This is not a blog entry.
Really. It isn’t and it’s not. This isn’t my usual words-with-recipes-and-purty-pictures thing that I’ve been trying to do every week since last July, but seem to have been failing miserably at since I haven’t posted anything since, what, April?
Something like that. Anyway.
I am going to get back to that, and soon. I really do miss writing and sharing my creations here, but life happens. One week I was a cancer patient finishing up her lymphedema physical therapy treatments and the week after that I was settling into a new job. I haven’t been in a classroom in well over ten years; in late August I’ll be firing up the laptop and re-starting my college career.
And the knitting, of course. There’s always the knitting.
Some things never change.
Here’s a recipe for a rye bread with an easy sourdough starter that you begin the night before. And you use it all, so you won’t have to worry about reserving a cup of it and feeding it every few days or so.
I always think of Audrey II; “feed me”.
Anyway, this is a mild rye bread, not the typical strong rye bread you might find in an East Coast deli. I thought it was a bit mild for my taste (I like a really pronounced rye flavor), but it’s a great loaf of bread. It’s from the late Sheila Lukins’ “USA Cookbook”.
Sourdough Rye Bread
- ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
- ½ cup rye flour
- 2 tsps. active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. caraway seeds
- 2 ½ cups unbleached white flour (I used half white, half wheat)
- 1 ½ cups rye flour, more if needed
- Yellow cornmeal, for the baking sheet
- Make the starter the day before you plan to make the bread: Stir the yeast into the warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Set it aside to proof, about 5 minutes. Add both flours, mix them into the yeast mixture until it’s all incorporated. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place overnight.
- The next day, make the dough: Stir the yeast into the warm water in a large bowl and set it aside until foamy, 5 minutes or so. Then add the starter and stir to dissolve. Add the salt, 2 Tbsp of the oil, sugar and caraway seeds and mix well. Gradually add the all-purpose flour and 1 ½ cups of the rye flour, mixing it with your hands until a stiff dough is formed.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding additional rye flour as necessary.
- Generously grease a large bowl with the 1 remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Scrape the dough into a ball and add it to the bowl, rolling the dough around to coat. cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, and set it aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into an elongated loaf, about 8 inches long, pushing the dough away from you and tapering the ends.
- Sprinkle a large baking sheet with the cornmeal. Place the 2 loaves on the sheet and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Set it aside in a warm place until the loaves have doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Fifteen minutes before the loaves go in, fill and 8-inch square baking pan with boiling water and place it on the bottom oven rack to create steam.
- Oh, about that. Make sure your oven is clean before you do this, otherwise you’ll set off every smoke alarm in the house. Ask me how I know.
- Using a razor blade or a very sharp knife, slash the loaves diagonally, about ¼ inch deep, in 4 places. Bake the loaves in the center of the oven until a deep golden brown, 40 minutes.
Cover the loaves with foil if they’re getting a little too brown. When they’re done, they’ll sound hollow on the bottom when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. They freeze beautifully and I think they’d make fabulous rolls, but I haven’t tried that yet. I will.
And they might go really, really well with some chilled cucumber yogurt soup, don’t you think?
This is from Moosewood’s “Daily Special”, and I really thought I’d posted this recipe last summer. Now it’s yours and it’s great for the really doggy days of summer when it’s just too freakin’ hot to cook.
It’s also really easy. I’m giving amounts here, but you can just eyeball those after you make it a few times. I also swap out the regular cukes called for in the original recipe for the much easier, unwaxed European cukes so this way there’s no peeling or seeding.
Cucumber Yogurt Soup
- 3 large European seedless cukes, chopped
- 2 cups plain, low-fat yogurt (Dannon is great. Try to use something without any gelatin or other weird thickening agents)
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (I use the green parts of fresh scallions)
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tbsps. chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tbsp. sunflower or other vegetable oil
- 2 tsps. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsps. honey
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Working in batches, puree it in a blender. Taste and add additional seasoning as necesary.
- Serve really, really cold. Taste it again for seasoning before serving.