rye sourdough bread
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Rye and wheat bread, made on rye sourdough starter; lighter than German-style all-rye loaf but still tasty, still healthy. It is best on the next day and should be sliced when cooled completely.
I used to hate rye bread when I was a kid. I used to hate caraway even more. Whatever I was served with those hateful bits that looked like little dark maggots, I’d do my best to fish them all out and festoon my plate with the brown commas all around the rim.
But as one’s taste changes every seven years, so has mine and now I think caraway works a treat in rye sourdough bread. The rye sourdough starter recipe comes from the excellent Andrew Whitley’s book Bread Matters, but if you’re an experienced sourdough maker, feel free to use your live sourdough, however it has been made.
This of course isn't 100% rye - for that, look towards Borodinsky and prepare to be unbelievably patient as it is a slooooow riser. This one is reasonable for sourdough and I make the final proof fairly short, then pop it into VERY HOT Dutch oven. It also works baked in a large loaf tin.
Let it cool completely before slicing; it's best after a day or two. And don’t pick the caraway.
rye sourdough breadServings: 1 large loafTime: starter made over several days; bread - overnight
- For the sour starter:
- 150g dark rye flour
- 250g warm water
- For the levain:
- 50g sourdough starter
- 150g dark rye flour
- 300g warm water
- For the main dough:
- 350g levain
- 150g light rye flour
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 200g strong white flour
- 10g caraway seeds
- 5g salt
- 200g water
1. To make the sourdough rye starter: in a large jar or a plastic tub with a lid mix 25g dark rye flour with 50g very warm water (at 40C, basically very warm to the touch). Keep in the warmest place in the house you can find (airing cupboard does well).
2. For four days every 24 hours add another 25g of rye flour and 50 g of warm water. You should get a bubbly starter – bubbles are the sign of life here, it doesn’t significantly expand.
3. Levain: about 18 – 24 hours before making the bread mix 50g of the starter with 150g of dark rye flour and 300g warm water. This should bubble like a dream!
4. For the main dough: mix everything together and knead for a while (it will be awfully sticky; standing mixer with a dough hook is the solution), then leave for an hour or two to prove – it won’t rise an awful lot.
5. Turn it out onto a floured surface and fold several times on itself from various angles, so it becomes a bit tighter.
6. Dip thoroughly in wholemeal flour and place in a well floured proofing basket or bowl lined with a floured cloth. Put in a plastic bag inflated a bit so it doesn’t touch the dough (just blow into it and tie the end!) and leave for about 40 minutes.
7. Halfway through that time start preheating a cast iron casserole dish or Dutch oven in the middle of the oven at 220C/425F/gas 7.
8. The dough will not rise much but that’s good – I’ve found that with sourdough short proofing time works better if you bake it in Dutch oven. When ready, just plonk the dough from the proofing basket swiftly as you can, put the lid on and into the oven.
9. Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes, and for another 20 minutes with the lid off. Rye bread is best when cooled completely and sliced quite thinly.