A Harmony of Flavors

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Caraway Rye Bread; a Favorite

I love bread. I guess too much of anything is not great, but it is difficult to live without bread. When I started delving into the concept of Gluten Free baking, what I read everywhere is the lament about good bread being a scarce commodity on that kind of diet. I did find lots and lots of recipes for gluten-free breads. I was just afraid to try them out. My best and longest friend decided to go gluten-free long ago and told me how, despite that she is an excellent baker, her GF breads came out like bricks.

Well, being me, and having been making bread for over 40 years, this seemed like a challenge. I tried a recipe from Gluten Free Girl's website, going on the concept of a no-knead bread, and while it made two exceptionally tiny loaves, the bread was just to-die-for good. Ever since, I have been meaning to go back and try some others, just so I can say I CAN do it, but so far other things have gotten in the way.

Three loaves of Caraway Rye Bread
Meanwhile, I still make all our bread in the house. Regular bread with wheat flours, of course. To my knowledge I am not gluten intolerant, so it has not been a priority. When I discovered Mark Bittman's adaptation of Jim Lahey's No-Knead bread recipe, I totally fell in love. I have been making that bread nearly constantly for almost 2 years now (hard to believe). In a recent blog post I talked about the different variations I have tried of this bread, but mainly I just love the plain no-knead bread. It is marvelous. Why mess with such a great thing?

However, despite how  much I love that bread, I still make my Mom and Grandma's rich egg bread that was made only for Easter and other holidays. I loved that bread so much when growing up that I began making it at age 21 and continued on through my whole life. Almost 42 years later I still make it as our daily bread. The other breads are just extras. One of those extras is Caraway Rye bread, which I love. I have tried various recipes, and have distilled down the things I like best about them all. I made it yesterday again, though it has been a few years since I made it last. This time I was curious whether it could be baked in the enameled cast iron pot I use for my No-Knead bread. The recipe can make two large loaves or 3 slightly smaller ones. I decided to go with the three, and make one of them in the enameled cast iron pot.

Caraway Rye Bread made in the enameled cast iron pot
Making it in there worked like a charm, and I wish I had divided the dough into only 2 loaves to work with, but that's hindsight. Meanwhile, that is one gorgeous loaf of bread. Not that the others are anything to sneeze at, mind you. I made the other two in long thin loaves and placed them on a parchment and cornmeal lined baking sheet. They are lovely. The crust is soft though, where the one from the pot turned out crusty. It doesn't stay crusty, if the bread is stored in plastic, but it does stay chewy, and I think that is one of my biggest cravings - chewy things. Chewy, gooey caramels. Really chewy bagels. Ice cream with gooey bits in it. Cinnamon buns with thick gooey caramel. You get the picture, I am sure. I think I may have to invest in a second enameled cast tron pot to keep up with this bread making thing I have going. But if you love bread, give this recipe a try. Add or leave out things as desired. Use more or less caraway, or none. Use dill or dill seed, if desired. The bread is delicious.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.