Spiral Rye Loaf

 

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Rye bread is one of my favorites. I love the denser texture, and the nuttiness that comes from the caraway seeds. I remember being fascinated by marble ryes even as a kid – they’re just so pretty, especially when sliced.

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This recipe was adapted from the Marbled Rye Bread” in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Originally, both dark and light rye dough are made with caraway seeds. This loaf has caraway seeds in the light rye, and cumin seeds in the dark. My mom once mistakenly added cumin seeds to her rye instead of caraway seeds, and I actually loved the result so I started incorporating both in my rye loaves. Feel free to adjust this to taste – use caraway in both, cumin in both, or if you’re really feeling wild put cumin in the light and caraway in the dark.

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This loaf is braided in a circle, resulting a two toned concentric spiral. When sliced through, the inside has that distinct marbling.

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Bread flour, rye flour, salt, yeast and caraway or cumin seeds are combined with water, shortening or lard, and molasses to make the dough. The dark rye also has cocoa powder to give it a rich, dark color.

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After the first rise, each dough is divided into four equal parts, and rolled out into strips of equal length, about 24 inches long. Use the least amount of flour possible at this stage. Too much flour coating the dough will make it harder to roll out into thin, long pieces.

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The strips of dough are grouped into sets of two of the same color. The dark strips are transferred to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and set side by side. Then the light strips are woven through the dark strips at a right angle, overlapping roughly in the center of the strips. This will yield four pairs of strips of the same color.

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For each pair of strips, the one that was underneath another strip in the center overlap is crossed over the one that was originally on top.

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Next, each dark strip is crossed with a light strip that is now next to it. Again, take the one that was underneath in the previous overlap, and cross it over the one that was on top.

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Repeat this process again with strips of the same color.

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And again with strips of opposite colors.

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Continue weaving until you run out of dough, and tuck the ends in after the final cross.

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Take some pictures for Instagram, send some Snapchats, do your social media thing. Then prove the dough for 60-90 minutes until it’s and about 1-1/2 times its original size. Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 45 minutes at 350°F. The best way to tell that its baked is to put a thermometer into the center; it should be about 190°F. You don’t need anything fancy to do this, I just use a clean meat thermometer.

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Let the bread cool completely before slicing. Enjoy

Spiral Rye Loaf

Ingredients

For the light rye:

-6 ounces (about 1-1/2 cups) sprouted rye flour

-13.5 ounces (about 3 cups) bread flour

-1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

-1-3/4 teaspoons instant yeast

-1-1/2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds

-1-2/3 cups water, lukewarm

-1 tablespoon molasses

-1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) shortening or lard, at room temperature

For the dark rye:

-6 ounces (about 1-1/2 cups) sprouted rye flour

-13.5 ounces (about 3 cups) bread flour

-1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

-1-3/4 teaspoons instant yeast

-1-1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds

-1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) cocoa powder

-1-3/4 cups water, lukewarm

-1 tablespoon molasses

-1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) shortening or lard, at room temperature

For the egg wash

-1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Directions

  1. For the Light Rye Combine rye flour, bread flour, salt, yeast and caraway seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the water, shortening and molasses. With the stand mixer on low speed slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and allow to mix until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium for about 4 minutes, or knead by hand. The dough should feel smooth and slightly tacky, but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and allow to rise for about 90 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
  2. For the Dark Rye Combine rye flour, bread flour, salt, yeast, cumin seeds and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the water, shortening and molasses. With the stand mixer on low speed slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and allow to mix until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium for about 4 minutes, or knead by hand. The dough should feel smooth and slightly tacky, but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and allow to rise for about 90 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
  3. Transfer each dough from the bowl to a clean surface. Divide each dough ball into four equal pieces, and roll into long, thin strips about 24 inches long. You should have 4 strips of light rye, and 4 strips of dark rye. Group the strips into sets of two of the same color.
  4. Transfer the two sets of dark rye strips to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Weave the sets of light rye strips through the dark rye at a perpendicular angle. The overlap should be in the center of the strips, yielding four sets of strips that fan out from the center perpendicular to each other. Cross each pair of strips of the same color, crossing the strip that was underneath in the original overlap over the strip that was originally on top. Next, cross each pair of opposite colored strips that are now next to each other, again crossing the strip that was underneath in the previous overlap, over the strip that was on top in the previous overlap. Repeat this with strips of the same color, and then opposite colors until the dough is too short to continue weaving, and tuck the ends in underneath the loaf after the final cross. Cover the dough, and allow to prove for 60-90 minutes until the loaf is about 1-1/2 times the original size. See pictures in the post for clarification on the weaving process.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the loaf with the egg wash, and bake for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The internal temperature of the bread should be about 190°F.
  6. Cool completely before slicing.

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