Several summers ago I temporarily became a morning person. Well, sort of. It turns out the aromas of freshly baked bread wake me up even more than coffee. Waking up before the sun to work at the bakery wasn't hard once I got used to it. Of course it helps that everything about making bread just makes me come to life. You know it has to be fun if it puts a smile on my face before I'm awake enough to even think of coffee.
Along with the enticing aromas of freshly baked bread we handed out thick, generous sample slices to potential customers. My favorite sample to hand out was the rye bread. One bite and the loaf was sold. Try as I might I could not keep the twinkle out of my eyes as I watched the customers enjoy their slices. Only then would I tell them the 'secret' ingredient, sauerkraut.
Yes, sauerkraut. It adds just the right amount of tang to the loaf to make the flavors pop. I see you raising that eyebrow, but trust me I watched enough customers to know it converts even the skeptics. Think of it like sourdough if you must. I could not get enough of the version they made with caraway, delicious.
The version below is my own rendition. I don't have cakes of fresh yeast or grind my own flour, but I made do with what I had. I also wasn't quite sure how much liquid to squeeze out of the sauerkraut, and the dough ended up much wetter than I would have preferred. While it didn't "feel just right" before it went into the oven, it came out better than I hoped. Nutty and chewy, this hearty rye loaf is loaded with texture and flavor. The extra tang from the sauerkraut pairs perfectly with the caraway. In fact, I think I'll even add a little more caraway next time. If you think you don't like sauerkraut, think again.
Caraway Rye Breadinspired by The Bread Baker Company
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup dried instant potato flakes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 (14.5 oz) can sauerkraut, drained and lightly squeezed**
2-1/2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
** I drained/squeezed out 5 ounces of liquid and had roughly 2 cups sauerkraut. If desired, you may rinse the sauerkraut before squeezing (I did not).
* To a bread machine pan, add ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select the dough cycle, adding more flour (or liquid) as needed during the kneading cycle. This bread can also be made without a bread machine by using traditional methods.
* When dough cycle is finished, turn dough onto a floured surface (dough will be wet). Shape into a loaf and place in a greased 9-x-5-inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
* Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 45-50 minutes or until instant-read thermometer reads 200 degrees F. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
Food for Thought: "Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed." -Joseph Addison