Cold Weather Broccoli,Cheese and Bacon Soup

4 -6 cups broccoli Stems and florets
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound swiss cheese
6-8 slices crisp cooked bacon,crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup sour cream
1 envelope onion soup mix
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

Trim bitter ends from broccoli and process peeled stems into coarse pieces .
Boil broccoli in the chicken stock in a 2 quart saucepan until fork tender.Take off the heat and cool, then add onion soup mix and red onion before blending in a blender. Blend to a texture for your tastes.
Add salt, pepper and thyme.Add bacon, heavy cream and simmer until the soup thickens.

Add a nice Russian Sourdough Dark Rye
And Boch beer .
Russian Sourdough Dark Rye

Russian sourdough dark rye is a hearty bread meant to accompany a main-meal soup and, maybe, some chunks of pickled herring. Or try it in a grilled cheese sandwich with Eastern European flair!

This bread takes some planning. The rye sour needs to be made 4 to 5 days ahead of baking day but, oh, it is so worth it.

Just remember, rye doughs tend to be sticky, so don't keep adding additional flour to eliminate the stickiness. This is the way it should be.

Makes 2 loaves
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes

* Rye Sour:
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (not rapid rise yeast)
1 cup water (warm to the wrist)
1 1/2 cups medium rye flour
1 thick slice raw onion
* .
* Dough:
1/4 cup water (warm to the wrist)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (not rapid rise yeast)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup pumpernickel or coarse rye meal
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup molasses
4 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
Rye Sour
2 cups medium rye flour


1. Rye Sour: Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water and blend in 3/4 cup rye flour. Stir in onion, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature. Let the sour rise and fall back. After this, stir the sour twice a day for three days. Remove onion and add remaining 1/2 cup water and remaining 3/4 cup rye flour. Cover and set aside. When the sour has risen and fallen once more (probably 1 more day), it is ready to use.

2. Activate the Yeast: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

3. Make the Dough: Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the boiling water, pumpernickel, oil, salt, molasses, instant coffee and chocolate. When this has cooled, add the rye sour, yeast mixture, 2 cups medium rye flour and the remaining 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour. Mix until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, then knead 5 minutes.

4. Let the dough rest, covered, for 5 minutes and then knead another 5 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in it, turning once to oil the top. Cover and let rise until doubled.

5. Punch down dough and divide in half. Shape each into a round or oblong loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled.

6. About 15 minutes before you want to bake, place a pan on the lowest rack of the oven for water to be added to create steam, and place another oven rack directly above it for the bread. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

7. When ready to bake, slash the loaves with a lame bread-slashing tool or razor blade up to three times diagonally or once lengthwise and brush them with cold beaten egg whites.

8. Pour 2 or 3 cups of water into the pan to create steam. Place loaves on rack directly above. Bake 35-40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 195-200 degrees. Remove from oven and turn out of pans. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Rye bread has a gummy texture if eaten hot.

Good sour, poor bread,

"I look forward to making a different bread with the sour that I achieved from this process... I did save a little and fed it to perpetuate for further loaves. The sour is very lively with a strong onion aroma over the fermented rye. However, the resulting bread was inedible. The instant coffee overpowered the entire flavor, and the egg whites created too crisp a crust. The internal texture was alright, though I used only 2/3 the flour called for due to the dough breaking (during kneading) from not enough moisture. IF I were to retry this particular recipe, I might use cold drip coffee, which would mellow the coffee flavor and add needed moisture for increasing the flour. I would definitely skip the egg whites, or dilute them with a little milk."