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"polish" Rye Bread (as Made In Bucks County) Recipe

Polish Rye Bread (as Made In Bucks County)

History:
Polish Rye Bread, also known as Chleb żytni, is a traditional bread that has been a staple in Polish cuisine for centuries. It originated in Poland as a way to make use of the abundant rye grain grown in the region. Rye bread has a dense, slightly tangy flavor and a hearty texture, making it a popular choice among the Polish community and beyond.

Fun Facts:
1. Rye bread has a longer shelf life compared to other bread types due to its low moisture content.
2. In Poland, bread is considered a sacred food and is traditionally shared with guests as a sign of hospitality.
3. The technique of using a sponge or starter in bread-making dates back to ancient civilizations and is still widely used today.
4. Bucks County, located in Pennsylvania, has a strong Polish-American community, where this recipe has been passed down through generations.

Recipe:

Ingredients:
- 1 quart whole-ground rye flour
- 2 quarts white bread flour
- 1 quart potato water (or lukewarm, scalded milk, or a mixture of both)
- 1 tablespoon lard and butter mixture
- 2 boiled, mashed potatoes
- 2 tablespoonfuls of sugar
- 1/2 tablespoonful of salt
- 1 Fleischman's compressed yeast cake, dissolved in water
- Additional flour for kneading

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the whole-ground rye flour and white bread flour.

2. In the morning of the baking day, prepare a thick batter or sponge by combining the potato water (or milk), lard and butter mixture, mashed potatoes, sugar, salt, and the dissolved yeast cake. Mix well.

3. Gradually add about five cups of the mixed and sifted flour to the batter, beating it well. Cover the bowl and let the batter rise in a warm place for one and a half to two hours until it becomes well-risen and light.

4. Stir in the remaining flour gradually, adding all except one cup. Then, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead well. The dough should be slightly less stiff than for wheat bread.

5. Place the kneaded dough onto a clean, well-floured cloth in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise according to the directions for baking "Hearth-baked Rye Bread." Alternatively, you can form the dough into loaves, place them in bread pans, let them rise until light, and then bake.

6. Preheat the oven to the required baking temperature for "Hearth-baked Rye Bread" or as directed for loaves in bread pans.

7. Once the dough has risen and is ready to bake, follow the appropriate baking directions.

Hearth-baked Rye Bread:
To bake "Hearth-baked Rye Bread," carefully transfer the risen dough onto a preheated hearthstone or baking stone in a hot oven. Bake at a high temperature for an initial burst of heat, then reduce the temperature for the remaining baking time. Rotate the bread as needed to ensure even browning.

Loaves in Bread Pans:
If you prefer baking the bread in loaf pans, preheat the oven to the specified temperature for bread baking. Place the risen dough in greased bread pans, slash the tops gently with a sharp knife, and bake in the preheated oven until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Enjoy your homemade Polish Rye Bread straight from the oven or sliced and toasted with your favorite toppings!

Similar Recipe Dishes:
1. Russian Black Bread: This dense and flavorful bread is similar to Polish Rye Bread but often includes ingredients like molasses, coffee, and cocoa powder for a deeper taste profile.
2. Lithuanian Rye Bread: Another variation of rye bread that is popular in Lithuania, known for its darker color and denser texture.
3. German Pumpernickel: Pumpernickel bread, made from rye flour and sourdough starter, has a rich, robust flavor and is often enjoyed sliced thinly with hearty toppings.

These similar bread recipes are all delicious choices for those who appreciate the rich flavor and texture of rye bread. Experiment with different variations to find your favorite!

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