Homemade Rye Bread
Warning: this recipe will require a ‘4 days thinking ahead ‘ exercise with an effort of 1 minute per day.
I don’t know why but the assumed complexity of preparing homemade bread freaks out lots of people right away. Me too by the way. I bought several books and studied the art of bread baking. It took me several semi-tasty bread baking trials to finally give up and do what everyone does in a while – call my mum.
Well, so my mum is really not the master cook herself but when it comes to bread she really is the master. She tried and experimented a lot, even visiting a (real) baker and learning from him. So this recipe is hers.
Honestly, after all this action – baking a good tasting, healthy bread isn’t magic. Nobody needs to take baking lessons at a baker store. It really comes down to some very simple ingredients and one key item: sourdough
So I’d like to share with you first how to create a sourdough basis from scratch, turning it into a nice bread after 4 days. No magic required, promise.
- 200 g Rye flour (dark, light,… doesn’t matter)
- Pinch of dry yeast
- Plastic container with lid
[DAY 1] So you are going to pour some rye flour (100g or so) with just enough water and the yeast into a small plastic container and mix it up – it should have a nice fluid balance. Put a lid on the plastic container. Don’t close the lid but only losely put it on top so air can get to the mixture. Put in the refrigerator for 24h.
[Day 2] Repeat what you did on Day 1 but don’t add any further yeast
[Day 3] Repeat Day 2 ! You should already see a lot of bubbles in the mixture, this means the sourdough is developing well.If you find there is not enough bubbles, or your mixture stays the same try adding some more yeast but keep it easy.
[Day 4] Alright, no now we are on day 4 and ready to do the bread, you will need:
- 500 g of Plain White Flour (equiv. of 2 Starbucks Mugs of Flour)
- 500 g of Rye Flour
- 1 Tablespoon of Salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Fennel Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of Honey
- Splash of Olive Oil
- 1 Package of Dry Yeast (remainder of the pack that you used for the base)
- 250 ml of warm Water (equiv. to 1 Starbucks Mug of Water)
- Half of the Sourdough base you created
If you are in the lucky position to own an all purpose mixer such as a nice Kitchen Aid, put all ingredients into the bowl and let your machine do the job for you. I suggest to let the dough knead for around 5-10 mins.
The consistency of the dough should be not too moist – add flour if needed.
For the not so lucky ones (like me) – put the all ingredients into a bowl or on your kitchen plate and massage the dough for around 5-10 mins by hand ( longer you not gonna make it anyway due to extreme boredom).
Put the dough in a bowl or basket and let it rest for around 1 hour in a nice a warm spot (not too warm and not too cold).
The dough will gain in size if you let it rest. If not – relax and just proceed. Result will still be good no worries.
Pre-heat the oven to around 240 Cº. Put the bread in the oven on the medium rail and turn the temperature down to 180 C°.
Place a bowl of water into the oven so your bread gets enough fluid and will not get dry.
Baking Time: 60 mins. Other option: knock on the bottom of the bread – if it sounds hollow it means it is done.
The remaining sourdough mixture you can put in the freezer. Once you are ready to do the next bread just take it out of the freezer and repeat day 2 and 3. Add a pinch of yeast once in a while. So you will always have a basis of sourdough on hand.
I have done crazy things to the sourdough base – I forgot adding stuff, I only had one day to “breed” the sourdough, I forgot it in the fridge. The sourdough is as easy as you should be with trying to bake bread.
Feel free to add stuff to your mixture such as nuts, linseed, carrots