- 1½ cup beer, buttermilk, milk, or potato water
- 2 tbsp butter or margarine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 2 cup dark rye flour or light rye flour or rye meal (rye flour with bran)
- 3½ to 4 cups unbleached white flour
- Heat 1½ cups liquid to lukewarm. Stir in the butter and salt. Set aside to cool.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (a temperature comfortable on the inside of the wrist) with the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast bubbles.
- Stir the yeast mixture into the cooled liquid.
- Add the rye flour and beat until smooth. Add the white flour, a cup at a time, stirring after each addition until enough is added to make a stiff dough.
- Dust a work surface with white flour. Form the dough into a rough ball, place it on the work surface, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Generously butter a large bowl or pot.
- Adding only as much flour as necessary to prevent sticking, knead the bread dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. (The gluten in rye is more fragile than in wheat. It needs a resting time to recuperate and reform and does not need as lengthy or vigorous a kneading).
- Form the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a buttered bowl, turning it to coat all sides with the butter. Cover it and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Punch the dough down, gently knead it for one minute, and divide it into two parts.
- Form each half into a round loaf and place the loaves in two lightly buttered 9-inch round cake pans or on a large, buttered baking sheet.
- Press a hole through the center of each loaf to give it a traditional shape if you wish. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, about ½ hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
- Brush the loaves with water and gently puncture the surface all over with the tines of a fork, in a design if you wish.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- While it is hot, brush it with butter to glaze, and then let it cool on a rack.
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