Who loves sourdough? I do I do!! Who loves rye bread - well, me too!! Here is a combination that will thrill your taste buds!
Bring the starter to room temperature - four hours or overnight.
In a large, non-metallic bowl, place the bread flour, half of the rye flour, salt, starter and 1-1/2 cups of water. Mix and let sit for about 4 hours.
Add the remaining flour and gently knead into a ball. If the dough is too stiff, stir in the remaining ¼ cup water.
Form a loaf and put back into the bowl.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a warm, dampened dish towel. If you use the towel, check it often to make sure it stays moist. The dough will form too much of a crust otherwise. Allow to rise in a warm place (like on top of the refrigerator) for at least 12 hours, but it usually takes 24.
After it has doubled in size, scrape out onto a lightly floured board.
Press gently, fold in half and press again. Do this five or six times, or until the dough is somewhat smooth and elastic. It will not form a perfect ball like regular bread, and you don’t want it to.
Prepare the proofing basket or ceramic bowl by laying down the cornmeal.
After you have folded it, pull the sides together to form a ball. At this point you can put it all into the proofing basked or back in the ceramic bowl, seam side down, for the second rise – The second rise will take 2- 4 hours depending on how warm it is. Cut some slits in the top of the loaf.
About 30 minutes before the rise is finished, place one large, flat pan (preferably ceramic) in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
Once the loaf is doubled in size, place it, seam side up, on the hot pan. Cover and bake for – 30 minutes for one large loaf.
Next, remove the lids and bake until golden brown – about 15 to 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Resist the urge to cut and eat! If you cut too soon you will make the loaf flat and dense. The steam that is inside continues to make the bread fluffy inside.
When it’s cool, slice and enjoy!!