Korn Bread (Kornbroyt)

I baked this recipe because Bubby has been dreaming about how delicious it would be to have fresh kornbread. I don't know if it will live up to her imagination when she tastes it, but it looked very pretty coming out of the oven. This is not corn bread made with maize (corn) - it's a type of sour dough rye.

This bread was started with the sour dough culture described in the posting outlining the process for starting a sour dough culture. In addition to rye flour, "first clear," a flour that is not readily available in the retail market is part of the recipe. First clear refers to the stage at which the flour is collected during the milling process. First clear flour is less refined than all purpose flour sold to the retail consumer, it is  higher in mineral and specs of bran and is commonly used in darker breads and in combination with rye flour, like it is in the korn bread. It is a high gluten flour, thus helping heavier rye breads rise.  My source for both the rye flour and first clear flour is King Arthur flour (kingarthurflour.com), however, Stanley Ginsberg (co-author of Inside the Jewish Bakery, the book from which I took this recipe) has a website called The New York Bakers (www.nybakers.com) and has many interesting baking ingredients, including a variety of flours, for sale. 

Ginsberg and Berg have a wonderful section on rye flour in Inside the Jewish Bakery and if you want to know more about how rye reacts in dough it's worth the read. 

Even though the bread takes two days to bake, I adapted the process in the book so that I could work on the bread in the morning, go to work and continue when I got home. 

The choreography for the bread is a bit more complicated than breads requiring shorter rising times:
1. You need a starter culture. If you do not have one bubbling away in the kitchen, this takes about a week. 
2. Mix a portion of the starter with flour, water and salt in the morning of day 1. I left this starting "sponge" (it's not loose like a typical sponge and is actually a stiff pre-ferment) covered loosely on the counter until the evening of day 1.

3.The sponge will rise, just about doubling in bulk, although it looks heavy and is not a bubbling -type of dough. Place the sponge (covered with a pot lid or plastic wrap) in the fridge until the next morning. 
4. On the morning of day 2, remove the dough from the fridge and allow the dough to come to room temperature for about an hour. It will be lumpy and still thick (see picture to the left).
5. Complete making the dough and chill during the day (for about 8-9 hours). 
6. Remove the dough from the fridge on the evening of day 2. 

7. You'll need to move the dough from the bowl in which it has been rising onto a baking surface and bake the bread on the evening of day 2. Near the end of the baking you'll need to make the glaze, which will be applied to the hot bread immediately after you remove the bread from the oven. 
8. The dough needs between several hours through overnight (morning of day 3) to cool. Try to refrain from slicing the bread while it is warm because rye flour does not have gluten and behaves a bit differently - the bread might feel, look and taste "gummy" if you slice and eat while it is warm. 

For the "sponge"
  • 2 oz mature sour dough culture (from your "mother" culture)
  • 8 oz warm water -not too warm- around 80-90 degrees
  • 10 oz medium rye flour 
  • .05 oz kosher salt (don't use table salt, additives can interfere with the yeast)
On day 2, for the full dough you'll be adding:
  • 9.5 oz warm water
  • 19 oz first clear flour (if you don't have first clear flour, Ginsberg & Berg say to use a high gluten flour, which would include bread flour)
  • .6 oz instant yeast
  • .3 oz kosher salt 
  • 3 Tbsp caraway or nigella seeds (optional). I used caraway seeds, it gave the bread a wonderful "bite."  Mix the seeds into the dough after you have mixed in everything else. 
  • cornmeal for dusting the surface of the parchment that you use to line a baking sheet
At the end of the baking, a glaze is applied to make the bread shiny
  • 6 oz water, boiled 
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 oz of cold water
On day 1:
1. In the morning of day 1, in a nonreactive pot  or large bowl mix the mature culture, warm water, rye flour and salt
2. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or the pot lid and place the mixture in a draft free place and let proof (rise) until the evening
3. In the evening of day 1 place the covered sponge in the fridge until the morning.

On day 2: 
4. On the morning of day 2, let the dough come to room temperature for 30-60 minutes. 
5. Mix together the flour, yeast and salt and set aside. Mix the water with the sour sponge and then add the flour mixture. You won't be able to knead this dough- it will be heavy, but will also be sticky. Make sure the entire mixture is hydrated by mixing well. Cover and place in the fridge until the evening.

6. On the evening of day 2, remove the dough from the fridge, it will have risen to not quite double the size

7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a dry metal pan on the floor of the oven. This will be your "steam" pan- you'll add a cup of boiling water into the hot pan just before you load the bread into the oven. 
8. Line a baking pan with parchment, sprinkle the parchment generously with corn meal. 
9. Be very gentle when  you handle the risen dough-  you do not want to deflate it. 
10. Wet your hands (this will help prevent the dough from sticking to your hands- rye dough is sticky) and gently roll the dough onto the prepared pan. Don't lift it out of the pot or bowl, doing so will deflate it. 
11. The dough will be a thick disk, you can use your wet hands to smooth it out a bit, slash the top of the bread with a single edge razor blade or lame (pronounced lah-may). A lame can be ordered on line at either of the two websites I mentioned. Slashing (or docking) the dough will help increase surface area and helps the dough rise a bit more. 
12. Pour about a cup of boiling water into the hot steam pan.
13. Slide the baking sheet with the dough into the oven, be careful there will be hot steam!
14. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes and then lower the oven to 365 degrees and continue to bake for about an hour. 
15. Check at the end of the hour, the bread should have a dark crust. In our oven the baking took another 10 minutes.  Cooked bread can be deemed finished visually (crust color), tapped to sound hollow (I have never been able to hear a hollow tap) or checked by temperature (185-195 degrees). 
16. During the last few minutes of baking, boil 6 oz of water and mix in 2 tsp of cornstarch suspended in 2 oz of cold water. Cook the mixture for a minute or two, it will thicken.
17. Remove the bread from the oven and immediately brush the cornstarch mixture in a thin coat on the entire bread. The heat of the bread will dry the cornstarch fairly quickly and it really will take on a shine. 
18. Cool thoroughly- for several hours at least, before you slice. 
19. The bread stays well for a few days if stored at room
temperature in a plastic bag.  The bread, like most breads will 
freeze well for a month or so - just make sure to double wrap. 


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