Tasty rye loaf…

5 Oct

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For lunch today, I had some of my tasty rye sourdough. I do think it’s one of the most flavoursome loaves in my baking repertoire. It’s not for everybody (my children won’t eat it) but it does have some fans.

Here’s the story behind it:

I have tried baking with rye flour over quite a few years but not with much success. Last year, To try to learn more I attended a bread making course entitled ‘Sourdough with Heritage Grains‘ with Alex Gooch at Humble by Nature. Alex was a really inspiring baker and I enjoyed it a lot. Most importantly he showed us how to make a very tasty rye sourdough. It quite dense but very tasty.

The key to using rye flour seems to be to have lots of a very lively rye sourdough starter. Alex arrived with a very large container of lovely fresh starter.

This is my recipe:

Tasty Rye Sourdough (adapted from recipe by Alex Gooch)

(makes 2 loaves which each fit into a 1 lb tin).

  • Light Rye Flour         400g
  • Dark Rye Starter       300g
  • Water                        330g
  • Salt                             10g

This is the basis of the bread and the key is the large amount of rye starter to flour. The use of the light rye flour makes a lighter loaf. You can use dark here too. Depending on where you get your flour from you may not have the choice of light and dark rye. You can make your rye lighter by sieving some. I have done this but it’s a bit of a pain.

To the basic mixture, I add the following (these are all optional and other things could be used):

  • Treacle or golden syrup                 45g
  • Sultanas                                       200g
  • Roasted corriander seeds      1 tablespoon
  • Chopped rye grains                2 tablespoons

The steps:

  1. Make a dark rye starter or leaven – if you have a leaven of any kind – mix some with rye flour. Use about equal amounts rye flour and water. It takes about 24 hours to turn your leaven into a rye leaven.
  2. Generously grease up two 1lb loaf tins. These seem quite small but you are making quite a dense bread and small slices are the key. I often use butter but it’s good to use non-dairy spreads too.
  3. For a nice effect on the loaf, spread some corriander seeds around the bottom and sides of the loaf.
  4. Mix up ALL the ingredients in a good size bowl really well. Use a spoon or your hands as you prefer but make sure all the flour is incorporated. This doesn’t take very long – maybe 10 minutes.
  5. Divide the mixture into the two bread tins – about 650g of mixture in each. It should about half fill the tins.
  6. Cover to keep the environment humid but try to avoid the top of the tins as the mixture may rise up to this. I use plastic bags one for each loaf tin.
  7. Leave to rise for about 3-4 hours depending on the temperature of the room. It should approximately double in size and you will notice little ‘holes’ on the top of the loaf as some of the bubbles in the bread have popped.
  8. Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Bake for between 35 and 45 minutes depending on how dark you like the bread. Allow to cool.

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A few comments:

  • In my opinion and experience, this bread lasts well for a week. It’s also very tasty toasted.
  • It also freezes well for quite a few months.
  • I have shared these loaves with about ten people to very positive responses. This loaf is very different to what you will buy and is very tasty.
  • Initial recipe uses treacle but I didn’t have any and used golden syrup. It gave a lighter loaf that was a little sweeter and very nice.
  • As part of my research after this successful loaf, I re-read Andrew Whitley’s book entitled “Bread Matters”. I understood his recipes much better after attending the course. One of his loaves had 440g of rye starter to 330g of flour. He had a recipe for Borodinsky Bread that is very similar to the one above. I got my copy of “Bread Matters” when I joined the Real Bread Campaign.

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