David Oxley, Seattle, Washington—Western Washington Fair, Puyallup, Washington
In the microwave oven, heat the milk, salt, shortening, and 3 tablespoons of the molasses for 1 minute. (You also may do this on the stovetop.) Pour into a large bowl and cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast and remaining 1 teaspoon molasses to the warm water. Stir and let proof for 10 minutes. Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture and stir with a wire whisk. Add the rye flour and 2 cups of the white flour; stir with a wooden spoon. Continue adding white flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding white flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and knead for about 30 seconds. Divide in half and let rest for 5 minutes. Form into 2 round loaves and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make 3 slashes in the top of each loaf and brush with the egg-water mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on wire racks.