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Sauerkraut – Rye Bread

January 26, 2011

I’ve made this bread using both commercial yeast as well as using a sourdough starter exclusively for a naturally leavened loaf.  While the sauerkraut together with the caraway seeds are at the forefront of this bread the use of the starter cannot help but add complexity to the loaf.  If you are not already nourishing your own starter, a good source for info can be found at The Fresh Loaf.  I used Debra Wink’s recipe for my starter with success after multiple failures with other recipes.  After about 4 days you will have a successful starter, at which point you can proceed with the recipe.

Firm Starter

  • 2/3  cup  Barm
  • 1/2  cup  Bread Flour
  • 1/2  cup  Dark Rye Flour
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup  Water at room temperature
  1. Remove the barm from the refrigerator 1 hour before making your firm starter.
  2. Add the flour and barm along with just enough water to form a ball.  Knead briefly just until the ingredients are hydrated.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Ferment at room temperature for about 4 hours, or until the starter doubles in size.  Refrigerate overnight.

Final Dough

  • 3 1/2  cups Bread Flour 
  • 1 cup Dark Rye Flour
  • 2  tsp Salt
  • 3  tbsp Chestnut Honey
  • 2  cups Sauerkraut
  • 1  tbsp Caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups Water lukewarm (90-100 degrees F) 
  1. Remove the firm starter from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough.  Cut the starter into 10 pieces on a lightly floured counter and leave to de-chill for an hour misted with oil and covered with plastic wrap.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt and caraway seeds.  Add the starter, honey and enough water to form a ball.  Knead until ingredients are hydrated, about 5 mins. Dry the sauerkraut as much as possible using paper towels.  Stretch the dough out flat on the counter.  Add half the sauerkraut, then fold the dough over and knead a few times.  Repeat the process with the remaining kraut.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl,cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Carefully remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two equal pieces.  Shape the dough into your desired loaf shapes.
  4. Proof in brotforms or on a parchment lined baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.  Mist the exposed dough with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap. Proof for 2 to 3 hours or place in the refrigerator overnight.  If retarding overnight, remove them from the refrigerator at least 4 hours before baking.
  5. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F for a least 45 mins before baking if using a baking stone (if not using the baking stone preheat your oven until it reaches temperature).  Place a steam pan in the oven to preheat as well.  Remove the plastic wrap from the dough 10 mins before baking.
  6. If the dough was proofed in a basket, gently turn it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.  If you are not using a baking stone, bake the loaves directly on the sheet  pan.  Just before placing in the oven score the loaves.Then slide onto the baking stone.  Quickly pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan and close the door.  After 30 seconds mist the dough with hot water.  Repeat twice more at 30 second intervals.  Bake the loaves for 15 mins then lower the oven temp to 425F, continue baking for 25 mins or until the loaves are a rich brown colour and register 205 degrees F in the centre.
  7. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing.  

This bread has quickly become a family favorite and is an excellent way to use some of your home canned Sauerkraut.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 2:33 am

    Oh wow, that looks amazing!!

  2. Niyasmom permalink
    January 27, 2011 5:58 pm

    I had no idea what barm was. So i looked it up online..>Where do I get it? Is there anything else I can use? This recipe looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it!

  3. Niyasmom permalink
    January 27, 2011 6:22 pm

    If I didn’t use a starter, how much and what kind of yeast would I use?

    • January 27, 2011 7:28 pm

      It sounds like you’ve researched the barm; it’s basically the finished state of a successful seed culture. Following the link provided in the post to Debra Wink’s sourdough starter recipe will give you a usable barm in a few days. There are a few places online where you can purchase and have shipped a starter but it’s so much more rewarding to build your own and following Debra’s recipe you shouldn’t have any trouble. If you want to make this bread immediately, you can certainly make a delicious version without a starter using instant yeast. I buy my instant yeast in bulk packs at the grocery store; instant yeast has a shelf life so I buy a new pack every year or as necessary. A similar recipe I’ve had success with can be found at Whats4Eats. The suggestions I would make regarding this recipe are:
      1. Use chestnut honey if you can get your hands on it.
      2. Use half the caraway seeds (1 tbsp) unless you like a strong caraway flavour.
      3. Once your soaker really starts bubbling up through the flour mixture ferment overnight in the refrigerator.
      4. it’s not necessary to knead the dough twice with a ten minute interval. Knead your dough just enough to hydrate the ingredients (5 mins is probably good). Over mixing dough containing rye flour can leave your loaves with a gooey texture. Add about one cup of sauerkraut (as dry as you can get it) to the dough during the final 2 mins of kneading.
      5. If you divide the dough into two loaves, only lower the oven temp to 425 F and check for doneness after 20 mins
      I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions and I will try to help where I can.

  4. Niyasmom permalink
    January 30, 2011 9:52 am

    When you made this yeast how much did you use??

  5. Niyasmom permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:54 am

    I just re read your post and answered my own question!!

  6. Niyasmom permalink
    February 11, 2011 3:54 pm

    So, i’ve made the (whats4eats recipe with yeast) several times now..with kraut, without and all white no rye…YUMMMM!!!
    I have a few questions…is it okay to leave the starter at room temp instead of the fridge and also…when i add the flour mixture ontop of the starter and let it get all bubbly and gooey why put it in the fridge overnight? why not room temp? The longer the starter sits the more sour it will get? sorry for all the questions…its confusing (but interesting) stuff! I’d like to develop a kind of system so that i always ahd one proofing and baking!!! It is impossible to find good rye around here!!! Thanks again!!

    • February 12, 2011 6:46 pm

      Glad to hear you are trying it and having success!
      1.) The reason for keeping the sourdough starter in the fridge is because left out it will over produce undesirable bacteria giving it an unpleasant taste.
      2.) For the starter with the flour mixture on top, you need to refrigerate it overnight. The starter will gain more complexity of flavour if fermented slowly.

      • Niyasmom permalink
        February 13, 2011 9:11 pm

        Thanks!!! so slow is the secret…The reason I ask is I accidently left the bowl of starter with flour on top in the oven over night (cold oven!) When i realized what i did later the next day i decided to continue on with the recipe and see if the yeast was still alive…It was and it tasted awesome…Even better was the texture…It was chewy with loads of air bubbles in it! YUMM!!! Thanks again for your help!

  7. January 17, 2012 1:08 am

    I usually put our homemade bread in a bread bag in my bread box. Would that be okay with this bread, or would I need to refrigerate it once it’s done, since it has sauerkraut in it? A loaf usually lasts my husband and me about 5 days, and I want to make sure it won’t go bad in the breadbox.

    • January 21, 2012 10:25 am

      We just leave ours out on a cutting board or in the cupboard (we’ve never put it in the refrigerator). But, ours doesn’t sit around for long…we think it should be fine for about 5 days. Keep an eye on it and let us know.

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