The Red Room

Between my junior and senior years in college, I rented the upstairs of a house with my sister Patti.  It was an interesting place.  The woman who owned the house wanted the income, but no noise.  You had to take off your shoes, couldn’t turn up the TV too loudly and in general were best liked if you were invisible, un-hearable and paid your rent on time.  One of the funny things about being un-hearable was the landlady had furnished it in discard 1500’s furniture I’m sure.  You could not turn over in bed without the entire frame squeaking. 

From my bedroom you could see the sign of the local hotel, there to house visiting parents who couldn’t stay in their kids’ dorm rooms.  Its neon red light garishly bathed my room all night; we called it the Red Room apartment.  I was working for the US Marshal service during this time and used to occasionally go to a place about a block away called the “Lime Green Deli” for lunch.  It was quite popular for the large portions (a half sandwich would easily do) and interesting combinations.  One of my favorites was called the “Merry Berry,” and was made on whole wheat bread with turkey breast, cranberry sauce, sweet pickles and alfalfa sprouts.  You didn’t have to wait for November to enjoy the feast over and over – you just went to the deli! 

Another was a roast beef sandwich on dill rye bread, which was addicting.  The smell of toasting dill rye fragranced the room, and crunching through the warmed bread to a thinly sliced rare roast beef was as close to heaven as you could get on a 1/2 hour lunch break.

As you probably know, eating out is one of the fastest ways to break a budget, so in an effort to keep some of my hard earned paycheck (and be able to pay the rent on time to keep the landlady happy), I bought a roast and some dill rye bread and made my own.  I remember the roast being good (and lasting a long time with just 2 of us eating), but having the dill rye around to even eat as toast got me hooked.  It’s great toasted with butter, lovely for just about any sandwich (except peanut butter) and the crumbs give a lovely light texture to casseroles, when sprinkled over the top. 

On my whole wheat posting, Patti asked whether the egg made the difference in not using a gluten additive.  I didn’t know, and how better to test it out than with some dill rye bread, which I had a hankering for.

I adapted a King Arthur Flour recipe and came out with mixed results.  The flavor was wonderful, the crust was perfect and when I served it with the ham for dinner last night, the guests (and Guests [rim shot]) raved.  The downside was the egg gave it too much moisture.  The loaf came out looking like a flat slug, and the slices could have passed visually for biscotti.  The next loaf will get a smidge more flour to compensate and be baked in a pan, rather than on a flat stone.  I didn’t have any beef to slice up and make into a sandwich for pictures, however I’m happy to report it goes well with last night’s ham and I would picture it, but I ate it instead :D.

I am sorry to report that the Deli is no longer in operation.

Lime Green Dreams Dill Rye Bread


Doubles as biscotti, not good with tea!
Doubles as biscotti, not good with tea!

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
2 cups Rye Flour or a Rye Blend (I used dark rye)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dill seeds or dill weed (I used the seeds from plants I had grown)
1 1/4 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 egg

(optional) German-Style Seed Topping Blend, available from King Arthur Flour

In a large bowl (or in a bread machine) combine the yeast, water, sugar, oil or butter, and rye flour, mixing till smooth. Cover and let rest for 45 minutes.

Add the salt, egg, dill seeds or weed, and 1 1/4 cup flour. Knead the dough till smooth (adding additional flour if necessary), place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 1 hour. (Or prepare the dough in your bread machine set on the Dough or Manual cycle).

Shape the loaf into a slightly flattened round, set it on a sheet pan, and let it rise, covered, for 1 hour, or until it’s almost doubled in bulk. Spray the loaf with water, and coat it heavily with the seed blend.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and tests done; the center of the loaf should read 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. Cool the loaf on a wire rack or, for an extra-crispy crust, allow it to cool in the turned-off oven with the door cracked open.Lime Green Dill Rye Bread


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