Latvian sourdough rye bread (saldskaaba maize)

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
3½ cup Plus 1 tablespoon apple cider
2 tablespoons Caraway seeds
5½ cup (or more) whole grain (coarse) rye flour (i.e., Hodgson Mill)
1 cup Sourdough starter (1:1 ratio water:bread flour)
1 tablespoon Yeast
1 teaspoon Salt
2½ cup Bread flour
\N \N Vegetable oil spray (Pam; etc.)
1 \N Egg
\N \N Rye flakes

OPTIONAL

Heat 3 cups apple cider and 2 tablespoons caraway seeds to boiling; pour over 3 cups of coarse rye flour and stir. Let mixture cool. Add 1 cup active sourdough starter and mix well. The mixture will resemble heavy porridge as the rye flour absorbs the apple cider. Sprinkle ½ cup coarse rye flour over the mixture but do not stir at this point.

Cover your bowl with a dish towel, and then wrap the covered bowl with a beach towel or blanket. Put wrapped bowl in a warm spot (next to a heat register is good) and allow the mixture to ferment for up to 24 hours (less time if you think it will be too sour).

Dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast in ½ cup warm (105-115 degrees Farenheit) apple cider. Let the yeast mixture bubble and then add it to the sourdough mixture. Gradually add 1 teaspoon salt, 2-½ cups bread flour, and 2 cups coarse rye flour. Knead with your heavy-duty electric mixer. If the dough seems too wet, add more rye flour (wet dough will result in a soggy baked brick). This type of bread is tricky to make, as the dough is always very sticky from the rye; it takes some trial and error to get a feel for the dough. If the dough is too wet, it becomes slack after a while; the correct consistency of dough remains rather firm.

Spray a Formica countertop or a marble pastry board with vegetable cooking spray. Use a small plastic pan scraper or something like that to scrape your dough out of the bowl and onto your work surface. Using a bench knife/dough scraper, divide the dough into two equal chunks. Wet your hands with water and keep a bowl of water handy for additional dipping. Form the dough into two loaves on the oiled surface, using just your wet hands; do not add flour at this point. Place the loaves into oiled bread pans (8-½" x 4-½"). Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place. Believe it or not, this very heavy dough WILL rise. OPTIONAL (not a traditional method): Brush on glaze made with 1 egg that's been mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider; sprinkle with rye flakes (obtainable from a food co-op).

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees Farenheit; then turn heat down to 350 degrees Farenheit and continue to bake for an additional hour. Don't underbake. Remove loaves from pans and allow to cool on a rack.

POSTSCRIPT: When measuring flour, I do not fluff and scoop into separate measuring cups; rather I just use my measuring cup to do the scooping and then level it off with a spatula. My resulting "cups" are probably somewhat on the dense side as a result of this.

If anyone is interested in a "true sourdough" Latvian rye bread (using only sourdough starter but no additional yeast), I can post a recipe for it later on. The recipe differs from the one here in several ways: by including water and sugar, rather than apple cider; it uses a different (coffee flavored) glaze; it's a one-day process, rather than two-day like the recipe posted here; it uses a different type of sourdough starter.

Posted to Digest bread-bakers.v097.n052 by "Angie Klidzejs" <klidz002@...> on Aug 13, 1997

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