So grandma's bread is in progress. I'm trying to scale the recipe down (from 4 to 2 loaves) because last year, I simply made too much of it. The base is "fermenting" right now; hopefully this year's proportions will make it right. I think this is the 4th or 5th time that I'm making the bread.
I've purposely passed on the Lithuanian black rye recipe (incidentally, the same one online as in the cookbook), in lieu of my grandma's recipe. I know my grandma's recipe works reasonably well, but needs some tweaking to make it right. Last year's was pretty good, as I recall. This means that hopefully this year's will be good as well. I decided to read up on rye flour, in Nancy Silverton's "La Brea Bakery" bread book. Apparently rye flour is tricky: easy to overmix, tends to be wet, not a lot of gluten. A recipe in Julia Child's "Baking" tome got me thinking about the correct proportions for this bread (wheat flour-rye flour-liquid ratio). I need to read up more on "golden ratios" for flour to liquid to yeast. I remember that "The Man Who Ate Everything" had some of this info, which was pretty good, at least in terms of making a batch of starter from scratch. Last year's recipe put rye-to-wheat flour at around 6:12 or 6:13 by weight. I'm going to shoot for a more even ratio this year, closer to 6:7. I hope this will yield something closer to what I'm looking for.