I love baking bread. I love the smell of the yeasty mixture, the way a perfectly-kneaded ball of dough feels beneath my hands, and most importantly, the way it tastes! I’ve baked whole wheat bread for many years, and I’ve found a keeper slider-bun recipe, but would like to branch out into trying different flour varieties.
When we were in Bishop, we made our version of a Reuben sandwich, using a loaf of rye from the local bakery. “When we get home, I’m totally going to try making rye bread”, I said! Well, we’ve been home for over 3 months now, and I’ve finally given it a whirl.
This version of rye bread uses an equal mixture of rye and white flours, with a touch of molasses added for a subtle flavour. You start by making a Mother Starter (or mother dough) out of the rye flour, water and yeast. This hangs around at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, and will start to pre-ferment. This bit of fermentation is a good thing, as it improves the flavour of the final bread and helps to maintain the shelf-life (if you actually have enough self-control to make it last over a few days!). I ended up mixing the mother-starter early in the morning, then baked the bread late in the afternoon. Next time, I’ll try leaving the starter for even longer, just to see if it makes any difference in flavour and consistency.
As with most bread recipes, this dough requires two rises: the first after you’ve added the all-purpose flour, molasses and yeast to the mother starter, and the second after you’ve shaped the dough into a loaf. In total, you’ll be looking at a few hours – nothing that can’t be accomplished on a weekend evening, in between Netflix shows 🙂
Before the bread goes into the 350°F oven, slash the top a few times with a sharp knife, to give it that rustic look 🙂
This bread was all I hoped for – it had a subtle sweetness (from the molasses) and gentle hints of sourdough (from the rye). Over the course of a few days, we ate it fresh-from-the-toaster with honey and butter, grilled for our Druid Reuben, and toasted and topped with a fried egg. In all scenarios, it did not disappoint, and I will be making it again for sure, probably even this weekend!
- Serves: 1 loaf (16 slices)
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 111
- Fat: 1.2 g
- Saturated fat: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 22 g
- Sugar: 1.1 g
- Sodium: 147.4 mg
- Fiber: 2.3 g
- Protein: 3.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- 250 g (2 cups) rye flour
- 1¼ cups water
- 2¼ tsp instant yeast, divided
- 190 to 250 g (~1¼ to 2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Make the mother starter: Place the rye flour, water and ¼ tsp instant yeast in a stand-mixer bowl and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
- When you're ready to make the bread, add the rest of the yeast, the all-purpose flour, salt, molasses and olive oil. Mix with the bread hook on medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour (a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition) until you have the desired consistency. The dough should be tacky, not sticky (when you press your finger into it, it should stick slightly, but then release).
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured counter-top for another minute. Form the dough into a ball and return it to a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover and leave on the counter until doubled in size (about an hour).
- After the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured counter-top and knead briefly. Form the dough into a long oval shape, pinching the edges to form a seam. Place a sheet of parchment paper on an upside-down baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with flour, and place the dough on the parchment paper, seam-side down. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour (preferably wheat flour, if you have it). Cover the dough with plastic and set aside until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Just before baking, slash the dough several times, diagonally, then bake in the centre of your oven until nicely browned, about 35 minutes. When cooked, the bread should sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack (or as long as you can manage!) before slicing. The sliced bread stores well in the fridge, sealed in a plastic bag, for 3 or 4 days.