Recipe: Rye Toasting Bread with Dried Cherries & Pumpkin Seeds

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(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

Winter has me baking a lot — bread, especially — so this week when it got unbearably frigid outside I came up with a bread for breakfast and snack-time that pulls inspiration from three very different recipes: my grandmother’s English muffin toasting bread, a thin dark 100% rye I used to be able to find in health food stores but alas no longer, and the fruity, nutty, seediness of my “truly everything bagels” recipe.

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(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

I wanted a rye bread, 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 just a little, so by nature you will have a very dense bread that is best suited for toasting. That satisfied my craving for Grandma Betty’s toasting bread. This was also coming pretty close to the packaged rye bread I used to buy, and for extra rye flavor, I added 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 making this bread with any mixture of seeds, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. Just promise me you’ll toast it. A liberal application of butter is also pretty essential.

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Rye Toasting Bread with Dried Cherries & Pumpkin Seeds

Makes1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons

    (1 1/4-ounce package) active dry yeast

  • 1/2 cup

    warm water (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

    (6 1/4 ounces) rye flour, divided

  • 1 1/4 cups

    (5 1/2 ounces) bread flour

  • 3/4 cup

    (3 1/4 ounces) whole wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    caraway seeds, ground

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Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm (110°F) water. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. In another small bowl, combine the warm milk and molasses. In another small bowl, combine the cherries, pumpkin seeds and coconut. Pour over enough water to barely cover.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the rye flour (reserving 1/4 cup), bread flour, wheat flour, salt and ground caraway seeds. Pour in the milk-molasses mixture and the yeast mixture, and stir until just combined.

  3. 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 your hands. This dough will be more sticky than a non-rye dough, however. Do not let it get too dry.

  4. Drain the fruit mixture and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Knead it into the bread dough until well-distributed.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and 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.

  6. Form the dough into a ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Score the top with a sharp knife. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rest another 30 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 375°F. When the bread has rested, bake for about 45 minutes or until hollow-sounding when tapped on the underside. Cool on a wire rack. Serve sliced very thin and toasted.

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