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Deli Corn Bread


3 to 4 cups lukewarm water
3 cups dark rye flour or pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup white bread flour
1 teaspoon yeast
all of starter
2 cups warm water
4 cups dark rye flour
4 cups white bread flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (or to taste)


To make the starter, mix everything together to make a thick pudding-like mass. Cover it and let sit in a relatively cool place for three days. If it does not look frothy and bubbly after several hours, add a touch of water and bread flour (1/2 cup each). If it bubbles a lot, stir it down a bit.

On day three, in a large bowl, mix the starter and the remaining ingredients to make a mass. Let it stand for 20 minutes. Begin kneading and add more bread flour (if necessary) to make a manageable dough. If the dough mass is too large to handle, knead half the mass at a time (12 to 15 minutes).

Transfer dough to a large, lightly-greased bowl, place the entire bowl in a large plastic bag and lightly seal. Allow to rise for 2 to 4 hours. Gently deflate the dough and let rise for another 1 or 2 hours. Shape dough into two large round loaves and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the sheet on top of another (to insulate the bottom). Allow to rise again to two thirds (not doubled).

Preheat oven to 425 F. Make slits on top of loaves. Spray with water then sprinkle on some flour on top. Bake until done (35 to 45 minutes).

Makes 2 loaves.


This corn bread is hardly corny at all. It is sprinkled with corn meal as per bakery-style but it is actually the quintessential sour rye.