My friends Amy, Ania and I are all sugar-fasting in January. (Well, my version of sugar fasting includes the occasional pain au chocolat or sweetened coffee if I feel the need--let's call it the French version.)
Anyway, I thought I'd kick it off right with some savory treats. Having just made my mother's limpa for the holidays, I thought a repeat performance might fit the bill. Halfway through proofing the yeast, however, I realized we were out of caraway seeds. The horrors! In an unprecedented act of brilliance, I made a substitution that transformed the old family recipe into something hearty, rich, slightly spicy, and apparently an ancient cure for every medical disorder in the book. Aren't you lucky that I feel like sharing?
Everything Old is New Again Bread
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut up in small pieces
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 1/2 cups rye flour
3 tablespoons charnushka
4 cups white flour
Proof the yeast with 1/4 cup water and brown sugar. The water should be very warm but not hot--you're making a home for the yeast and encouraging it to grow. While the yeast is proofing, blend the molasses, salt, butter, and hot water so that the butter melts. Once it's cooled down a bit, add this mixture to the yeast. Stir in the rye flour and charnushka. Add enough white flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
Knead your little hands off.
Allow the dough to rise in a greased, covered bowl for two hours. Punch the dough down, give it ten minutes to get over the shock, then form it into two circular loaves and let rise another two hours. Bake at 375 for about half an hour. Brush the tops with butter.