Farmer Kevin's Rye Bread
A robust, dense rye bread that improves with age. You can leave it on the counter for a week and it just gets better! It is made over a process of several days, yet requires just a little attention at each step.
Makes one hearty loaf
8 oz jar of ripe starter
5 cups SCF rye flour
1½ cups SCF rye flour to feed starter
2 cups water
additional ½ rye flour and ¼ water for starter
1 tsp salt
8 oz jar
a large ceramic or glass mixing bowl
a medium sized ceramic or glass bowl
a large rubber spatula
a clean cotton towel
a cast iron dutch oven
- The morning before you bake the bread, take the contents of an 8oz jar of starter, and combine it with 1 cup rye flour and ½ cup water in a fresh pint jar. Let that stand at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours. Replenish starter with ½ cup rye flour and ¼ cup water, mix, and store in fridge.
- In the evening, empty the jar of starter into a large ceramic bowl. Add 5 cups of rye flour, salt, and 2 cups of water, and mix using the spatula until it forms a uniform dough ball. Careful not to over-mix.
- Cover with a towel and let sit for 12 to 24 hours in a cool place. We use our pantry.
- When it comes time to bake the bread, pre-heat the oven to 500˚ with the dutch oven inside.
- Knead the bread with the rubber spatula, dipping it in water first to avoid sticking. Continue until you have a smooth surface on the dough ball.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured cloth; Kevin uses 1/3 cup barley flour.
- Put cloth wrapped dough in a smaller sized bowl that hugs the dough, helping it keep it’s shape.
- Let sit in a warm place for about 1 hour; usually the top of the oven works well.
- After it has noticeably risen, turn the dough – with one swift move – into the hot dutch oven. This part takes practice (and ample flour on the cloth helps too.)
- Slit the top in a cross-hatch pattern, about a ¼ inch into the dough with a sharp knife.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes, being careful not to over-brown.
- Immediately remove from dutch oven, brush or tap off excess flour, and cool on a wire rack; allow to set for at least 12 hours before cutting.