100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

What’s that? You think it’s been a long time since I posted a bread recipe, and you’ve been dreaming of finding that perfect homemade 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe? Yup, I could sense your needs and cravings, and I’m here to help!

Actually, I’ve been flipping between making our marbled rye loaf and this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for the last few months. Each holds a special place in my tummy, but this whole wheat sandwich bread is always a personal favourite. It was one of the first types of bread I started making years ago, and once I figured out a few key steps, it never fails to disappoint. It’s slightly sweet and not at all dry or stodgy, like some whole wheat breads can be. It freezes well and toasts up like a dream. What more could you ask for?

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If you feel like you’re unsure about diving into a 100% whole wheat loaf, start with a 50-50 mix of whole wheat and white, unbleached bread flour, then keep pushing up the whole wheat content until you find a loaf you love.

This recipe makes 1 loaf and uses 400 g of flour. So, start with 200 g of whole wheat and 200 g of white. I’ve found a nice middle-of-the-road whole wheat bread will use 300 g of whole wheat and 100 g of unbleached bread flour.

A few tips for making a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread:

  1. Whole wheat flour can soak up a tonne of liquid. When you initially start kneading this dough, you will think it is too wet and sticky, and will really want to add more flour. DON’T! I’ve done it before, and the result is not pretty. Give the dough time to rest and absorb all the liquid.
  2. In order to make whole wheat bread nice and soft, you need to knead the bread for a long time OR you can use a bit of a cheats method. Have you ever heard of the stretch-and-fold method of kneading? If not, keep reading!
  3. Give the dough time to rise. Sometimes I find I have to wait longer to see the dough dome over the top of the pan. This is okay! Patience yields fantastic bread.

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The Stretch-and-Fold Method:

No, we’re not talking about your daily yoga routine (although, it would be a good name)! This is a way of coaxing the bread to develop more gluten and structure, without needing a lot of kneading time (haha). It’s also a great way to deal with dough that’s on the wet, sticky side.

Basically, you start with a round ball of (probably sticky) dough on the counter. Use wet or oiled hands to gently stretch one side of the dough out, then fold it back over the dough. Do the same with all four sides (think north, south, east, west). After you’ve stretched and folded each side of the dough, turn it over and tuck it into a nice little ball. Cover it with a bowl and leave it sit for 10 minutes.

You’re going to do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, waiting 10 minutes in between. So this process will take you 30 minutes. Each time you finish a stretch-and-fold, the dough should feel much more elastic and less sticky. By the end, you’ll have a nice, soft ball of dough!

If you’d like to see this in action, check out this little video from the bread-master, himself.

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Timing options for baking your whole wheat bread:

  1. Bake it the same day: Shape it into a log shape, and place it into a parchment-lined loaf pan. Leave it in a warm place to rise until the dough domes over the top of the pan by about 2 cm (1 inch). Then, bake away.
  2. Leave it overnight, and bake the next day: Shape the dough and place it into the parchment-lined loaf pan, but then cover it with plastic and put it in the fridge overnight. Then, bake in the morning.
  3. Leave it for a few days before baking: You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days, unshaped in a tighly-sealed bowl. Whenever you want to bake the bread, give yourself a few hours, for the dough to warm up, be shaped and rise. Then, bake away.

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If you’re looking to boost the nutrients of your morning toast or your daily sandwich, give this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) water
  • 140 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk
  • 7 g (1 pkg) instant yeast
  • 400 g whole wheat flour
  • 35 g brown sugar
  • 45 g vegetable oil
  • 5 g salt
Instructions
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk and water for about 35 seconds, to make it lukewarm. Stir in the yeast and leave it sit for 5 minutes to bubble up while you're measuring the other ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, vegetable oil and salt. Pour in the yeast liquid and use the dough hook attachment to mix the bread until the dough just starts to combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and leave the bread sit for 5 minutes, to start to absorb all the liquid.
  3. Knead the dough with the dough hook, on low speed, for 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 4 minutes. If the dough is extremely sticky, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, but otherwise, the dough will be slightly sticky.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured or oiled counter top. Complete 1 round of stretch-and-fold, tuck the dough into a ball and cover it with a bowl for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretch-and-fold (with 10 minute wait) another 3 times. So you will do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, over the course of 30 minutes.
Bread baking times
  1. If you want to bake the bread immediately, roll the dough into a log shape and place into a parchment-lined 8-inch loaf pan. Leave to rise in a draft-free location until the dough just domes over the edge of the pan (30 to 60 minutes).
  2. If you want to bake the bread the next morning, roll the dough into a log shape and place into the parchment-lined pan. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, allow the bread to warm up while you pre-heat the oven.
  3. If you want to wait a few days before baking the bread, leave the dough unshaped in a tightly-sealed bowl, for up to 4 days. On the day of baking, remove the dough from the fridge at least 2 hours before baking. Allow the dough to come up to room temperature before shaping and placing into the pan.
  4. In all cases, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When finished, the loaf should be nicely browned on top and sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom.

