Have you ever had a dream about your closet?
I sure have. In fact, I dream about my closet a lot.
A typical closet dream goes like this. I need an outfit to wear to an occasion, so I head to the closet. It's packed full of great things to choose from. BUT, the minute I pull something out, it shrinks to infant size, or the pattern changes to bright polka dots (or something equally hideous). Outfit after outfit is rejected, and I never do make it to my event.
Now, before you call the men in the nice white jackets, according to the dream interpretation book I picked up at a yard sale my subconscious is trying to tell me that something in my life doesn't fit any longer and needs to be changed.
Hmmm, not as crazy as I thought it would be.
So what does my dream have to do with rye bread? Well, think of our recipe archive like a big ol' closet of clothes. We have our everyday wear, our Christmas sweaters, the little black dress, and a few pieces that we wear once a year. But you have to admit, in every closet are a few things with a rip, a tear, a spot or a stain. They're our old favorites that we can't bear to part with, but they really need a facelift and some TLC.
That's exactly what happened with our Party Onion-Rye Bread recipe. It's been on our site since before 2008, before we offered weight measures, before our blog debuted, and it was time to give it a much-needed makeover.
So, Party Rye, are you ready to show the world the new you? Let's go!
So, why does some rye bread look dark and some looks really light? It's partly due to which rye flour you use (white, medium, dark, pumpernickel), but a lot of it is due to the addition of caramel color.
If you take corn syrup, caramelize it, and then dry it to a dust-like powder, you'll have caramel color. Not really sweet, not really burnt, but a combination of both, it gives depth of flavor and real depth of color to your baked goods. In fact, it's a secret ingredient for many gingerbread house artists. Add a bit to one batch for a lighter brown finish, add more for a deep-dark brown.
In older recipes and some intense black bread recipes, ground burnt bread crusts were used for color and flavor. Not being a big fan of carbon on my tongue, I'll stick with the caramel color, thanks. Of course, if you don't have the caramel color, you can absolutely leave it out and still get a lovely, if lighter-colored bread.
Onward to the party, with Party Onion-Rye Bread!
Place the following in your bowl, mixer, or bread machine:
1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup medium rye flour
2 tablespoons Baker's Special Dry Milk
2 tablespoons minced dried onions
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor (optional, but very good)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caramel color (optional, for best color)
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
3/4 cup warm water (90°F to 110°F)
Minced dried onions can be found in the spice aisle of the grocery store. My hubby buys them in bulk for his BBQ sauce, so we always have some on hand. I've also used French's fried onions too, if you have some in the cupboard from Thanksgiving.
Mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined, then knead the resulting dough until smooth and elastic. It'll be stiffer than regular bread dough; check the consistency and adjust with additional flour or water as you knead.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover lightly and allow to rise for 1 hour. The dough will look puffy, but may not have exactly doubled.
Gently deflate the dough and place it on a flat smooth surface lightly spritzed with cooking spray. Roll the dough into a log about 8" long. Place the log in a well-greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
To help ensure that the bread fills the pan from side to side and doesn't rise up to a pointy crown, place a piece of greased plastic wrap over the dough, then place a half sheet pan or cookie sheet on top. Think of it like a homemade version of a pain de mie pan.
Let rise for another hour. Around 30 minutes into the rise, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the bread, remove the plastic, and bake the loaf for 25 to 35 minutes. the temperature at the center of regular sandwich bread reads 190°F when the loaf is fully baked. I'd say use that as your minimum, but try to shoot for 200°F.
Remove the bread form the oven. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
Slice the cooled bread thin, and serve with your favorite toppings. I'm not a big salmon fan, but I ate myself silly on slices topped with scallion cream cheese, dill, and salmon. The deep flavor and slight pucker of the rye bread offset the sweetness of the cream cheese and the richness of the salmon to perfection.
We hope our updated version of the recipe will find a place in your closet for years to come.
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