Carol McDonald is a former Winnipeg journalist now living in Victoria who is passionate about making good bread. She has tinkered with and tweaked recipes to try and get close to the City rye bread flavour she fondly remembers, and kindly shares her recipe, Winnipeg rye bread for the home baker.
Thanks also to Jean Sawchuk, who sent in an old recipe for Winnipeg rye bread that she used to make. It is a light rye bread that she says is excellent.
A new request to fill comes from Kim Leatherdale, who is looking for a recipe that is like the mushroom pecan burger sold at the Organza deli.
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Winnipeg rye bread for the home baker
175 ml (3/4 cup) coarse rye meal*
175 ml (3/4 cup) water
If unable to find coarse rye meal, improvise. You can use a blender to chop up whole rye kernels. You want some powdered and some medium-size grit, but also lots of larger bits of cracked grain.
310 ml (1 1/4 cups) warm water, about 100 F
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) dry yeast
5 ml (1 tsp) liquid barley malt (or molasses)
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
1125 ml (4 1/2 cups) white bread flour
60 ml (4 tbsp) rye flour
10 ml (2 tsp) salt
22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) canola oil
If using active dry yeast: Mix water, yeast, malt, sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Blend flour, salt and oil with soaked rye meal. Add yeast mixture. Knead 8 to 10 minutes.
If using stand mixer with instant dry yeast: Not necessary to dissolve yeast. Fine to do so along with sugar and malt for good dispersion, but use lukewarm water and don't let stand 10 minutes. Hold back half the flour and put yeast in mixing bowl right away with everything else. Use paddle attachment on low speed until blended -- a minute or two -- and allow to stand for 10 to 20 minutes to mellow gluten and improve handling ease. Add reserved flour, change to dough hook and mix briefly at low speed to incorporate. Then mix 8 or 9 minutes on medium speed.
If using hand method with instant dry yeast: Hold back handful of flour. Mix everything else together. Knead in the bowl until it comes together, then on a lightly floured countertop for about 5 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Cover with inverted bowl and let rest 20 minutes. Knead 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use reserved flour, a little at a time.
Whether using hand method or stand mixer, resist urge to knead in more flour. Keeping your hands lightly floured and a fine film of flour on the countertop will be enough. Cover and rest 30 minutes in warm place.
Divide dough in half. Pre-shape rounds, let rest 5 minutes covered. Shape long and place on a 12 x 18-inch sheet pan, parchment lined and sprinkled with corn meal. Cover and allow to double in size (40 to 50 minutes). Score 3 or 4 times crosswise. An egg wash or cornstarch glaze is optional. Bake 10 minutes in oven preheated to 230 C (460 F). Reduce heat to 205 C (400 F) for an additional 25 minutes. Steam improves oven spring and colour. One method is to place cast iron fry pan on lower oven rack; add 125 ml (1/2 cup) boiling water carefully before loading bread on upper rack. Makes two loaves of 590 g (1 lb 5 oz) each.
Taste Tester Notes: A delightful rye bread with good flavour and texture, chewy crust and crunchy bits of rye. I couldn't find coarse rye meal, and used whole rye kernels (available at Vita Health) that I chopped in a blender. If you are a beer maker, you may have the malt on hand. The only place I could find that was Grape and Grain on St. Mary's in St. Vital (I used molasses). I used traditional yeast and a stand mixer, and the dough was easy to work with. My loaves were browning quickly, so I reduced heat to 175 C (350 F) for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Winnipeg rye bread
60 ml (1/4 cup) cracked rye
60 ml (1/4 cup) water
Soak rye in water until water is absorbed.
7 ml (1 3/4 tsp) yeast
250 ml (1 cup) warm water
175 ml (3/4 cup) milk
45 ml (3 tbsp) butter
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
60 ml (1/4 cup) packed brown sugar
20 ml (4 tsp) gluten
1080 ml (4 1/3 cups) flour
Milk to brush on top
Gluten (vital wheat gluten) looks like white powder and aids in the tenderness and texture of bread. Two stores where I've seen it are Safeway and Vita Health.
Mix yeast that has risen in warm water with other wet ingredients. Mix in soaked rye. Mix dry ingredients and add flour mixture a cup at at time. Knead. Let rise until double in bulk. Make into 3 equal loaves. Let rise again. Brush a bit of milk on top of loaves and bake at 175 C (350 F) until loaves sound hollow when tapped.
Taste Tester Notes: A nice, light loaf with a speckling of rye for those who prefer a lighter bread. I couldn't find cracked rye, but whole rye kernels are available at Vita Health and I used a blender to chop them. The rye and water will need to soak several hours or overnight. I warmed the milk before adding, and used a stand mixer with paddle for initial mixing and then the dough hook as more flour mixture was added. The dough was fairly wet, so I kneaded in extra flour until workable. I placed dough into oiled bowl, turned over so top was oiled, and covered with plastic to let rise in warm place for about an hour. Once shaped into loaves, I placed on a baking sheet and covered with a clean dish towel for the second rise until doubled (about 45 minutes). I placed a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to create steam while baking. Baking time was 35 minutes.