Most of the sources I've looked at make rye sound so complicated: "the key to a good rye," says one "is to use several fermented pieces reserved from an earlier loaf. Store bought will do." What? If I wanted to purchase a loaf of rye bread I wouldn't be baking my own. At some point there must be a starter.
I'm inventive in my day to day cooking, so why not try a little experimentation in the baking area as well? How hard could it be? Right? I set aside the recipes and set out on my own.
What follows is an adaption garnered from some basic recipe ingredients, incorporating the long rise method of the Bittman NYT 'no knead' article, (right sidebar) which mirrors the principals of the heretofore mentioned, Andrew Whitley.
step 1: make the starter:
1 cup rye flour
1 cup water
1 tsp. yeast
1 small onion (finely diced and sauteed or microwaved util soft)
Mix all. Let stand at room temperature, overnight or 12-18 hours.
step 2: Add to the starter:
1 cup water
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbl. olive oil
3 Tbl. molasses
1/4 cup caraway seeds
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 + 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1 + 1/2 cups rye flour
In stand mixer whisk all ingredients but the last 1/2 cup of flour. Change wire whisk to bread hook attachment and continue adding the final half cup until incorporated. The dough will be very wet and will not wrap itself around the bread hook as it does with other breads.
scrape out dough into greased bowl and cover with plastic. Let stand 2 hours - overnight (or longer, or refrigerated overnight if desired).
Bring dough back up to room temp. Cut in half for two loaves. Turn out onto floured surface, coating each in flour all around.
[bake one today; refrigerate one for tomorrow.]
Quickly form into ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Let rise 1-2 hours. Timing is really flexible on all of this, as I followed the "practice patience" advice of the NYT article.
Pre-heat oven to 400. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 350 for remaining 15-20 minutes, or until tapping on the loaf makes the desired "hollow sound."
Let bread cool, then slice and deliver to your handsome, hardworking husband in his home office.
It turned out not half bad, and I'll be sure to freeze a couple of crusts of this loaf for the fermented 'starter' for the next.