Here is a recipe I use a lot when I cook at historic events, I often do it in dutch ovens but also do it at home on the stove. This takes a good active starter, I make min with champange yeast.
There is a little background, I often include those with period recipes. It is written as an old recipe, hand fulls are about a cup. Bread recipes will always need enough flour to make the dough right anyway. Lump of lard the size of a chicke egg will be around 2/3 cup. Double pinch will be about a teaspoon. This is the way recipes were written till the 1890's Medium hot oven will be 375-400.
In the 1870's the CB&Q railroad owned a lot of land in South East Nebraska and they sent agents over to Europe to find buyers for it. A lot that settled south west of Lincoln, my home town, were Czech, so I have had a lot of exposure to this type of cooking.
Talking with some of the local Czech Historians I have done some back engineering and came up with what we think is a recipe that would have been similar to what the Czech who settled here in South East Nebraska would have made, in the 1870's.
About a quart of sourdough starter
4 handfuls of rye flour
white flour (about 4 handfuls)
lump of lard about the size of a meduim chicken egg
1/2 handful of brown sugar
double pinch of caraway seed
Put the starter in a crock bowl the night before, stir in the brown sugar and a handful of white flour. Cover with a towel.
In the morning mix in the rye flour, lard, caraway seed and enough white flour to make a workable dough. (Rye bread will be more sticky than other bread doughs) Let rise till doubled.
(A good starter will not take more than 2-3 hours at the most)
When it has doubled in size punch down and form into round loaves (2 or 3) I place mine in a greased 15 inch skillet. Let rise till doubled and bake in a medium hot oven for 35-45 minutes.
Cool on a towel or rack and spread the tops with melted butter.
I have decided in my not always humble opinion that this is the best bread in the word for a meat and cheese type sandwich.
I have to do a bit more searching when buying the rye flour, I do not use stone ground flour if I can find steel ground flour. I do this to honor the Czech who settled in this region. They are credited with bringing the steel roller mill technolagy to this area from Central Europe. It seems wrong to use stone ground flour in it.
By the turn of the century there were a lot of small flour mills in Saline County, grinding both rye and wheat. A popular product was a 50/50 mix. The white flour was a luxury back in the Old Country because of the climate and type of wheat used then. The 50/50 mix makes a light product that tastes a lot like the heavy breads made with pure rye.
Although I am not of Czech desent many of my friends are and I have been told I am an Honorary Czech several times by Czech folks who have eaten some of this rye bread. If ya do sourdough give this a try.
Mongrel Historian aka Glen Carman<br />Lincoln Newbrassky<br /><br />Member of POOP: People Offended by Offended People<br /><br /><br /><br />Lexie, are you telling me you want me to get on the couch?