Rye Bread from Bolzano

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READY IN: 2hrs 30mins
Recipe by gailanng

This from Rustico Cooking: This chewy, caraway-scented bread from Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige's second-largest city, is crunchy on the outside, wholesome, and absolutely addictive. Enriched with yogurt and eggs, only lightly sweetened, and dense, this is the kind of bread that is best enjoyed the same day it is baked, slathered with fresh, unsalted butter and accompanied by savory smoked hams (try a smoked Prosciutto called Speck for a truly authentic regional treat). The use of various grains, a bit of sugar, and spices like caraway and fennel seeds in the dough harks back to Trentino's significant Germanic influence. A TIP: Spray the bread with water from a spray bottle 3 times during the first 10 minutes of baking; the steam prevents the crust from forming too early, which in turn would prevent the bread from rising to its full potential in the oven. As the bread bakes, the humidity from the steam will eventually make the crust crisper.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Combine the rye flour, all-purpose flour and yeast in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the butter, egg, yogurt, salt, sugar, caraway seeds and fennel seeds.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, beat 1 cup of warm (110°) water into the four and yeast mixture in the bowl, then beat in the butter-egg-caraway seed mixture. Stir for 30 seconds, adding a little warm water if the dough is dry or a little all-purpose flour if it is very sticky (NOTE: rye doughs are always stickier and harder to work than wheat doughs, so be patient and don't add too much flour simply to prevent sticking, or the bread will too be dense).
  3. Turn the shaggy dough out onto the counter; knead 8 to 10 minutes, sprinkling with a whisper of all-purpose flour if the dough sticks to your hands or the counter. The dough should be smooth, supple and elastic when you are done kneading.
  4. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly floured bowl and turn to coat lightly with the flour on all sides; cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.
  5. Preheat the oven with a baking stone in it to 425°.
  6. Sprinkle the counter with the stone-ground whole wheat flour. Turn the dough out onto the counter over the flour. Cut into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch-long x 3-inch-wide loaf. Place on a cornmeal-dusted tray about 4 inches apart, cover with a towel and let rest 30 minutes.
  7. Uncover the loaves. Transfer to a cornmeal-dusted baking peel and slash the top of each loaf diagonally 3 times with a sharp knife or blade.
  8. Dust the top with a light sprinkling of flour (the goal is to make the flour form a coating on the dough, not to be incorporated in the dough).
  9. Transfer directly to the baking stone; bake 30 minutes or until golden-brown and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped, misting 3 times with water during the first 10 minutes of baking (be sure to close the oven immediately upon misting the loaves).
  10. Remove to a rack (to keep crust crips) and cool to room temperature.

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