvonne calls for butter, which you may also use)
4 tablespoons caraway seeds
5 1/2 cups rye flour
4 to 6 cups unbleached white flour (or white whole wheat or half white and half whole wheat, although this will make the bread denser)
butter for crust (optional)

Procedure:

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the honey, salt, oil, caraway seeds and the rye flour. Beat until smooth.



Add enough white (or white and wheat) flour to make the dough easy to handle. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth-about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to coat, cover and let rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour.


When the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, punch down and form 3 loaves or 2 loaves and 12 rolls or any other combination that you care to make.



Place in well-greased pans or cookie sheets (or else the bread will stick), cover lightly and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes. When done, butter tops to make a soft crust or leave plain. Cool on wire racks. Enjoy!

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