Tuesday, December 1, 2009

R2R: Old World Rye

The Winner of our holiday poll for November was bread. And that makes me the host. I love bread, fresh from the oven with butter or in bread pudding once it is stale, the whole bread experience is a good one for me.

After much deliberation I decided I wanted a dark robust bread, something to go with stew and cheese or just to gobble down on its own. The kind you get at steak houses.

I looked at alot of different recipes before deciding to share my love of older cookbooks (I would say old but 1966 isn't that long ago). A World of Breads by Dolores Casella is one of those treasures you find on occasion, every recipe comes with a little story and the recipes themselves are pretty comprehensive. There are 8 rye bread recipes for example. I choose this one because of the addition of chocolate and molasses, though I will admit her story influenced me too.

This bread is moist and dark with lots of flavor. In Germany during the Second World War people were so hungry for good bread that they used to beg soldiers for what they called "soldiers' bread" -- dark, heavy, and full of flavor. I can only think that that bread was very similar to this one.

Old World Rye
A World of Breads by Dolores Casella, 1966
2 cups rye flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 T yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp salt
2 T caraway seed
2 T butter
2 1/2 cups white flour or whole wheat flour

Combine the rye flour and cocoa. do not sift.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
Mix molasses, 1 cup warm water, salt, and caraway seed in large mixing bowl.
Add the rye/cocoa mix, the proofed yeast, the butter and 1 cup white flour or whole wheat flour.
Beat until the dough is smooth.
Spread the remaining flour on a breadboard and kneed it into the dough
Add more flour if necessary to make a firm dough that is smooth and elastic.
Place in buttered bowl and cover. Allow to rise until double (about 2 hours).
Punch dough down, shape into a round loaf and place on a buttered cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.
Let rise about 50 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes.

You can add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup each of raisins and walnuts.
Don't limit yourself to round loaves, have fun.

And to prove that man CAN live by bread alone....
Back in the 1930's, a Cornell University professor named Clive McCay developed a bread recipe named Cornell Bread. It makes a complete protein that rats can live on exclusively. (The only reason that humans can't live on it exclusively is that it lacks vitamin C, which rats don't need.)

The Cornell formula to enrich bread consists of 1 tablespoon each soy flour and nonfat milk powder plus 1 teaspoon wheat germ for each cup of flour used in a bread recipe. These enrichments are placed in the bottom of the measuring cup before the flour is spooned in.

Temper's Take:
This was a dense moist bread that was darn good. I forgot the caraway seeds so it wasn't very ryey but the molasses taste came thru beautifully. I was disappointed that it wasn't a really dark chocolate brown more of a milk chocolate brown, but I have been told that color requires chemical additives (shame on you steak houses).