Enjoy this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread!

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Whole Wheat Za’atar Flatbread

As a gift from food-loving friends, we were given a 6-month subscription to the Raw Spice Bar. Every month we get three new spice blends in the mail, along with a variety of recipes to try them out with. Each month often focuses on a different ethnic region, and last month was filled with flavours of Navajo cuisine. We tried a few of the recipes (the posole was fantastic!) and the sumac za’atar spice blend had me super-excited. I baked a batch of whole-wheat za’atar flatbread and loved the flavour!

Sumac is a spice predominant in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It has a wonderful, lemony flavour and brightens whatever dish it’s added to. Note to self: I really need to find my own source!

Za’atar is a mixture of spices, which starts with sumac and adds in sesame seeds and thyme. So, I just need to double my efforts in finding sumac, and the rest will fall into place ๐Ÿ™‚

Flatbread is one of the easiest types of yeasted breads to make. You still have to play the waiting game, to give the dough time for an initial rise, but the baking time is quick compared to a standard loaf of bread (like sub 10 minutes). And because it’s a flat bread, you don’t have to worry about the bread not rising enough ๐Ÿ™‚ Your house will smell amazing and your tummy will be filled with better-than-bought carbs.

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We ripped our za’atar flatbread into pieces and used it for dipping into a trio of spreads: homemade hummus, our weekly staple roasted beet dip, and a concoction of our red curry paste + yogurt + peanut butter. The flatbread also makes awesome, carby tacos and wraps.

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If you’ve never made bread before, but would like to ease into the world of yeasted baking, earmark this recipe for the weekend. Even without the za’atar spice-blend, a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of your favourite spices (even just sea salt!) will ensure this flatbread tastes superb.

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Whole Wheat Za'atar Flatbread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Flatbread is one of the easiest yeasted breads to make. In no time, your house will be filled with the wonderful aroma of freshly-baked bread.
Ingredients
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) warm water
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 4 g (1/2 pkg) instant yeast
  • 135 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) bread flour
  • 45 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) whole wheat flour
  • 3 g (1 tsp) sea salt
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp za'atar spice blend (or make your own using a recipe like this)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, sugar and yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to foam and bubble. If this doesn't happen, the yeast may not be active anymore, and you will have to start with fresh yeast.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour, whole-wheat flour and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and knead briefly with the dough hook, until the dough just starts to come together. Let the dough rest 5 minutes, in order to allow the flour to hydrate fully.
  3. Using a dough hook (or by hand), knead for 6 to 7 minutes, until the dough turns into a soft, supple ball. Press a finger into the dough - the dough should stick to your finger for a moment, but then release. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour, 1 tbsp a a time, until it reaches this consistency. If the dough is too dry, add water (1 tbsp at a time), until you have the right consistency.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cotton dish towel. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 60 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line an overturned baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Lightly dust a counter top with flour and use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a thin (3 to 5 mm) oblong shape. Place the rolled dough onto the parchment-lined tray. Spread ½ tsp of olive oil onto the top of each piece, and sprinkle with 2 tsp of za'atar spice blend. Allow the dough to rise while the oven is heating up.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms of the flatbread turn a golden brown.
  8. Serve with your favourite dips or spreads.
Notes
The flatbread are best served warm. They will keep in the freezer, wrapped in a freezer-proof bag, for up to a month.

Enjoy the whole wheat za’atar flatbread!

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Multi-Seeded Bread

I try to bake bread once a week, often on a Monday when I’m not in the office. There’s something really great about easing into the start of the week with a home smelling of freshly baked bread, I urge you to try it sometime, perhaps as a New Years goal? It doesn’t even have to be on a Monday! ๐Ÿ™‚

I was all ready to go with the bread baking last week: the mixer was out, the oven was pre-heating and I started to weigh out the ingredients for my go-to marbled rye bread, when alas, I realized we didn’t have anymore yogurt!

We needed bread, and I didn’t want to run down to the store for more yoghurt. So I begrudgingly picked up my bread book, in a pouty attempt to find another loaf inspiration (yes, a somewhat first-world problem I admit).

