I knew I wanted to make a breakfast bread for Breakfast Week, and for inspiration I had three very different things in mind: my grandmother's English muffin toasting bread, my favorite thin dark 100% rye made by Rudolf's Bakery, and the fruity, nutty, seediness of the "truly everything" bagels I make.
I decided the bread needed to be rye, but I didn't have the energy to do the whole sourdough starter thing, so I knew I needed to mix up the flours a bit. A rye bread with yeast will rise a bit, but not much, so by nature you will have a very dense bread that needs toasting. That satisfied my craving for Grandma Betty's toasting bread. This was also coming pretty close to the Rudolf's rye I adore, though for extra rye flavor, I needed the ground caraway seeds. As for the fruit and nuts and seeds, I used what I had around, which was pumpkin seeds, dried sour cherries and a scoop of shredded coconut.
Try it out with any mixture of seeds, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. Just promise me you'll toast it. A liberal application of butter is also close to essential.
Rye Toasting Bread with Cherries and Pumpkin Seeds
makes one loaf
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast 1/2 cup water at 110°F 1/2 cup warm milk 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses 1/4 cup dried cherries 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut 1 3/4 cups rye flour, divided (6 1/4 ounces) 1 1/4 cups bread flour (5 1/2 ounces) 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (3 1/4 ounces) 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand to proof for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the warm milk and molasses. Set aside.
In another small bowl combine the cherries, pumpkin seeds and coconut. Pour over enough water to barely cover. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups rye flour, bread flour, wheat flour, salt and ground caraway seeds. Pour in the milk mixture and the yeast mixture and stir until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic — about 5 minutes. As you knead, add enough of the remaining rye flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands. This dough will be more sticky than a non-rye dough, however. Do not let it get dry.
Drain the fruit mixture and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Knead into the mixture until well-distributed. Form the dough into a ball.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for 10 more minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Score the top with a sharp knife. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rest another 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 375°F and bake for about 45 minutes or until hollow-sounding when tapped from underneath. Cool on a wire rack. Serve sliced very thin and toasted.