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Scandinavian Rye Scandinavian Rye

From The Book of Bread by Judith & Evan Jones (see link below), an adaptation of a recipe by Beatrice Ojakangas.

Steve adds: I love baking bread and this is one of the best experiences I've had in the kitchen. The loaves, all three of them, are beautifully dark and incredibly fragrant. See note below about adding a second rise.

1 c. water
1/2 c. molasses
grated rind of six oranges
2 T. fennel seed
2 T. caraway seed
1 T. butter
1 T. coarse salt (or 2 tsp. table salt)

2 c. buttermilk (or 2 c. whole milk with 2 T. lemon juice added)
1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 T. dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water

4 c. rye flour
3-4 c. white flour

1 T. molasses mixed with 1 T. water

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the first seven ingredients and warm until butter melts. Stir in buttermilk and soda. Remove from heat.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl until creamy and puffed. Stir in molasses mixture, then rye flour and then the 3 cups of the white flour, a little at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Knead dough for 10 minutes - adding more white flour as needed - but note that dough may never give up its tacky feel and though the urge to keep adding more flour will be great, resist it.

Place dough in greased bowl, turn to coat, wrap with plastic and let rise in warm spot until double in bulk, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and knead a few times. [note from steve: I let my dough rise a second time at this stage. I was in no hurry and think a second rise produces a better bread with more complexity and depth of flavor].

Divide dough into 3 parts and shape into round or oblong loaves. Arrange on buttered baking sheet, Use a sharp knife to cut a large cross on the rounds (or slashes on the oblongs). Let loaves rise again for about an hour or until double in bulk. During this last rise, preheat your oven well, to 375. Baked loaves for 35 minutes, preparing glaze during this time.

Remove loaves from oven, brush with glaze and bake for 5 more minutes.

Transfer to racks and cool completely.

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