Many of you don’t know this, but I actually went to culinary school 18 years ago to become a pastry chef. It’s hard to imagine myself looking back as being a pastry chef… Where would I have worked? What city would I be living in? Would I still be in the restaurant industry? A lot of what if’s, but one thing is for certain and that’s that I never lost passion for baking. I actually don’t even have a ton of experience with it since I went more of the general cooking route instead of a specific culinary focus, but every time I do bake I enjoy myself. I actually started on the salads and dessert station, or as we call it, “garde manger,” just after I retired from dish washing :-). I loved decorating desserts and making bountiful salads and even getting to make some homemade breads, but I dang sure didn’t have the patience for it once I got to culinary school. I mean it takes so much time to make cakes, bake cakes, cool cakes, decorate cakes, I mean dude there is a reason pastry chefs get started at like 3 am on their job. Fast forward 18 years and now I have a serious gratitude for it.
Baking is a labor of love so you have to appreciate everything about the process, and this Homemade Rye Bread Recipe with Cranberry Walnut Butter takes about 15 ½ hours from start to finish so if you don’t like baking you better dig deep or just simply find another recipe haha. There is about 14 hours of down time so don’t get worried that you are going to have to be in the kitchen for that amount of time. The reason this homemade rye bread recipe takes so long is because rye flour takes significantly more time to rise then that of a normal artisan bread recipe. Rye flour is dense and the grain is bigger so it’s harder for the yeast to penetrate it to assist in it rising.
When it comes to making bread, the flour is everything and there is no one I trust more than Bob’s Red Mill. They’ve been making flour for quite some time and Bob’s commitment of milling the best flours around makes me a believer in everything they do. We got a chance to meet Bob this past summer and at age 90 he seems to have as much passion as ever to what he does on a daily basis and we couldn’t be prouder to use his products in our home. If you’re wondering what Bob is like, he’s similar to your grandpa who’s well-traveled and has a ton of amazing stories to share. Yeah, we are fans J. If you wanted to make the densest bread on earth you could certainly just use rye flour, but because I want this thing to have some air pockets I used equal parts weight of Bob’s Red Mill Dark Rye Flour and Artisan Bread flour to make this homemade rye bread recipe. Just trust me on this and use both or you are going to drive yourself nuts when using just rye flour.
I’ve sometimes struggles making breads in the past as the dough seems tough during the rising process. It almost seems as if there wasn’t enough water when kneading the dough… I can’t put my finger on what exactly happened but if anything is a science when it comes to cooking it is hands down baking bread. Going back to my culinary school roots, there is a reason everything was measured in grams and it’s because if its preciseness. When you can get down to the very gram then you know your measurements are on point, so that’s exactly what I did in this homemade rye bread recipe.
Believe it or not I didn’t even knead this bread, I just simply mixed it and let it rest for 14 hours before forming the bread and letting it rest again. You could almost call this rye bread recipe, no knead rye bread but maybe we’ll save that for another date.
The last thing I did to finish off this bread was I served it up with an absolutely delicious cranberry walnut butter that is simple and so in season it should be at Starbucks. Well that’s all I got for now, but I truly hope this bread and this Homemade Rye Bread Recipe with Cranberry Walnut Butter inspires you to put your baking hat on and get after it!
Homemade Rye Bread Recipe with Cranberry Walnut Butter
For the Bread
- 420 grams of warm water
- 50 grams of dark molasses
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 ½ teaspoons of caraway seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons of yeast
- 270 grams of Bob’s Red Mill Dark Rye Flour
- 270 grams of Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour
- 10 grams of Kosher salt
For the Butter:
- 1 pound of softened unsalted butter
- ½ cup of roughtly chopped dried cranberries
- ½ cup of roughly chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- Kosher salt to taste
In a large bowl whisk together the water, molasses, orange zest, caraway seeds and yeast until combined. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flours and salt and mix it into the liquid bowl until combined.
Let rest covered in plastic for 14 hours.
Preheat the oven to 475° with a Dutch oven pot in it.
Next, sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface and place the risen dough onto the surface.
Sprinkle a little more flour on it and make it flat. Next, simply fold it in half, and then fold it in half again until it becomes a square.
Using both hands form the dough by starting at the top and cupping it underneath pushing some of the dough under to make it form a round shape.
Place the dough into a Benetton heavily dusted with flour, or a wooden bowl dusted with flour, cover and let rest for 1 hour.
next, flip the dough over right into the hot Dutch oven pot in the oven and score the top with a bread knife if you desire.
Bake for 30 minutes covered and then remove the cover and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Cool the dough until room temperature. Slice and serve.
Butter: Add the butter to a standing mixer with the whip attachment and beat on high speed until the butter becomes light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Next fold in the cranberries, walnuts, honey and salt and serve alongside the bread.