Using a Dutch oven as your 'oven' - This recipe for a quick no-knead crusty rye bread yields a beautifully crusty, dense, loaf of bread - with delicious rich rye flavor, in about 4 hours' time. Perfect for a Reuben sandwich, grilled patty melt, or just to toast up and eat with a pat of butter.
How to make - A Quick No-Knead Crusty Rye Bread
I love myself a good Reuben sandwich. It’s after St. Patrick’s day, and I have some left-over corned beef but once again find myself unable to find a decent rye bread. Rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese along with some Thousand Island dressing, grilled to crusty perfection…that’s what you need to make a Reuben. So if you don’t have the rye, you don’t have the Reuben.
Not being able to find good rye bread is the norm here. No delis. So I thought I would just make some. First thought was the bread machine, but that wasn’t going to give me the crunchy crust I wanted, or the texture. So to the internet, I went. I found one that promised an artisan crust by being made in a Le Creuset Dutch oven (about $249.00) that had been heated before cooking.
Hmmm…good idea. I made it, and it turned out good, a little flat, not quite the “rise” I wanted AND it took 18 hours of sitting time. I don’t have 18 hours to wait, or I don’t have 18 hours to plan ahead…so I kept looking. I found more recipes, using varying techniques, and finally combined them to come up with this, perfectly lovely, crusty, artisan loaf of rye bread.
The Ingredients List
Not much to the ingredients list. Flour(s), salt, yeast, caraway seeds, and warm water.
You want it warm, not hot. About 100º which is only slightly warmer than your body temperature. So you could use a thermometer, or just put your finger in the water. If it feels slightly warm to you, it's good to go.
To ensure your yeast is good, you should always prove it. I like to use jarred yeast, which I keep in the refrigerator. But even with the date on it, one cannot be sure if it is alive or not. While this recipe uses no sugar in it, the best way to proof yeast is to mix a small amount of yeast along with a pinch of sugar in some warm water. Within a few minutes, you should see some vigorous bubble action. If you don't, your yeast is dead and must be replaced.
If alive, proceed.
If dead, buy new.
As I state in the recipe, you can use any type of flour you wish to, just know that each type will react differently and absorb the water differently. The key to the dough is to have a loose, shaggy dough. Shaggy dough means a "wet" dough.
My preferred flour for this recipe is bread flour mixed with the rye. Bread flour is softer and has more protein, which gives a more chewy texture. All-purpose white and whole-wheat flours also work well. Whole wheat, of course, would give the bread an even firmer texture, and a denser loaf then all-purpose white does and requires more water. So watch the dough and add water if it seems dry.
Remember, a wet, shaggy dough.
Once your dough is ready, cover it with plastic wrap, put a towel over the top, and place it in a warm, draft-free location to rise for about 3 hours.
Your rise time may vary depending on the temperature. The ideal temperature to rise dough is around 85º F. Since most of us don't keep our kitchens that warm, you may need to place the bowl under a light, near a furnace register, or, as I do, use the proofing setting on your oven. Cooler room temperature will only cause the dough to rise slower, so if that's the case, just let it sit for another hour or so until it has doubled in volume.
After the dough has risen 3 hours, (or as needed) it should have doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and make certain you get lots of flour on your fingers. Turn the dough a few times, and then form into a ball, sealing the bottom as best you can. Cover with plastic wrap, throw the towel over and let the dough rest on the counter while your "oven" heats up in the oven.
When making this Quick No-Knead Crusty Rye Bread, I used my Mario Batali enameled Dutch oven (about $99.00). This pot does all the work as Le Cruset, but at half the cost. That's just smart shopping.
After all, my bread doesn't care if it's being cooked in a 'name brand' pot.
But do remember after 30 minutes in a 450º oven that pan is HOT! Use extreme caution when removing the pot from the oven, removing the top, AND dropping the dough into the pot.
Try to drop the dough as close to the center of the pot as you can, but if you don't make it exactly in the center, don't panic. It will be o.k. I've even had drops that were more side drops then center drops, and the loaf turned out fine.
Do not try to move the dough once you have dropped it. Not only is it too hot for you to be putting your hands inside that pot, but the dough will stick. So just leave it where it falls. Cover and stick in the oven to cook for 30 minutes, then remove the cover, again, very carefully, and bake for about 10 minutes more, or until a thermometer registers 200º, or, use the old-fashioned knock on the bread method. If it sounds hollow, it's done.
Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!
Don't feel like a Reuben? This dense bread is also great served with one of these hearty soups.
LindySez: Heating your enameled Dutch oven empty in a hot oven will, over time, discolor the inside enamel coating. While unsightly, it will not affect the pot's performance.
A Quick No Knead Crusty Rye Bread
- 3 ½ cups flour for the rye bread I used 2 cups all-purpose and 1 ½ cups rye, you could also use whole wheat and white, or all white, up to you
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm about 100 degrees water, or more as needed
- 2 teaspoons or more caraway seeds optional
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the caraway seeds, if using. Make a well in the center then add the water into the well. Mix, incorporating the water into the flour until you have a very sticky shaggy dough (if the dough seems to dry, add a little more water). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for 3 hours.
- Heat the oven to 450º F. Place your enamel Dutch oven and its cover (I used the oval oven, as long as it’s enamel, the bread will NOT stick) in the oven and heat for 30 minutes.
- While the “oven” is heating in the oven; scrape the very sticky dough out onto a well-floured counter with your very well-floured fingers (did I mention the dough is sticky?, well it is). Fold over a few times then form into a ball, sealing the bottom into a seam as best you can. Cover with plastic while you wait for the pot to get hot. Once the pot AND its cover have been in for 30 minutes, CAREFULLY remove, open and drop your ball of dough into the center; cover and return to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes; uncover and cook 10 – 15 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees when read with an instant-read thermometer. Or you can use the old knock on the crust and see if it sounds hollow, not exactly the most scientific way, but works most of the time.
- Again, carefully remove the bread from the hot hot pot, and transfer to a cooling rack to cool