This is a hearty, flavorful, slow fermentation whole grain rye bread in the style of pumpernickel, rugbrod, and vollkornbrot. This recipe is the combination of two 100% rye breads by Peter Reinhart - one from the Bread Baker's Apprentice and the other from Whole Grain Breads. Separately, neither recipe gave me the flavor or texture I was going for, but after some fine tuning, I discovered combining elements of each recipe gave me the perfect whole grain, seeded rye bread that has ruined other multigrain breads for me. The original recipes call for rye sourdough starter to yield a pure rye bread, but I use my regular wheat-fed starter with good results.
Don't be intimidated by the time it takes to make this bread! Three days is a long time to wait, but most of the time is just that: waiting. There is very little active time here and no kneading. Most of the time is letting dough ferment. On Day 1 the preferment and mash are made. On Day 2 the final dough is mixed, given its first fermentation, shaped, and refrigerated. On Day 3, the loaves are baked. This bread can be baked on Day 2 after it's shaped, but the overnight cold fermentation adds a lot of flavor.
This recipe yields a hearty, dense, flavorful bread that goes great with creamy cheese, smoked salmon, and a few capers. Or spread fresh mascarpone on it, drizzle with honey, and enjoy with a cup of coffee for a quick breakfast. But my favorite way to eat this bread is simply with a smear of good butter as snack. Both the recipe and serving suggestions are easily tweaked and adapted, so make this bread your own! —Stephanie B.