Mom’s German Light Rye Bread
You may remember my Mom’s Strawberry Jam recipe from last week. I promised the bread recipe to go along with it. Mom makes this every time she comes. This recipe makes 4 of the smaller size bread loaves (I think they’re the 7 x 3 inch ones). One demands to be sliced immediately and the other three go into freezer bags to be savored for later. We space out eating the other three as treats when we feel a need for something special until Mom returns to make it again!
This is a German light rye loaf that is soft and dense inside while the outside is crusty and yummy. You can get the light rye flour from your local bakery or sometimes find it right at the grocery store. This recipe has been handed down from one German-Russian to another. My Mom came in possession of it years ago and makes it quite often. When this bread is baking, my kids and Mr. Wonderful keep drifting into the kitchen to see if it’s ready to eat yet. Someone inevitable pulls the freshly made strawberry jam and butter out in preparation for when the piping hot fresh loaves come out of the oven. Mom rubs them with water and lets them cool a bit, which makes us all the antsier! This makes the crust extra-crispy for whatever reason, and it’s so delicious!
Follow along with me as mom makes this delectable bread!
Begin by finding a really HUGE bowl. You will need it. Mix together – 4 cups lukewarm water, 1 package of quick-rising yeast, 2 cups light rye flour and 4 cups of bread flour. Mix with a strong spoon until all ingredients are mixed together well.
It will be rather soupy at this point. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to sit six hours or overnite.
When we pulled the towel off the next morning, this is what the “sponge” looks like. The mixture should have puffed up and have what appears to be sponge holes in it.
Now we added 2 tablespoons of salt and 6 more cups of bread flour to the “sponge”.
We don’t usually measure with plastic baggies. Mom brought all the ingredients pre-measured with her. She even brought the pans, scraper and salt….
Now she mixed again, but this time with her hands (put a little cool water on them first) until the dough began to pull away from the sides of the bowl into a nice lump of dough. Knead it for a minute.
Eventually this is what you want.
Cover this once again with your towel and let raise until it doubles in size. This takes a couple of hours.
Now you probably need to wash your hands and dust your counter with bread flour. See that white scraper? This is very handy to scrape the dough out of the pan onto the counter.
Take your loaf pans, spray them with cooking spray, and sprinkle some flour in them as well. This keeps the bread from sticking to the pan.
Have a little bowl of cool water handy and nearby.
Dump your dough out onto your floured counter top.
Dip your hands into the cool water from your bowl. Using a large knife, cut your dough into four equal parts. Mom says to dip the knife into the water also for easy cutting.
Wet your hands again. Take one of your portions of dough. Using your hands, mold your lump of dough into a oval loaf that will fit nicely in your pan. Rub cool water over the top of the loaf before placing into the pan. This will make a nice smooth top and also helps make it crusty.
Place your bread into the pan.
Shake your bread lengthwise a couple of times in the pan to evenly distribute the dough in the pan and level it out. Follow these steps for your other three loaves.
Put your pans away from drafts. I think mom put hers in the oven to rise this time. Let sit for another hour or so until the dough rises and puffs above the top of the pans.
Bake your bread loaves at 375° for 55 minutes to one hour. Remove from the oven and again, lightly rub with the cold water.
Carefully turn out of your pans.
I wish you could smell this…or taste it.
But wait. Remember this?
You will need this to go alongside of your bread. It’s like salt and pepper or soprano and alto…they just GO together! Mom also brings Amish rolled butter from northern Michigan with her to go with the bread and jam.
And to accompany the German theme, I put them on the cutting board my German Grandpa Alex made me when I was little. You can see where he scrawled my name across it using a “y” instead of an “ie” for Katie. He used to call me Kucha actually in German, but I have no idea how to spell that properly!
It is the perfect serving board for the perfect bread.
And, this is the perfect snack for morning, noon and even a late night treat before bed. If you take the time to make this recipe, it’ll be a keeper!
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Homemade German Light Rye Bread
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Mom’s Strawberry Freezer Jam
Cooking with Love