As a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, NY, it was always a rare treat to enjoy a meal at one of the many area restaurants. I remember particularly looking forward to eating at the local pizzeria (hence my attempt at recreating New York-style pizza), the not-so-local Chinese restaurant (my foray into Chinese cuisine can be the topic of a whole separate blog!) and the kosher delicatessen. As far as deli was concerned, for me, sandwiches of corned beef or beef tongue piled high on Jewish rye bread with mustard and a kosher dill pickle on the side just couldn’t be beat.
I’ve always wanted to recreate the Jewish rye bread of my youth but with some minor “upgrades”. Firstly, I’ve always thought that the rye taste was terribly overpowered by the flavor of the added caraway seeds. So instead of baking a light rye, which is typically 10-15% rye flour (baker’s percentage), I decided to go with a heartier 40% rye and cut back on the caraway seeds. Secondly, the crust on a typical Jewish rye can tend to be rubbery with little flavor. The deeply flavored, crackly-crisp crust (how’s that for alliteration?) of a hearth-baked loaf is what is needed here.
The formula below is a modification of the 40% Caraway Rye described in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. The amount of caraway has been cut in half and the rye sour has been made up at 100% hydration.
- 360 g Medium Rye Flour
- 360 g Water
- 20 g Sourdough Starter
- 545 g King Arthur All Purpose Flour
- 260 g Water
- 740 g (all of the above) Rye Sour
- 1 Tsp. Instant Yeast
- 15 g Salt
- 15 g Caraway Seeds
The evening before the bake, prepare the rye sour by mixing together the rye flour, water and mature sourdough starter until homogeneous. Let sit overnight for 12-14 hours at 78-80°F.
The next morning, combine the all purpose flour, water, instant yeast and sourdough starter with a dough whisk, adding additional water if necessary to obtain a dough of medium consistency (20 g of additional water was needed in this case). Turn the dough out of the mixing bowl onto your work surface and begin hand kneading (Musings on Mixing…) the somewhat sticky dough until it just starts to come together. Add the salt and continue hand mixing until the dough reaches medium development, about 10-15 minutes. Add the caraway seeds and hand mix just until evenly distributed within the dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover, and let ferment at 78-80°F for 1 hour. Divide the dough into 1 1/2 lb. pieces, lightly round and let rest under a plastic sheet for 10 minutes. Shape the pieces into batards (Alternate Batard Shaping), place the batards seam side down on a couche and let proof for an additional hour.
After the hour, turn the batards onto a peel, score the batards, load into the oven and bake at 450°F with steam for the first 15 minutes of baking. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming cover, turn the oven down to 425°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before you slather slices with mustard and build overstuffed sandwiches filled with your favorite deli meat.