This beautiful bread has a great crunchy-chewy crust to it, and it is easy to make if you can plan ahead a bit. The whole process takes about a day, but most of that time is spent just letting the dough rise all by itself, hence the name no-knead. I’ve made a plain white version before, which was so delicious, but since I like a little more nutrition in my bread I decided to experiment by using part rye flour. Success! I love that this bread bears some similarity to my Oma’s dark rye bread.
I served it with the butter, sliced meats, and a bowl of borscht to make a somewhat traditional meal. I was going for what we called ‘faspa,’ a low-German word for a meal that always consisted of homemade buns, cheese, jam and cold cuts.
One thing you need for this bread is a container to bake it in, like the Romertopf roaster shown in the photo, or a le Creuset baker. It must have a lid; baking with the lid on causes the crust to develop in the first half of the baking time.
What you need:
1 cup rye flour
2 cups white flour
1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast, which I store in my fridge)
1 & 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup wheat bran
What you do:
1. Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the water and mix; add more water until you have a wet, sticky dough.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let sit at room temperature, in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight for 12-18 hours. The dough should become about double in size and dotted with bubbles. When I lived in a house that tended to be colder it always took the full 18 hours or even more. This slow fermentation is what gives the bread its flavour.
3. Lay a tea towel on your counter and sprinkle it with some wheat bran, then scrape the dough onto the towel. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make it round. Sprinkle it with wheat bran, then lightly pull the edges of the towel over the dough. If your towel isn’t big enough just spread another towel over the top and tuck it in lightly. Let this sit for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in volume.
4. Set the oven to 475 F and place your baking pot (I used a Romertopf baker, which I had to soak in water for at least 15 minutes before using) on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475 F, remove the pot from the oven and carefully tip the dough into the pot. Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust.
5. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-30 minutes. The bread should be a deep brown when it is done. Remove it from the oven, and lift the bread out of the pot carefully and place it on a rack to cool before slicing.