Dark and nutty, rich and flavorful; this loaf is reminiscent of the rye farm loaves of Eastern Europe. This dough is sticky to work with but if carefully handled springs to life in the oven. NOTE: This recipe works best with a baking stone, but a baking sheet may also be used. In that case, preheating the baking sheet is not necessary. The texture of the crust may be different, but it will still bake nicely.
- 1-2/3 cups water
- 1/3 cup sourdough starter
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 cups medium rye flour
- 1-1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
- 1-3/4 tsp. sea salt
- The night before baking the bread, combine water, sourdough starter, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Combine the flours, caraway seeds, and sea salt in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three stages, stirring with a wooden spoon between each addition until well mixed. The dough will be wet and sticky.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate, wait 15 minutes , then stir the dough again for 2-3 minutes. Repeat 15 minute rest and stirring one final time before covering bowl with plastic wrap and fermenting at room temperature for 12 hours.
- In the morning, scrape the sticky dough out onto a well-floured surface. Flour top of dough lightly andgently press it with clean fingertips into a rectangle approximately 10-12 inches long. (This step is not meant to de-gas the bread so don’t be too vigorous.) Visually divide the dough into thirds and fold each of the ends over the middle, one following the other. With floured hands, roll the dough into the shape of a round boule.
- Line a large bowl with a well-floured kitchen towel and place the shaped loaf into bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise 2-4 hours in a warm place. The dough shouldn’t rise to twice its size, but it should be fluffy and springy as it was just after the 12-hour fermentation.
- Once the dough is ready to bake, place a baking stone* into oven and preheat the oven to 475°F. Once preheated, carefully turn the dough out from the bowl and onto the baking stone. Quickly slash the dough twice with a very sharp knife; turn 90 degrees and slash twice more to form a sort of tic-tac-toe shape. Close oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until an internal temperature of 180-200°F is reached.
- Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.