Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy to Make Bohemian Rye Bread

A few weeks back, I had a desire to make a sour dough starter to initiate my own homemade bohemian rye bread.  As mentioned in previous posts, this experiment has failed for a few reasons, so I went to option number two – using dry yeast. I scoured the internet in pursuit of Bohemian rye bread recipes and found one here at I was disheartened that there weren’t any pictures nor testimonials next to this recipe, but the recipe appeared to be easy to follow and used a combination of rye flour and all purpose flour.  Since I was a young child, I enjoyed a good Czech or German rye bread at restaurants and have been in pursuit of trying to imitate some of those good table breads. I like Bohemian rye bread because it is lighter in appearance and density (not too heavy on the rye grains) and it works well as pre-meal offering and partners well with soups or with assorted meats and cheeses.  This rye bread recipe I found adds in the European accent of caraway and fennel seeds. I skipped the fennel since I don’t have any in stock.
This bohemian rye bread process is simple from start to finish when I used this recipe. The ingredients are easy to find and bread can be made in a matter of about three hours (Proofing time included). I made my bread in two stages since I only have one baking stone (and that is my preferred cooking surface for homemade breads). A greased or lined cookie sheet will suffice. The first baked rye bread loaf was a huge success and rose much better than bread number two, which was a little flatter when finished baking. The bread had a heavenly aroma (I could really smell the rye/caraway!) and tasted really good.
As much care as I put into kneading, proofing, and baking, I did not completely duplicate a rye bread that would be produced by a Czech bakery.  Restaurant and bakery rye breads have a smoother texture that is obtained most likely from Czech or European fine grain rye flour.  The texture of my rye bread was much more coarse.
The only thing I would have done differently with this recipe would be to add another teaspoon of caraway or actually used the fennel seed. This bread was still considered a success and will go well with soups, or with some tasty deli meats such as corned beef or ham. Check out the recipe here.


Susan G. said...

Hi, so excited to find your blog. I lived in the Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic from 1990-1999. I miss many foods from my time there. Sometimes I go to German restaurants (there not being any Czech ones nearby) and hope I can have that itch for Czech food scratched. No. There are similarities but they are distinct cuisines! So, about the bread -- not having tried it -- I would say a big "no" to the fennel, even though I love fennel. It just, from my experience, does not belong in Czech bread. Perhaps up the Caraway. Thanks! I'm excited to explore you blog further.

Special K said...

The reason you cannot get the same kind of texture in your rye bread is that retail flour is different from the flour commercial bakeries buy.

You can fix that by adding a couple of tablespoons of gluten/gluten flour. Yes, I did say GLUTEN !! Unless you have celiac disease, there is absolutely nothing wrong with gluten in your diet.

Also, make sure that you give your dough lots of time to rise. 2 hours for the first rise, about 30-40 minutes for the second rise.

Fennel? I think not.