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The bread gods must have sensed my pain, though, because the book magically opened to a recipe for a multi-seeded bread. And, aside from a few seed swaps, I had everything I needed! Phew!

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but all of the breads I make can either be made in one sitting, or can be split over a few days. While I often choose to make a loaf in the morning, you can easily mix up the dough the night before and leave it in the fridge (up to 4 days) until you’re ready to bake. It’s a great way to make bread, if you’ve got commitment issues ๐Ÿ˜‰

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This particular loaf has all the health benefits of whole-grain rye flour, as well as enough seeds to make it taste interesting. I used a combination of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and poppy seeds. I think next time I make this I’ll try adding a few walnuts into the mix too.

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And then as soon as the multi-seed bread was cool enough to slice, I slathered it with homemade peanut butter and raspberry jam, and all was right in my world again!

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Multi-Seeded Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This gives a nice, soft sandwich loaf. It tastes great toasted or as it is! Recipe adapted slightly from Artisan Breads Everyday.
Ingredients
  • 325 g (~2.5 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 45 g (~1/3 cup) rye flour
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) sunflower seeds
  • 15 g (~1.5 tbsp) flax seeds
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 7 g (1¾ tsp) instant quick-rise yeast
  • 30 g (1.5 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) lukewarm water
  • 85 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) lukewarm milk (any kind, or more water)
Instructions
  1. Toast the seeds in a dry skillet or under the broiler, until they become fragrant. About 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the ingredients and mix with the dough hook attachment, until just combined (about 2 minutes). Stop mixing and let the dough sit for 5 minutes, to allow the flour to fully hydrate.
  3. On medium-low speed, knead the bread with the dough hook attachment for 3 or 4 minutes, until the dough starts to come together into a smooth ball. Add more flour, 1 tbsp at at time, only if the dough is very sticky. You want the dough to be soft and supple and slightly tacky (so the dough just sticks to your finger when you press into it).
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently knead by hand for a few minutes. Add flour, only when necessary. You should have a nice soft, smooth ball of dough at the end.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly-greased, clean bowl. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until the ball has doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Prepare a 8x4-inch loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the bowl and pat it into a rectangle shape. At the short end, tightly roll up the dough into a log shape, pinching the seams together. Gently place the dough, seam-side down, into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Let the dough rise at room temperature, until it just starts to dome over the edge of the pan (about 30 to 45 minutes).
  7. About 15 minutes before you plan on baking the bread, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake time. When cooked, the top should be a deep golden brown, and the bottom of the loaf should sound slightly hollow when tapped.
  8. Leave the bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
This bread freezes very well. Once it has cooled completely, slice up the entire loaf before placing in a tightly-sealed freezer bag.

Enjoy the Multi-Seeded Bread!

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Easy, No-Knead Ciabatta Buns

I believe everyone should have one bread recipe in their back pocket that is fool-proof. And by fool-proof, I mean it would require deliberate sabotage to go wrong! Some types of bread rely on practice and experience, so you know what the dough should feel like, and how to make it work in your climate (I still have my share of misfit loaves). This Ciabatta recipe is not that type of bread and I’m quite confident that anyone can make this bread. You need a bowl and a spoon and you’re good to go. Seriously.

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I’ve made Ciabatta buns the fancy-pants way. As in, there’s some folding and resting and shaping and creating a steam-oven and, in general, a bit of time and effort.

And then I’ve made these Ciabatta buns the easy way i.e. with a bowl and a spoon and that’s about it.

And you know what? Neither Jonty nor I can tell the difference! The fancy-pants buns taste the same as the unbelievably-low-maintenance buns!

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Back in June, we stopped at Belgarde Kitchen after a day of climbing, to celebrate Jonty’s birthday. We went in for a late lunch, and I had the most fantastic breakfast sandwich, with this portobello patty on a soft ciabatta bun. That day, I vowed to recreate that burger. Actually, it’s not the first time I’ve tried to recreate one of the Belgarde items! (And it’s one recipe we keep in constant rotation!)

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It was around two months after that birthday visit, before I even thought about giving this recipe a whirl. Since then, I’ve made the buns 3 or 4 times. It’s a smaller-batch recipe, which is always nice for a household of two, but even better is that these buns freeze really well.

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Have you ever heard of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread? You basically stir together some water, flour, yeast and salt and leave it sit on the counter overnight. The original concept recipe forms a really wet dough, which is why you can just stir it together. In this recipe, I’ve sort of combined a few different recipes and ideas (from Lahey’s and my Peter Reinhart cookbook and this Alexandra Cooks post) and come up with a Ciabatta bun recipe that really seems to work and taste good, with very little effort!

