February 2008, trying again, with some minor adjustments:
1. Reducing initial water a little bit, by 1/4 cup.
2. Add rye flour all at once to fermentation mixture
Makes 2 loaves
2 c. buttermilk
1.25 c. water
1.5 lb. rye flour, unsifted
2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 tbsp. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. warm water (120 degrees)
1.5 lb. (24 0z) + 1 oz (25 oz total) unbleached white flour, unsifted
4 tbsp. gluten
1/2 c. honey
1-1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. melted butter
1. Over medium-low heat, warm buttermilk and water, stirring occasionally, just until it curdles and remove from heat. Stir in 1.5 lb. rye flour, cover tightly and leave in warm place. Or, refrigerate and bring back to room temperature before continuing
2. The next day, combine yeast, 1 tbsp. flour, and warm water, and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast mixture gets bubbly.
3. Into dough mixture, add yeast mixture, honey, gluten and salt. Stir in 1.5 lb. of white flour until mixture is uniform. It's a lot of dough, too much for the small stand mixer to handle!
4. Take entire dough and add dough to mixer set to "1" or "2" (low speed), and knead with dough hook. You will need to clean the dough hook a number of times at the beginning (every 30 seconds or so), because the dough will bunch up, even over the top of the dough hook. Add 1 oz of flour during process to reduce sticking. After a couple of minutes, it will stop sticking. Total kneading time should be about 5-7 minutes.
6. Grease two bread pans with butter, and dust them with rye flour. Shape dough into loaves and place in bread pans. Cover with towel, and leave in warm place to rise for 2-2.75 hours or until approximately doubled in bulk.
7. Preheat oven to 375, and adjust racks to put bread on lowest rack. Brush tops with butter, and place bread pans on pizza stone on lowest rack in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped.
8. Take bread from oven, remove from pans, and brush tops with remaining butter. Drape with damp cloth while they cool. This supposedly will help keep the crust from separating from the dough.
9. Store in large Ziploc freezer bags when cool; this will help promote a soft crust.
UPDATE 12-24-2007: technically it looks perfect. Sides of bread "exploded" near the top, which has previously been typical. We'll see what the texture is when we taste it tonight, hopefully not gummy and/or undercooked.