This crusty, slightly moist bread is a welcome addition to your “Vesper” table. Enjoy it with butter or as a sandwich!
60 ml (¼ cup) lukewarm (43°C to 46°C (110°F to 115°F)) water
3 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
120 ml (½ cup) lukewarm (43°C to 46°C (110°F to 115°F)) milk
950 g (4 cups) sifted all-purpose flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
70 g (¼ lb) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 6 mm (¼ inch) pieces
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Pour lukewarm water into small, shallow bowl. Sprinkle in yeast and ½ tsp of sugar over top, let stand 2 or 3 minutes, then stir together to dissolve completely. Set in warm, draft-free place for 3 to 5 minutes or until doubled in size.
Transfer yeast to large mixing bowl and stir in milk. Beat in 710 ml (3 cups) of sifted flour 60 ml (¼ cup) at a time. Then beat in the eggs one at a time with pieces of butter. Continue to beat until dough can form into ball. Place the ball on lightly floured surface and knead in final cup of flour.
Shape into rough ball place in mixing bowl. Add enough cold water to cover ball slightly. In 10 to 15 minutes top of dough should rise above surface of water. Once risen, remove dough from water and pat surface dry, then return to floured surface and punch down.
Sprinkle with remaining sugar, salt, and caraway seeds. Knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, lightly flouring from time to time.
Pat and shape dough into round loaf about 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter, slightly mounded in centre.
Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal, place dough in centre of sheet and cover loosely with kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Once risen, remove kitchen towel and bake in middle of oven preheated to 190°C (375°F) for about 60 minutes. When done crust should be light golden colour.