This hearty rye flour loaf is just as good slathered with butter and jam as it is paired with cold cuts or a wholesome soup.
I make this bread at least once a week! It’s a German Graubrot aka Mischbrot, which means Grey Bread or Mixed Bread, made from a mix of rye and bread flour with a hint of ground caraway seeds.
It’s a German staple as an everyday bread for breakfast, mid morning sustenance sandwich and especially the beloved and classic German meal known as Abendbrot, “evening bread”.
This dinner consists of bread with lots of different cold cuts, spreads, cheeses and extras such as pickles and cut veggies like cucumbers and peppers. Everyone makes their own open faced sandwiches and there’s usually a mixed salad as well. It’s simple, delicious and absolutely recommendable. When I was a kid, my siblings and I made “Super Sandwiches”, competing to see who could pile their bread highest!
My mother, being American, often gave us white rolls for our school lunch, laden with lovely things like roast beef and juicy tomatoes or leftover pork loin and relish. These sandwiches were so coveted by our classmates that we often sold them and had quite a racket going! But sometimes I would trade my roll for a simple Graubrot sandwich with butter and cheese and to this day that is one of my favorite things to eat in the world!
This is a fairly simple bread to make. It does require a sourdough starter, but who doesn’t have one of those knocking about in the fridge since ca. April 2020, right? If you feel inclined to start one, I found that the King Arthur website had the best instructions that even helped a sourdough dolt like me.
2 1/2 cups (300 g) rye flour (Nr. 1150)
2 1/2 cups (300 g) bread flour (Nr. 1050) plus more for dusting the work surface
2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp finely ground caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp (4 g) instant yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (75 g) sourdough starter
1/2 tbsp molasses
1 3/4 cups minus 1 tsp (400 ml) lukewarm water
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer with dough hooks. Mix everything together until it comes together as a cohesive dough.
Lightly flour your work surface. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on the work surface for about 5 minutes until the dough is very smooth.
Place in a covered bowl and let rise in a warm spot for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
Tip dough onto the lightly floured work surface and knead through well, flouring your hands if necessary. Form into a round loaf. Dust a bit of flour on the top of the loaf.
If you have a proofing basket, place the dough top side down into the basket. If not, place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Cover with a tea towel and proof for another hour in a warm spot.
Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
If your dough was in a proofing basket, turn it out onto a parchment paper lined baked sheet.
Place into the oven.
After 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 375 F (190 C).
Bake for a further 35 minutes.
Remove the loaf from the oven and, using oven mitts or a clean tea towel, turn the loaf over and knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s done!
If it makes more of a full, dull sound, put it back into the oven for five more minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting.