UPDATE: I have completely revised this recipe–thanks to Dana Morgan for testing and input!
In the interest of health, I’ve focused my bread baking obsession of late on 100% or near 100% whole rye sourdough loaves. I’ve used as my guide a nicely illustrated book How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. His specialty is just the sort of rustic German style breads I’ve always wanted to learn to bake. What I love in particular about his caraway rye sourdough loaf (pictured above) is the crust. Unlike most other breads you don’t slash it before tossing it in the oven. The goal is a kind of perfect imperfection–a hard, thick crust with as many fault lines as the state of California. And this is a bread that requires no kneading so you can easily fit it into a busy schedule.
Here’s how I make it (recipe based on Hadjiandreou’s caraway rye sourdough):
70% Rye Bread with Caraway-based on a recipe by by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou from How to Bake Bread
125 grams dark rye flour
125 grams water
1 Tbsp mature starter
350 grams dark rye flour
150 grams white bread flour
10 grams sea salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
250 grams rye sourdough starter (see step one)
475 grams warm water
Building the starter
- First build: take one tablespoon of mature starter and add it to 50 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of room temperature filtered water. Let sit for between 8 to 12 hours at room temperature.
- Second build: add 75 grams of rye flour and 75 grams of room temperature filtered water to the first build. Let sit for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. You will end up with 250 grams of rye sourdough starter to use in your dough.
Mixing, proofing and shaping
- Combine the 250 grams of starter you made with 475 grams of warm water (80 to 85º F). Mix in the rest of the ingredients until everything is fully integrated and there are no more bits of dry flour. No kneading is necessary. Let the dough rest in a covered container for a half hour.
- Dust a counter or cutting board with flour. Rub your hands in some flour to prevent sticking. Dump the dough onto your work surface and form into a boule (round).
- Dust your banneton and the boule HEAVILY with rye flour. Place the boule into the banneton and cover. Let proof at room temperature for approximately 3 hours. Note that rye ferments considerably faster than wheat.
- A half hour before you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven and a dutch oven or combo cooker to 475º F.
- Just before you’re ready to bake, turn the oven down to 450º F. Put the boule into the dutch oven and cover. This style of bread is not slashed. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes remove the cover from your dutch oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until it is dark and the cracks in the loaf are just starting to burn. Josey Baker calls this “bold” baking. In other words don’t make the newbie mistake of pulling the loaf out of the oven too soon.
- Resist the urge to cut into the loaf until it has cooled and sat for many hours. It’s best to wait between 12 to 24 hours before cutting into the loaf.
It’s in German, but you can see this exact style of bread being baked in a wood fired oven. Note the steam is created by mopping the oven just before the loaves are tossed in: