|Sure, there are three
steps, but the first step is
easy and the last two
steps don't require any
work at all!
March 22, 2012
When it comes to baking, simpler is typically better. My Dakota Rye
illustrates this particularly well and is one of our family’s favorites.
Each ingredient does double or triple duty, and the result is a loaf that is
at once hearty and sweet, nutty and full flavored. Once baked, it is one
of the most versatile breads, melting in your mouth with butter or jam,
but serving as a great sandwich or grilled cheese loaf also. Okay, I’ll
try to stop fawning over the bread and get to the particulars of the
Six to ten hours prior to mixing up the dough, make what bakers call a
soaker. Measure out your choice of seeds, add an equal volume of hot
water, and let the mixture soak while sitting on the kitchen counter. I
usually use pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds, but sesame, poppy and
even dill seeds are possibilities also. Why use a soaker? Well, dry
seeds can suck up a lot of moisture. When using them in a dough, the
seeds can soak up so much moisture that the dough is robbed of
moisture and is of poor quality. Soaking the seeds prior to adding to
the dough pre-hydrates the seeds so that this doesn’t happen.
When draining excess water off the seeds, I like to save the excess
water and use it as some of the water for the dough. It adds a bit of
flavor, and there must be something nutritious in there!
Also, when mixing up the dough, add the seeds and the water to the dry
ingredients at the same time. If you add the water first, stir, and wait
until the very end to add the seeds, they are tougher to mix evenly
throughout the dough.
The rest of the process is pretty typical for one of my whole grain
recipes. I designed this as a hearth bread, but one could bake it in a 5
x 10 inch loaf pan just as easily. Enjoy!
Dakota Rye Bread
This is really a Western European style bread but since most of the
ingredients hail from North Dakota I couldn’t help but name it after the
Place the seeds into a 2 cup measure then fill the measure up to the top
with water. Allow to stand at room temperature for 6-10 hours then
drain off the excess water when ready to use. Save the excess water to
use as water in the dough if possible.
In a large bowl mix the bread flour, rye flour, yeast and salt with a large
spoon. Add the water and soaker seeds together to the dry ingredients
and stir until the dough is uniform, then stir vigorously another 15-30
seconds. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours then
refrigerate, OR refrigerate immediately and wait at least 12 hours to
Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide in half if making two
loaves. Shape the dough into a batard and place on a baking sheet or
peel covered with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow
to rise at room temperature for 30-45 minutes or so while the oven
Preheat the oven, baking stone and steam pan to 450 degrees. When
ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap, slide the loaf onto the baking
stone and pour a cup of tap water into the steam pan. Bake for 50
minutes then remove to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely