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Black Rye Bread

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  1. Starter is used to leaven black rye bread. Starter is usually a leftover of dough from the last bread baking. Just before baking, the saved piece of dough is dissolved in warm water and is added to the newly mixed dough. Should there be no starter a new starter is prepared before mixing new dough. Mix all starter ingredients, keep in a warm spot to ensure maximum fermentation. This starter should be ready in 24 hours. Starter gives bread an agreeable, pleasant sour taste. Every starter has its own particular taste. Some homemakers add sour milk in place of water.
  1. To make dough, heat water to 100-110F/40-45C, pour half of the flour, starter and mix well. Sprinkle dough with flour and set in a warm spot to ferment. During fermentation the volume of dough will almost triple. Fermentation is complete after about 14 hours. Then beat dough, add remaining flour, salt and knead well. Smooth top of dough, dampen with wet hands, cover and set in warm spot to rise for about 3 hours.
  1. Prepare baking pans by lining them with maple or cabbage leaves or dust with flour.
  1. Form oblong loaves, smooth tops with damp hands. Bake in preheated oven at 400F/200C, for about 2–3 hours. Bread is done when it gives off a solid sound. Dampen tops of loaves with cold water, cover loaves with a light linen cloth and let cool at room temperature. Do not place freshly baked loaves in a cold place for that will cause the crust to separate.
  1. Black rye bread remains fresh for up to 2 weeks when refrigerated.

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