No matter what the time of day, everyone loves a quickie. You should’ve heard my wife, “Oh, this is so good, she moaned.” I looked at her. What about our neighbors? Or our daughter. Did you forget that she’s in the next room? “Oh, this is sooooo good.” I couldn’t get her to quiet down. “More. Give me more.” There was only one thing to do. I handed her another slice of bread and then moved the loaf out of her sight.
I usually bake bread that I start mixing the day before I plan to bake it. Although waiting 18 hours to bake bread might seem inconvenient—and to some of you—downright crazy, strangely, once you get the scheduling down, there’s a convenience to it. However, some days you just need a “quickie,” which in bread hours means taking a loaf out of the oven three to four hours after you start mixing ingredients together. My new “quickie” and as you can tell, my wife’s new favorite is the recipe for rye and caraway bread that is in Bread, the 12th and latest book written by global baker and TV host Dan Brettschneider. Click here for a link to a short video of Brettschneider kneading dough.
I was looking for a loaf of bread that didn’t require a long fermentation so that we could eat it with dinner. I also thought it would be a nice change of pace from the breads that I had been baking. Brettschneider first experienced this bread when he was eating a sandwich at a Jewish deli in New York. I seriously underestimated how good this would taste. Cocoa powder produced a dark crumb color and filled my kitchen with a chocolaty aroma. In a way, it did transport me back to the streets of my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, when, on my way home from the bakery, I would keep reaching into the waxed bag containing a loaf of rye bread that I was supposed to be bringing to my family. I rarely eat pastrami or corned beef anymore but after the first bite I was ready to drive to Costco and buy kosher pastrami. Brettschnieder suggests trying it with pulled pork. Maybe, but to the Brooklyn boy in me, that just sounds sacrilegious.
I tend to favor the flavor and depth of character in breads that use very little yeast and have long rises. This bread reminds me that sometimes there’s nothing better than a “quickie.” I think my wife would agree. She’s having another slice.
Generous 2 cups (350 grams) bread flour
1½ cups (150 grams) rye flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) salt
2 heaping teaspoons (10 grams) sugar
2½ teaspoons (7 grams) yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
2¾ tablespoons (15 grams) cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons (10 grams) molasses
3 tablespoons (20 grams) caraway seeds
1⅓ cups water
Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add water, olive oil, and molasses, and mix together to form rough dough.
Knead for up to fifteen minutes, either by hand or in a mixer, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until double in bulk (about an hour), then stretch the dough up and over itself a few times to deflate it very gently. Cover, and leave for another half an hour.
Gently tip dough onto a floured work surface and very gently shape it into a round ball.
Allow the dough to rest for fifteen minutes or so, then flatten the dough and repeat the process. Gently place in a flour-dusted banneton (or bowl). Cover and let it rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 500°. Place dough into oven and create steam by either spritzing with water or pouring 1 cup of boiling water onto a tray. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate bread and reduce temperature to 400°. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Loaf should be dark golden brown in color. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.