It has become a Sunday tradition in our house. My black apron, the sound of bowls clanking as I set up my mise en place, the mess of flour on the counters, the smell of yeast fermentation and eventually that unmistakable aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven.
For me, bread making is both a necessity and a desire. When we first moved into the house, I decided to take on an approach of why buy that which we can make. In the beginning, when we went to the grocery store, we were still buying store-bought bread. Then I began to research what went into making bread. However, in traditional me fashion, I did not go for a simple white bread, NOPE, I decided the first bread I wanted to make was a rye bread from my wife who loves rye bread.
So I went online, as any home cook would do, and I found an easy to follow recipe off a youtube video. I made the dough and it did not rise. It was dense and heavy and just sucked. So, I looked into the the recipe and looked to see what went wrong. The original recipe called for instant yeast. So I changed it, I used an active dry yeast. This time the dough rose the way it should but when it baked it was still dense. So I did more research and discovered vital wheat gluten. Based on what I read, vital wheat gluten should be added to whole grain bread such as rye because the rye flour does not allow for full gluten development. So I added 6 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. This time the bread came out the way I wanted it too.
Dutch Oven Rye Bread Recipe:
- 1½ tablespoons yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1½ cup rye flour
- 3+ cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- ¼ tsp cornstarch + ¼ cup water
- In a large, combine the yeast, water, salt, caraway, and rye flour. Add in all-purpose flour 1 cup at a time, adding more if necessary to form a dough ball. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes. The dough should be soft, not stiff, but should hold together on its own without being overly sticky.
- Transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
- Shape it into a loaf by stretching the dough from the top center of the dough ball over the edges, and then underneath. It should look and feel like you are holding the loaf with two hands and are pulling the dough inside out with your thumbs. Give several of those pulls with your thumbs until you have a nice looking little loaf.
- Dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour and put the dough ball on the paper. Gently flour the top of the loaf and cover again with plastic wrap until dutch oven is ready.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Once the oven is preheated place covered dutch oven in to preheat for 45 minutes
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the ¼ cup water. Microwave for 45 seconds. Brush the cornstarch liquid on top of the loaf and cut several parallel lines on the top.
- Place dough and parchment paper directly into dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 if desired for a crispy crust.
- Allow loaf to cool on a rack completely before storing in a zip top bag.