Galicia, the region in the northwest of Spain, has some fabulous breads, and one of our favorites is Galician rye bread or pan de centeno.
To make a truly authentic Galician rye bread would be a complicated, many-stepped process, involving a starter and a wood burning oven. (Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb: Master Formulas for Serious Bread Bakers has a difficult recipe for "naturally leavened" rye bread if you'd like to give it a shot). But by using the no-knead method described in Mark Bittman's now-famous article for Jim Lahey's no-knead bread, it's easy to make a fantastic rye very much like the best pan de centeno of Galicia. All it needs is time--about 24 hours--and a fairly steady temperature of 70 degrees for the slow, eighteen-hour rise.
This recipe is just like that for my Galician country bread (pan de Cea) except the cup of whole wheat flour is replaced with whole grain rye flour.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole grain rye flour
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of water
semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting
a little olive oil
Here's how to do it:
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the water. Stir. A ragged dough should form.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Place it in a spot that stays around 70 degrees. The temperature is important. If your kitchen is warmer than 70 degrees, see my post on how to keep no-knead bread dough at 70 degrees. Let the dough rise for 18 hours.
Put a piece of parchment on a large inverted baking sheet (this serves as your peel or baker's paddle). Sprinkle it with semolina flour or cornmeal. Wet your hands (It's much easier to work with this sticky dough with wet hands). "Punch" the dough down and shape it into a rough ball. Dust it with flour. Place it on the prepared parchment
Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap rubbed with olive oil, and cover it with a towel.
Let the dough rise an hour or two, depending on the temps of your kitchen.
Now heat up your oven to 550, with a baking stone or pizza stone in the oven. If you don't have a stone, a large cast iron skillet works well. If you're using a kamado (Big Green Egg), even better: heat it up to 600 with the baking stone in it.
Carefully slide the dough, parchment and all, onto the hot stone (or into the hot skillet). Be careful. Shut the oven and turn down the temperature to 400. Bake it from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Keep an eye on the bread, especially towards the end. The idea is to bake it as much as possible without burning it. It should turn a deep toasty brown.
Remove the bread from the oven. Slide it onto a cooling rack. It's best to wait for it to cool before slicing.
This bread is great with caldo gallego.