I got this recipe from a friend of mine about a year and a half ago. The original comes from a book, but it’s been posted all over different blogs as well. If you want the original, search “Jim Lahey” and “Crusty Bread”; you will get plenty of hits. Jim Lahey is a baker at Sullivan Street Bakery and the original creator. The original recipe is NOT rye bread; it’s a standard no-knead white bread. However, there are several different variations of the recipe available all over the internet (I’ve also experimented with variations, and this bread is a lot of fun to play with).
I’ve experimented a lot with this bread to get a rye similar to the German rye you can buy at Le Pain Quotidien. I honestly still think their rye is better (it’s positively delectable and goes wonderfully with their hazelnut spread), but this is a great at-home version that pairs fantastically with avocado, butter, or jam. I frequently eat it with peanut butter, but the PB can be a bit salty on this particular bread. The key to this bread is the rising time, make sure you plan ahead before you start this recipe.
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (You can use bread flour, but it really doesn’t make much of a difference. AP works wonderfully)
1 1/2 cups Rye Flour (I used Hogsmead)
2 TSP Dark Brown Sugar, hard packed
1 3/4 TSP Salt
1 TSP Yeast (I used rising star quick rise yeast)
1 1/2 cups Water
-Note: This recipe calls for a dutch oven. I love my dutch oven, it’s a blue one from lodge (here it is on amazon). You want one that’s at least 6 quarts. A, because it’s more versatile; B, you will want the space. You may be able to get away with a 4 quart, but 6 has never lead me astray.
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (You will use the same bowl for rising, so it should be big enough for the dough to double)
Add the water and mix well. Your dough should be a shaggy mess; it will not look like the average bread dough.
Cover the bowl well and let it rise for 12-18 hours. Usually, I let it rise for 16-18 hours to give the yeast plenty of time. 12 hours is fine when you are in a time crunch, but 16+ is best.
After the dough is done rising, you are ready to start the baking process. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
When the oven is preheated, place your dutch oven (with the lid on) on the middle rack to warm for 30 minutes. While it is warming, turn out the dough onto a very well-floured surface. Dust the top with flour, then flour your hands and shape into a loaf. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest.
When the dutch oven is ready, carefully place the loaf of dough into it and cover with the lid. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Your bread will be a dark crusty brown when it is finished.
Remove the bread from the dutch oven and let it rest until it has cooled. This is a very important step; the bread continues to bake while resting. If you don’t let it rest, the texture will be wrong.
Finally, cut it and enjoy!