|Butter is not optional.|
Not long ago, I jumped at the chance to bake a few of these dense, moist loaves with him. Since snow recently had fallen, we cooled a pot of hot milk and sugar in the white stuff while the yeast proofed in the warm kitchen. Turning one’s back porch into an extension of the freezer is perhaps the only part of Winter I truly miss.
|Cooling hot milk in the snow|
|Slightly misshapen, but so damn good.|
Our family isn’t shy about slathering butter on almost every slice. You shouldn’t be, either. Because the tops of these loaves are strewn with coarse salt before baking, though, stick with unsalted butter.
Onion Rye Bread
2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
4 tsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
6 cups all purpose white flour
3 Tbl caraway seeds
1 cup chopped onions
2.5 cups rye flour
q.s. coarse salt
Scald milk; stir in the sugar, salt, and oil. Cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in the warm water and when it’s foamy, add this yeast mixture to the lukewarm milk.
Blend in all of the all purpose flour, mixing well. Add caraway seeds, onions, and 2 cups of the rye flour.
Sprinkle the remaining rye flour on a board or counter and knead the dough until it’s smooth. Put the smooth dough into greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch down and fold dough from edges to center.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the mass rise again until doubled. Divide into three equal loaves. Put each into a greased pan sprinkled with corn meal. Brush the tops of the loaves with cream, then strew liberally with coarse salt. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise again until doubled in size.
Bake at 350ºF/175ºC for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from pans when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on wire racks (unless you plan to tear into them right away, then just grab a board, a knife, and a boatload of butter).