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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

Ingredients:

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

Equipment:

8 oz jar

pint 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 Bread:

  • 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.
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GRAINS: Rye Flour,