Alex’s Whole Wheat & Rye Bread

Bread and Fruit Dish on Table by Pablo Picasso

1.5 cups of water
1 tsp of instant yeast
1 cup of whole wheat flour + ½ cup of white bread flour
1 cup of rye flour + 1 cup of white bread flour
1.5 tsp salt

Dust yeast over the water in a large bowl, allow it to dissolve. Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and ½ cup of white bread flour. Mix well with a stiff whisk or similar tool. Cover and let it rest until bubbly (3 to 12 hours). This is your pre-ferment. The time is flexible.

Add the rest of the flour (1 cup of rye flour and 1 cup of white bread flour) and salt. Mix until smooth. Knead dough on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and firm (may need to add additional bread flour). Alternatively use a stand mixer on slow until ingredients are incorporated, then medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should pull clear of the bowl and It should only be slightly sticky to the touch.

Form a ball by stretching it, then fold the edges to meet in the center and pinch. Place back into the bowl seam side down and cover. Allow to expand up to double in size, but not more than that (30 minutes to an hour).

Turn out onto a floured surface and form a ball as above. You want a smooth surface with the tension of stretched skin, so you may need to do this more than once. Place the dough seam side down on a large piece of parchment paper and place back in the bowl and cover. Or place on a cookie sheet and cover with the bowl.

Place a large cast iron pot in the middle of the oven with the lid partly off (make sure the lid handle can tolerate the high temp.). Preheat the oven to 450 deg. F when the bread has almost doubled in size. When the oven is ready make a few slashes in the top of the dough with a serrated knife. Carefully transfer the dough to the pot using the parchment. Spray some water into the pot and cover. Bake for 25 minutes covered and then another 20 minutes uncovered. You can bake on a pre-heated heavy cookie sheet or pizza stone if you do not have an appropriate pot. Spraying every 2 minutes for the first 6 minutes will help form a good crust.

The crust should be hard and have a nice browned color. The loaf should also sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack completely (if you can stand to wait) before cutting or bagging in plastic.

This recipe is from our Clay Studio Manager, Alex Chinn.

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