Kind of pain to make – you may want to get it from your bakery. But, for the masochistic or determined baker, here goes – (This is a cheat. I’ll tell you the real deal later. Clue: It cooks for 5 to 12 hours.)
You know the drill, bloom 2 packs of yeast in 1cup warm water. Stir in 3 cups dark rye flour and 1/3 cup dark molasses or corn syrup and 2 teaspoons salt. Get it nice and smooth. Let rise, covered for a half hour.
Start working in more flour, ½ cup at a time, kneading on a floured surface. When the dough gets stiff but still a bit sticky, you are there. Should have been around 5 cups flour total. Round it up into a ball and rotate it in a greased bowl to lube it up. Cover and let rise until doubled. Usually at least an hour and maybe nearer 2.
Punch it down and get onto the greased cooking container. You can cook it in a bread pan, but the traditional way is just roll up a round loaf and put it on a baking sheet. Whichever way, cover and let it rise until it doubles again. Oven preheated to 350°. Cook until you can get the nice hollow thump. Anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
Couple of things can be diddled. You can add ½ teaspoon powdered cocoa or instant coffee. A nice glaze is ½ cup water with a teaspoon cornstarch. Warm up the water and stir in the cornstarch, then brush it on when the loaf is done and return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes. You could also sprinkle on some crushed fennel seed when the glaze is wet.
A general comment here. It helps to pre-warm your mixing bowl(s). Nothing elaborate, just rinse them with hot water for a minute before you use them. This bread doesn’t like to get cold.
This stuff is superb with hearty stews and such. Goes well with a thickish green pea soup with good chunks of sweet ham in it. Spead thick with rich butter.