Germany is known for their wonderful meat, stew and dessert recipes, but their breads are out of this world as well. This is a great rye bread recipe that is so delicious with split pea soup or as an accompaniment to bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Heidelberg Rye Bread
3 c. All Purpose or bread flour
3 c. rye flour
2 packages dry yeast
¼ c. cocoa
1 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T caraway seeds
2 c. hot tap water ( 120 - 130º)
1/3 c. dark molasses
2 T shortening, room temperature
In a large bowl, measure 1½ c. of All Purpose flour, 1½ c. rye flour, yeast, cocoa, sugar, salt and caraway seeds. Beat in electric mixer to blend ingredients. Pour in water, molasses and soft shortening. Beat slowly for thirty seconds until flour is absorbed and a high rate of speed for three minutes. This can be done by hand with a large wooden spoon for about the same length of time. Dough will be thick, elastic and pull in ribbons from sides of bowl. Stop the mixer and gradually add flour; ½ c. at a time of both white and rye alternately until dough is soft mass and is no longer wet and sticky.
Turn out on a well floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough may continue to be sticky because of the high rye content. Scrape it off the counter top with a spatula. Add a bit more flour and keep fingers dusted. Finally, it will become a soft velvety dough, a delight to work.
Cover the dough with a towel, wax paper or the inverted bowl and let rest on the work surface for about 20 minutes.
Punch down and divide the dough in half. Shape each into a round ball, flatten. slightly. Roll up tightly and seal the seam and ends. Taper by rolling under the palms. Place on baking sheet.
Brush the loaves with vegetable oil, and cover loosely (to allow for expansion) with plastic wrap and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator. Leave 2 or more hours, but no longer than 24 hours.
Allow the loaves to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while oven heats to 400º. With a sharp knife or razor blade cut a cross on round loaves or cut diagonal slashes 3 inches apart in the long loaves just before baking. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. When tapping the bottom crust yields a hard and hollow sound, they are done. A dull thud, return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven. Remove the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool. You may wish to brush with soft butter to give a soft crust.