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Bohemian Rye Bread

Sometimes it's called Deli Rye, sometimes it's called Bohemian Rye, but Peter Pan All Purpose flour Bohemian Rye Breadeither way it's a light grey rye bread filled with sourness, caraway seeds, and Peter Pan AP Bohemian Rye - slicedflavor. Hickory Farm stores and deli's everywhere sell this bread. It's a rye bread so good it will make your toes curl. Slice it thick, slice it thin, cover it with meat and cheese, cover it with lox, it will be a delight. I've heard reports that some people even eat Nutella on it. (Actually, I've been known to do that. It's a lot better than it sounds. In fact, I do like it.)

This recipe is from Beatrice Ojakangas's Great Whole Grain Breads, modified to use sourdough starter.

Since I posted this recipe, it has become very difficult to get medium rye flour. If you can't find medium rye flour, you have a problem. Light rye doesn't deliver the flavor we are looking for. Dark or whole rye flours handle very differently. As a result, I've reworked this recipe to use whole rye flour and posted it as New Bohemian Rye Bread. If you want to make this bread but don't have medium rye flour, I strongly suggest trying the New Bohemian Rye Bread recipe.

This recipe is for two 1 3/4 pound loaves. Please be aware that the cups and gram measurements are approximations of one another. Most people who measure in grams do not want to weigh out 1,234 grams. 1,230 is close enough. Nor do people using cups want strange cup measurements like 3/16 cup. So, please don't think that, for example, 90 grams of flour is 1/2 cup.

Ingredients:

Volumetric MeasureIngredientGramsBaker's Percentage
1 3/4 CupsActive Sourdough Starter (1)420 Grams47%
2 CupsWater470 Grams53%
2 2/3 TBSPButter (Softened but still solid)38 Grams4.3%
3 3/4 CupsUnbleached All-Purpose flour470 Grams53%
4 1/8 Cups (2)Medium Rye Flour420 Grams47%
1 TBSPSalt17.8 Grams2%
1 YBSPCaraway Seeds (3)7 Grams.75%

  1. I use a white flour starter for this bread. You may use a rye starter and adjust the amounts of rye flour and white flour called for to compensate for the difference.
  2. This isn't a typo. A cup of sifted wheat flour weighs about 125 grams, a cup of sifted rye flour about 102 grams.
  3. Use more, or less, caraway seeds.  Some people love them, some hate them, so do what makes you happy here.

Method:
If you are weighing your ingredients, put all the ingredients in your mixing bowl,Bohemian rye bread nutritional analysis stir until the mixture is too thick to comfortably stir, and then skip to the paragraph that starts, "Next, pour out..."

If you are measuring by volume, put the starter, all-purpose flour, water, caraway seeds, salt and softened butter into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Add the rye flour a half cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to mix.

Next, pour out the dough onto a kneading board, cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes. This will let the flour absorb moisture, and will make kneading easier. You should let the dough rest, even if you are kneading with a machine.

Next knead for 10 minutes or so, until the bread is smooth and satiny. Try not to add very much additional flour, but you may need to adjust the liquid/flour mix.

Form the dough into a ball, wash the mixing bowl, oil it lightly, put the ball of dough in the bowl, and turn the dough over to make sure it's covered evenly with oil.

Cover the mixing bowl, and place the loaf in a warm place (80 - 90F) to rise until doubled.

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, knead it a few times, and cut it into two rough loaf shapes.

Let the dough rest covered for 30 minutes or so.

Complete the loaf forming. You may want to put this bread into a banneton or brotform although a bread pan works well also.

Cover the loaf and let rise until almost doubled.

Preheat your oven to 450F. Once it's at temperature, put the bread in the oven, put a cup of water into a pan on the bottom of the oven, and bake 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F. Bake another 45 minutes or so.

As with most rye breads, this is better, and easier to slice, the second day than the first.

8 thoughts on “Bohemian Rye Bread”

  1. This bread was wonderful even though I messed up the baking routine. I baked one in dutch oven and one in the cast iron frying pan both with covers initially. Flavor is great. Beautiful texture.

    1. Hi Karen,
      That is great to hear! That is one of my favorite breads. If you have pictures, I’d love to see them! Until we find a way to let site visitors upload pictures, you could email them to me. If you’d like, I could share them on the website – or not, as you prefer. Either way, I’d love to see them.
      -Mike

    1. Hi Victoria,
      Your question is a very reasonable one. And yet, a very difficult one to answer.

      Baker’s yeast is very predictable. and even there predicting rise time is tricky. I made a recipe in one of Julia Child’s cookbooks for a brioche. I was going to make the dough in Galveston and bake in Austin after a 5 or 6 hour drive. From what Julia said, that should be OK. However, my unairconditioned car in Texas was considerably hotter than her Massachusetts kitchen. An hour into the drive I had to pull over and knead the dough – it was overflowing the mixing bowl! That happened two more times in the trip.

      Sourdough adds SO many more variables. How healthy and rapid is your starter? How warm, or cool, is your kitchen? Do you have Solar Hands?

      A new wrinkle has been popping up of late. Historically people let the dough rise until it was doubled in size. Now, more bakers are only looking for a 25 to 50% rise in the bulk, or first, rise. This changes timings considerably. Doing this give the bread a much more dramatic oven spring and I am playing with this approach.

      Due to all the uncertainty, I just don’t talk about rise time. Normally the second rise takes about half the time of the first, assuming the first and second rise are at the same temperature – many people like to have the second rise in a refrigerator, wine cooler, a cool basement or other cool area – which changes the timing considerably.

      So…. keep an eye on the dough and watch it. It will let you know what to do.
      -Mike

  2. I made this today and it looks and tastes wonderful. I used high gluten bread flour (14%) and whole grain rye. Followed all the weights in the recipe and baked it in a dutch oven. My starter was mostly white at 100% hydration. Thanks for the great recipe.

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