Homemade Rye Berry Bread

7 Oct

Part of the fun of the October Unprocessed challenge is trying new things! So on my last trip to the co-op, I bought rye berries. I had no idea what a rye berry was, what you could do with it, or even how it tasted. Turns out: that’s what rye bread is made out of! Well, mostly rye flour. And being that my sister is an amazing bread baker, I got the rest of the necessary ingredients and we spent Saturday making these amazing, whole grain, healthy and hearty rye bread loaves.

It’s a lot of work to make bread from scratch, but it is SO worth it. The smell, texture, taste and knowledge of its ingredients make it that much better. And the first bite into the “end piece” – hard and crunchy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside – is one of the little things that make life fantastic.

So if you have a free day, and some elbow grease at your disposal, try making this! You and your family won’t regret it.

Homemade Rye Berry Bread

Homemade Rye Berry Bread, from Food & Wine

Makes two 9″ round loaves

Sponge:

  • 3 C organic whole wheat flour
  • 3 C room temp water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast

Bread:

  • 1 C whole rye berries (measures to 6oz)
  • 3 C room temp water
  • Sea salt
  • 4 C whole grain organic rye flour
  • 1 C organic whole wheat flour
  • Cornmeal, for dusting

The night before you want to make this, create the sponge:

Mix the whole wheat flour with the water and yeast in a large bowl until blended. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand overnight at room temperature.

In the morning:

In a medium saucepan, cover the rye berries with 3 C water, add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the rye berries are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature. (Go workout or something in the mean time – that’s what I did).

Add the rye berries to the sponge. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the rye flour, whole wheat flour and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of salt. When the dough becomes too stiff to mix, scrape it out onto a clean, floured work surface. Lightly knead the dough, adding any leftover flour, until the dough forms a cohesive but sticky mass. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Cover and let stand in a cool place until the dough increases in volume by two-thirds and holds an impression when lightly pressed, about 2 hours. (Make lunch, do the laundry, go do anything)

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, briefly knead the dough. Cut it in half and shape each half into a 7-inch round. Sprinkle a large rimless baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Transfer the loaves to the sheet, leaving about 3 inches between them. Let stand in a cool place, uncovered, until dough is well risen and holds a slight impression when lightly pressed, about 1 hour. (Yep, another hour to wait)

Preheat the oven to 350. Once hot,  bake the loaves on their baking sheet for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 and continue baking for 45 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely risen and browned; they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer the loaves to a rack to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing. (Original instructions said FOUR hours – I think not!)

Eat the bread! Saw into it with a good serrated bread knife and savor the taste of your hard work. Slather with homemade jam (thanks, Oma!), salty butter, apple butter, anything. We made runny fried eggs and the yolks were perfect to dip in.

Keep any leftover bread in the refrigerator in airtight containers or bags for up to 10 days. HA! As if this will last 10 whole days!

Homemade Rye Berry Bread

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