Rustic Apple-Rye Bread
This bread is Monika Walecka's ode to one of her favorite grains, rye, and has become her signature loaf at Cała W Mące in Warsaw. "Everything you sense while eating pure rye bread—lactic notes, sweetness, gentle spiciness, and rich fruity aroma—is here," she says. Cracked rye berries soaked in buttermilk, raisins, a dash of cinnamon, and cubes of heirloom apples that release their juices into the crumb while baking all make this loaf extra special. To be successful with this bread, you need to have a healthy sourdough starter, Walecka advises. Make sure you're using quality products—splurge on good organic buttermilk and raisins, cinnamon (preferably Sri Lankan), and some fine heirloom apples: "Go for russets, but you might have something else around." If you have trouble finding cracked rye berries, you can crack rye berries at home using a food processor (or a kitchen flour mill). Achieving the distinctive, festive ring shape (a rustic couronne) is easy; just be sure to have two sets of 4-inch and 9-inch nesting bowls on hand.