This recipe comes from "Home Baking-The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World" by Alford and Duguid. I don't know if this book is known on this board as I recently got involved with this site. It is available from chapters.ca and is well worth it. They have 3 excellent books that have 3 of my passions-food, travel, and photography.This is not the speediest bread to make,but it is great.
Portugese Mountain Rye
1/2 cup warm water
tiny pinch of yeast
1/2 cup unbleached flour
Give the poolish 24 hours at least.
All of the poolish
1 cup water
2 cups dark rye flour
Stir the water into the poolish and then add the flour. Mix well. I use a wisk to aerate it. Let it sit loosely covered overnight on the counter.
Next day, add 3 cups warm water to the starter and mix well in a large bowl. Sometimes, I just use my hands at this point, as it can be pretty tough using a spoon. I take a couple of cups of this mixture as a starter for my next batch. Keep it covered in the fridge and it lasts for a long time.
Add another 1 cup of water to the bowl and 4 tsp salt.Mix. Add 2-3 cups flour to this and add a touch more if you need it. It should still be sticky, but not goopy.
Here is the hard part for me. Knead it for 10 minutes-set the timer, no cheating here. It really does make a difference! You'll need to add more flour as you go, at least one cup, but add slowly.It should still have a definite stickiness if you want to get any rise.
Put the dough into a slightly oiled bowl and make sure it is evenly coated. Wrap it in plastc and set it into the fridge overnight.
Next morning, form 2 boules and let them come to room temperature, then let them rise, covered. They should not double, but maybe 40%. I'm always surprised how long this takes, so be patient as it'll take 4-6 hours at least. You may be able to speed this up by putting it in the oven with the light on, but I've never tried.
Make a few slashes before baking at 500 for 15 min, then 45-50 at 425. I rotate them at least once. The internal temp will be around 205 and the loaves will have a definite thump. Cool on racks-the first piece is a moment of heaven.