A sponge is a mixture of yeast, liquid and flour – it’s a just base to make bread dough. A sponge will give the final bread a tangier flavour and a slightly denser texture. The caraway seeds are optional in this recipe. They have a slight licorice flavour and are used in many Eastern European cuisines.
Tbsp lightly toasted caraway seeds (optional) (22 ml)
cup rye flour (250 ml)
1 to 1 ½ cups bread flour (250 to 375 ml)
Tbsp cornmeal (30 ml)
Tbsp milk (15 ml)
1. Whisk the water, milk, molasses, and the yeast in a large bowl. Add 1¼ cups bread flour and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. It should have a foamy appearance.
1. Punch down the sponge. Add the oil, salt, 1 tbsp. of the caraway seeds, and the rye flour. Add some of the remaining bread flour, stirring until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
2. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead until the remaining flour has been incorporated or until the dough is still a tiny bit sticky (this dough will be a bit stickier than most because of the molasses). Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
4. Punch down the dough. Shape it into a 10-inch loaf. Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
6. Score the top of the loaf 4 times with a paring knife. Mix the egg white and the milk together in a small bowl and brush the mixture all over the top of the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with the remaining ½ tbsp. caraway seeds. Bake until golden in colour and gives a hollow sound when the bottom of the loaf is tapped, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.