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German Sourdough Bread

August 2, 2009

One of my favorite parts of living in Germany was the abundance of fresh, hearty breads.  The bakers there do so much with “alternative” flours and whole grains, and the end result is not something that we can easily find here in the U.S.    Recently, I decided to try out a variety of recipes to find at least one new bread that I want to make at home for my sandwiches and snacks.  This weekend I tested out a sourdough bread with rye and caraway seeds.  The fun part was using a basket to form the pattern on the top.  You don’t have to use one for the second proofing, but it sure looks cool!

German Sourdough Rye Bread

German Sourdough Rye Bread

A day and a half to two days before you want to make this, you will need to prepare the sourdough starter…

  • 3/4 c rye flour
  • 1/3 c warm water
  • Sprinkling of caraway  seeds
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the rye flour, water and seeds to make a soft paste.  You can use a spoon or your fingers!
  2. Cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap.  Let sit in a warm place for about 36 hours.  Stir after 24 hours.

The day of baking, here’s what you do:

  • 5 1/2 t yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 1 2/3 c lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 c rye flour
  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 t salt
  1. In a measuring cup, blend the yeast with the warm water.  Let sit 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the sourdough starter and mix thoroughly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the rye flour, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt.  Make a well in the center; pour in the yeast/water mixture.  Stir to gradually mix until your dough sticks together.  You may need to add a little extra water.
  4. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth together. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.
  5. Flour a woven basket well.  Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter again and knead gently.  Shape into a round and place in the floured basket with the seam side up.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again, in a warm place, another 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 and turn load onto well-greased baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  It’s done when the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it!
  8. Cook on a wire rack and enjoy toasty slices with sharp cheese or creamy butter.  Yumm!
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