Rye sourdough bread
Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson
Lauraine Jacobs's partner Murray gets in on the act with a wholesome grainy rye loaf. As Dean says, this loaf is simple to make (once you have mastered the four steps) and with its many grains and seeds is complex and delicious. It’s popular in Denmark where it is often toasted and served with a mild gouda cheese and jam. To begin, you must make the sourdough starter, which can last for years if fed and stored properly. Keep the sourdough in the fridge in a covered container and feed it every 10 days or so, then bring it out a day before baking and feed it twice to make it healthy and strong again.
Rye sourdough starter and to feed the dough
|50 g||Flour, strong bread flour|
|50 g||Rye flour, coarsely ground or stoneground if possible|
|30 g||Natural yoghurt, unsweetend|
|70 g||Water, 50 ml warm for the starter and then 20g cold to feed it later|
|⅛ tsp||Active dried yeast|
|215 g||Whole rye grains, or whole wheat grains or a mixture of both|
|75 g||Sunflower seeds|
|75 g||Linseed / flaxseed|
- Rye sourdough starter: Put 25g flour and 25g rye flour, the yoghurt, 20g warm water and .125 tsp of yeast in a small bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix evenly. Cover. Leave it to ferment at moderate room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours.
- To feed the dough: Using a wooden spoon, evenly mix the remaining 25g plain and 25g rye flours and 50g cold water into the fermented starter. Cover. Ferment for a minimum of 12 hours, by which time it will be ready to use. You will now have 200g of rye sourdough; use 100g for the recipe and keep 100g in the covered container. Feed the starter with the above amounts again when you want to make more bread. Once the starter is on its way, you will be ready to make the bread. The first step is to soak the grains, which must be prepared 16-24 hours ahead. At this point, feed the sourdough starter ready for use. Then mix the soaked grains thoroughly with the dough ingredients using an electric mixer.
- Soaked grain: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix to coat with the water. Cover and stand at room temperature for a minimum of 16 hours or up to 24 hours.
- The dough: Place all the ingredients(can lightly toast sunflower seeds, if desired) except the sesame seeds in a mixer fitted with a dough hook and run at a slow speed for 10 minutes. Scrape down the dough hook and the sides of the bowl to ensure you get an even mixture. Alternatively, do this by hand using a large metal spoon. This will take some effort, as the dough is almost like a stiff cake batter.
- Once the batter is mixed, spoon it into a loaf tin greased with butter, then dip your knuckles in water and use them to squash the batter into the corners of the tin. Smooth out with a spatula or scraper until level. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Alternatively, scrape the dough out onto a wet bench surface and roll into a fat log shape, 2cm shorter than the length of your tin.
- Cover the tin loosely with plastic wrap and allow the mixture to rise for up to 2½ hours. Any longer and the dough will collapse as a result of over-rising. In the last 30-45 minutes of the rising, preheat the oven to 250C. Remove the plastic wrap and place the loaf in the preheated oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 180C, then quickly throw 3-4 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake for an hour or until the internal temperature is 95C when using a temperature probe.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out. Wrap the loaf in a clean tea towel and leave on a wire rack to cool for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. If the loaf is not cooled correctly before cutting, the internal texture will not have set correctly and the knife will “gum up” with what seems like unbaked dough, making it hard to slice. Makes 1 loaf (about 19cm long x 11cm high x 11cm wide).