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Caraway Bread, Cubed.

Baking at Home: Caraway Bread, Cubed

I finally baked a perfectly cubed-shaped loaf! I had purchased a square pullman tin while I was in Taiwan last summer and only got around to using it recently. My previous attempts all yielded loaves that were too short and never filled the top. Seems like half a pound of dough seems like the right amount to fill this 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.5″ tin.

Baking at Home: Caraway Bread, Cubed

This caraway bread is based off of Smitten Kitchen’s recent New York Deli Rye post. I increased the hydration of the dough slightly so that I could get a more airy crumb. Baking it in the tin allowed for a soft crust (which my parents prefer) and a light color. You can get six good slices out of this small tin, perfect for our sometimes-bread eating small family. Feel free to quadruple the recipe for a regular sized loaf of bread.

Caraway Bread
Makes one 1/2 lb. loaf, approximately a 4.5″ cube
Based of of Smitten Kitchen’s New York Deli Rye Bread
What you’ll need:
For the sponge:

  • 30g bread flour
  • 24g whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 4g sugar
  • 3g honey
  • 104g warm water

For the flour mixture:

  • 88g bread flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 0.5 Tablespoons caraway seeds, whole or ground as to your preference
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt

For kneading and finishing the dough:

  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
The procedure:
Mix together the ingredients for the sponge in a large bowl, whipping it if you can to aerate the mixture. Set it aside while you prepare the flour mixture.

Mix together the ingredients for the flour mixture, whisking it together to make sure the ingredients are incorporated fully and spoon over the sponge. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for one to four hours; or, until you see the sponge bubbling up through the flour mixture. Since it’s wintertime where I live, I waited about four hours before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

After you can observe the sponge bubbling up through the flour mixture, add the oil and mix the dough together, either with a stand mixer or by hand. I did this by hand as the amount of dough was so small. Mix until the dough is smooth and homogenous looking; as the hydration of the dough is higher than your standard sandwich loaf, it will feel tacky and sticky. This is fine. Continue kneading the dough until you achieve good gluten structure and the dough passes the windowpane test. This took me about ten minutes by hand.

Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and let it rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. After this first rise, take the dough out and degas it, you can do a couple of stretch-and-folds to give it better structure, then place it back into the bowl and let it rise again for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes have elapsed, take the dough and degas it gently and shape it (you can do a small boule or shape it sandwich style if planning to bake in a loaf pan). Place the dough in your chosen baking receptacle and let it rise a third time until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Half an hour before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 F.

When ready to bake, place the loaf into the oven, steam (if not baking in a pullman tin) and lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for 25 minutes. Check to see if the bread is done by inserting a thermometer into the center of the loaf and making sure it reads at least 190 F. Invert the bread onto a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 4 hours before slicing to enjoy.

Next time, I’m going to bake the bread artisan-style on my pizza stone to get that crispy, dark crust I enjoy so much, but this bread is delicious in its own right. It’s pillowy and stays soft and pliable for several days, stored in an airtight container on the countertop. I’ve been eating it lately with homemade tomato jam (based on Mark Bittman’s recipe), but I imagine it’d be great in a grilled cheese sandwich.

Sending this recipe over to Susan at Wild Yeast for this week’s YeastSpotting (my first and hopefully not my last!).

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