People, can we discuss the intro to this bread? As a vegetarian, I was kind of grossed out by PR’s loving descriptions of his childhood deli sandwiches. I don’t think I needed to know that chicken fat can be used as a sandwich spread. Rob (who also grew up in Philly) remembers the Chuckwagon PR references on City Line Avenue, but I have never been to any of the three places he mentions.
I love rye bread, so I was looking forward to this one. I made the starter, and I definitely did not forget to add the onions.
The next day, I combined the dry ingredients. I did not forget the caraway seeds, either.
Then for the mixing and kneading:
You are not supposed to knead rye bread for too long since it has a different kind of gluten than white bread does. However, this dough was wet, and I kept having to add more flour. I think the dough turned out stickier than I would have liked, but I was afraid to continue kneading it in order to add more flour. I popped it in my bucket to rise.
Which it did with no problems. I decided I wanted these to be sandwich loaves, partially because I was looking forward to having onion rye sandwiches, and partially because it would give my soft dough more structure.
I realize I don’t have a crumb shot! You can believe me when I say the inside was as yummy as the outside.
When I was growing up, a common party appetizer was a hollowed-out boule of rye or pumpernickel filled with an onion dip, and the scooped out middle was cut into squares of bread to dip. Eventually the entire bread bowl was torn apart and dipped, too. This is exactly what this bread tasted like. There was the sweetness of the onions, the tang of the rye and the caraway, and the sour of the sourdough all mixed together. We ate these slices by themselves, and the only problem I had with this bread is that I couldn’t come up with a sandwich that would complement the strong flavors. I think maybe PR is right that it would take roast beef or corned beef — or even chicken fat — to stand up to it. And as a vegetarian, I don’t have those options. I still have one and a half loaves of this in my freezer waiting for me to come up with a good use for it. I give this bread 4 stars.