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Dark Onion Rye

This month the Bread Baking Babes are celebrating their 3rd anniversary and reminiscing about some of their favorites loaves from the past three years (you can see a complete list at any of the Babes sites, like my friend Natashya's) and they have invited us to join them at the party. As long as we bake up a loaf from the list and bring it along.  Sounds reasonable.  After all, who likes to show up to a party empty-handed!?  The hardest part was plucking just one recipe from that astounding breadhead compilation!  I knew I wanted to choose one that would let me use Sally.  These days, that's a given.  She likes to be kept active.  Also, I was feeling in a rye-type of mood, so I went with the Dark Onion Rye from way back in June of '08.
Look at Sally!  I'm such a proud parent...
 Dark Onion Rye
adapted from The Sour Dough 
(originally a BBB challenge in June '08)
makes 1 loaf


In large bowl combine:
¾ c. rye flour
¾ c. bread flour
½ c. water
Cover and let mixture ferment 8-10 hours or overnight.
1½ Tbs. dark molasses (not Blackstrap, too bitter)
2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Mix until smooth either by hand or in mixer w/ dough hook.

To sponge mixture add:
1¾ tsp. salt
1½ Tbs. freeze dried or sweated fresh onions
2 heaping tsp. caraway seeds
1 c. rye flour
½ c. bread flour

Knead together until it comes into a bit of a shaggy ball.

In a separate bowl, whisk together:
½ c. rye flour
½ c. bread flour

***Be very careful at this step. Don't add too much flour here!!!  I think I got a bit excited and added too much, resulting in an extremely stiff dough.  You may not need more than a half cup of the mixture, so add with a light hand.***

If using a mixer, fit it with the dough hook and on low-speed, add ¼ cup at a time until dough forms ball that pulls away from the bowl and is firm but still slightly tacky to the touch.  Or else, work it in with your hands to get the same results.

On a floured counter, knead dough for ~2-4 minutes and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead again until dough feels elastic and tacky, although it should not stick to your hands. If it does stick to your hands, knead in a bit of additional rye flour until dough is firm but ever so slightly tacky.
In large, lightly greased covered bowl, let dough rise until almost double, ~4 hours.

This bread works best if formed into a round. Gently deflate risen dough (well, there was not a whole lot to deflate, but I went with it) and gather into a ball. Set dough seam side up, in a very well floured brotform or on a floured board, and cover loosely.  Let rise until dough doubles in size, ~2-3 hours.  Actually, I think I'd have to recommend just going  free-form, as the dough doesn't seem to get enough rise (up or out)  to fill up a brotform.
Place a baking stone (or tiles) in the center of oven and preheat oven to 400° F during last 20 minutes of rising time.
Gently unmold risen loaf onto a flat baking sheet prepared with cornmeal dusted parchment paper or onto a prepared peel. You may slash the loaf is you wish. Mist top of loaf with water and gently slide bread into the oven and bake at 400° for 20 mintues.
Turn oven down to 375° F and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until inside temperature of loaf reaches 200° F.
Let bread cool for 4 - 6 hours before slicing. This is very important as rye breads will turn to a gummy mess if they are sliced before completely cool.
*My notes: I used 100% All-Natural Stone-Ground Rye Flour throughout the recipe.  The original recipe called for both dark and light rye flours, but since I already had this type, I just subbed it all in for the two varieties.  The dough smells fantastic both in it's unbaked form and while it is baking.  Oniony goodness!  While the loaf is extremely firm and dense, it is also full of flavor.  Great for toasting.
submitting to:
Bread Baking Buddies in conjunction w/ the Bread Baking Babes 3rd Anniversary Party! hosted this month at My Kitchen in Half Cups.

Bread Baking Day #37 - Bread made with sponge or pre-ferment (last day of submission March 1st, 2011) BYOB