Caraway Seed Bread

Caraway is one of those spices used in main dishes like Pörkelt as well as vegetables, breads and desserts. Almost every supermarket or bake shop features rye bread flavored with caraway seeds. Jerri bakes a sweet version of rye bread flavored with caraway, Mrs. Lanier’s Swedish Rye Bread. Mrs. Lanier told Jerri that she was given the recipe by a Swedish lady who lived on a farm near them in the Flint Hills of southern Kansas.

Jerri found this recipe for Caraway Seed Bread many years ago. It makes an interesting bread that goes especially well with pulled pork or barbecued ribs. Give it a try when you want a white bread flavored with caraway instead of the more common caraway rye bread.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1/8 tsp. sugar
1 cup milk
4 T butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 T caraway seed
1 T celery seed
4 – 5 cups all-purpose flour

PROCEDURE:

Heat a quarter cup of water until a drop on your wrist feels just barely warm. Stir in the yeast and a dash of sugar. Set the cup aside and allow the yeast to proof.

Heat a cup of milk to steaming and put it in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the butter until it has melted, then add the honey and salt. Beat the eggs until they are lemon colored and whisk them into the milk mixture along with the caraway and celery seeds.

Scrub your hands, since you will soon be kneading the dough

Stir in the yeast when the milk mixture has cooled until it is barely warm. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating well between each addition, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest three or four minutes in the bowl, then turn it out on a floured surface.

Knead the dough for five to eight minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as necessary while kneading. Finish kneading by forming the dough into a ball. Grease the mixing bowl with butter, lard or shortening and put the ball of dough in the bowl, turning it until the entire surface is coated with the butter or shortening.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm draft-free spot until it has doubled in bulk. Grease two loaf pans. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Deflate the dough by kneading it three or four turns, divide the dough in half, form the loaves and put them in the pans.

Cover the pans with a damp towel and allow the dough to rise again. Preheat the oven to 400º while the bread is rising. When the dough is even with or very slightly above the tops of the pans, put them on a center shelf in the oven. Bake for twenty minutes at 400º, then reduce the heat to 350º and bake for another ten to twenty minutes.

After the loaves have baked ten minutes at 350º check for doneness by tapping the tops of the loaves. If the bread sounds hollow it is done. If not, bake another five minutes and test again. Cool the loaves on a rack for at least an hour before slicing.

NOTES: I think this recipe makes nicer looking loaves if you bake them in four and a half by eight and a half-inch pans, but nine by five pans are okay. I like to brush the tops of the hot loaves with a little butter after they are on the cooling rack.