Yeilds: 2 loaves
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup water, warm
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup medium or dark rye flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup cracked rye
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 cup (8 ounces) sourdough starter
12 ounces beer (Pils or Porter)
1/4 cup polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal
In a small bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water. Let the mixture rest 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, oats, cornmeal, cracked rye, salt and caraway seeds. Add the yeast, sourdough starter and beer; affix the dough hook and mix on low speed 5 minutes or until the ingredients bind into a rough ball.
Increase the speed to medium; continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to lose its rough texture, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand until the dough is smooth and a bit shiny, about 3 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large, oiled bowl, flipping the dough once to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Place the polenta or cornmeal in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into 2 round loaves. Fill a spray bottle with water and mist the loaves well, then roll each loaf in the bowl of cornmeal to coat.
Place the loaves on the baking sheet and use a knife to slash the tops of the loaves. Cover them with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot at least 11/4 hours until the loaves have expanded slightly and the slashes have opened more fully.
Remove all but the middle rack from the oven; 15 minutes before baking, place a metal roasting pan on the floor of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Mist the tops and sides of the loaves again. Place the baking sheet with the loaves in the oven. Pour 1 cup ice water into the roasting pan below, and immediately close the oven door. Bake 5 minutes, then add 1 additional cup ice water to the roasting pan.
Bake 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, then bake another 20 to 25 minutes for a total baking time of 40 to 45 minutes.
When the bread develops a deep brown crust and sounds hollow when tapped, mist the loaves once more, and bake 1 minute more. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool.