This traditional German bread takes a little while to prepare, so perfect for long weekends with nothing but time to watch dough rise.
Adapted from The Village Baker
1 cup rough cracked rye meal
1 cup very hot tap water
Mix and let sit for 12-15 hours.
¾ c whole rye or pumpernickel flour
1 1/2 c. water
¼ cup sourdough starter
All of the mush
All of the sponge
1 cup sourdough starter
2 ½ c. whole rye or pumpernickel flour
¼ cup warm water
2 tsp salt
Crushed rye grain, rye meal, or rolled oats for topping
1 whole egg mixed with 1 tbsp milk
2 tsp ground caraway (optional)
Add all the rest of the ingredients, including sponge to a bowl and mix for about 10 minutes. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a floured board.
Form into a loaf and place in a well-oiled bowl. The dough is very sticky and you can’t really see any gluten strands, but it is correct. Flour the top of the loaf, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour. Surprisingly, the loaf will rise a bit. A warm place will help this super dense dough.
When it is done rising, shape the loaf into a log, and place it in a greased loaf pan. Let rise again, covered, for two-ish hours (until an indentation made by a finger does not spring back quickly). Glaze the loaf and top with the rye meal and oats.
To bake the bread, preheat the oven to 425°F with a baking stone, if you have one. Place the bread (still in the form) directly on the baking stone and bake with steam for 25 minutes and dry, at 400 degrees, for about 45 minutes to an hour. If you are using a bread tin, rather than just on parchment on the stone, in the last 15 minutes, carefully remove the bread from the form and place it back in the oven, to dry out the sides of the loaf.
This is really dense, intensely flavored bread—best as a soup sponge. Like a tomato soup. Happy Labor Day to all!