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A few things to keep in mind:

  • This dough needs to sit on the counter overnight, for 12 to 18 hours, so give it a good stir before you go to bed.
  • The dough will still be quite sticky the next morning. Do not fear, just make sure you use extra flour judiciously. Aim for at least 1/4 cup sprinkled on the counter and on the dough, while you’re cutting and shaping the buns.
  • To shape the dough, I find it easiest to cut it into 8 or 10 equal pieces and gently roll each piece completely in flour. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape, then fold the dough over on itself and place it, seam-side down, on a baking sheet. Because the dough is still quite soft and wobbly, you can’t shape it like my slider buns. Just fold and nudge, and they will be fine.
  • Use a parchment-lined baking tray, and don’t worry about creating a steam-bath in the oven. Maybe because of the extra liquid in the dough, the outsides will crisp up nicely, while still keeping a soft, chewy centre.

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That’s it! These buns bake at 425 F oven for about 20 minutes, and then you have wonderfully soft, yet chewy, Ciabatta buns to eat on their own, or made into your favourite sandwich.

Give them a try! Hopefully you will enjoy them as much as we do ๐Ÿ™‚

Easy, No-Knead Ciabatta Buns
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This easy, no-knead bread uses a modification of Artisan Breads Everyday and Alexandra Cooksrecipes.
Ingredients
  • 515 g (4 cups) bread flour (all-purpose flour will work, too)
  • 10 g (1¼ tsp) sea salt
  • ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 2 cups cold tap-water
  • ¼ cup flour (for shaping the dough into buns)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, stir everything together until you have a shaggy dough, about 2 minutes.
  2. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel and leave on the counter top, at room temperature, for 12 to 18 hours.
  3. When ready to bake the next day, pre-heat the oven to 425 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Spread ¼ cup of flour on the counter top and tip out the dough onto the flour. Coat the dough thoroughly with the flour. The dough will still be quite wet, so use as much flour as necessary to avoid any sticking.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 to 10 pieces and roll each piece in flour.
  6. Gently shape each piece into a square or rectangular shape by folding the dough over onto itself. Place each piece on the parchment-lined tray. Leave a bit of space around each bun.
  7. Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Notes
These buns freeze very well. Just place into a freezer ziplock bag.

Enjoy!

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Soft Rye Sandwich Bread

Perhaps the one good thing about having a cooler summer thus far, is that we don’t mind turning on the oven. This is particularly good when it comes to baking bread. I’ve been tinkering with a new sandwich bread recipe over the last few months and, so far, we’re loving the results! This soft rye sandwich bread is quickly becoming our new favourite bread.

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I love making bread. I love the smell of yeasted dough, of watching the dough transform from a shaggy mess into a smooth ball, and shaping that dough for buns or bread or cinnamon bunsย (mmm, cinnamon buns).

When I was little, I remember my mom showing me how to form bun shapes, by pushing a small chunk of dough through the hole formed by my thumb and forefinger. I remember the taste of grandma’s freshly baked cinnamon-raisin bread, smeared with a general helping of salted butter. My father-in-law’s whole wheat bread was, when paired with his homemade raspberry jam, a thing of beauty.

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Often what I like best about making homemade bread is the reaction of those around me when they smell it, fresh from the oven, or take their first bite of it. Perhaps it’s for selfish reasons, but I do love it when others get the same enjoyment I do! Maybe it’s because people don’t make bread at home as often it always seems a treat? Homemade bread has become a (very tasty) novelty, which is a shame since it beats anything store-bought, hands down.

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The Sourdough Cheats Route:

Rye bread is a bit of a tricky little fellow. Because rye flour is quite soft (the gluten content is relatively low), it helps to pair it with unbleached bread flour, to boost the structure of the bread (we use Anita’s Organic Mill flours for all of our baking, and really like that they’re a BC company). Many rye bread recipes call for a mother-starter, which means mixing up a bit of rye flour and water and yeast, and let that hang out in the fridge for a day or two, to give it that distinctive rye / sourdough taste.

To mimic that classic taste, without the time effort, I’ve done something super fancy (cough, not really), and added yogurt to the dough, or a drop of plain white vinegar if I’m out of yogurt. And you know what? I think it tastes just as good as the mother-starter method! And this version is much quicker, which is sometimes what a person needs when baking bread ๐Ÿ™‚

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A few things to keep in mind when making this soft rye sandwich bread:

  • The stand-mixer is your friend. This dough can be fairly loose, so kneading by hand is most-likely not an option. If you don’t have a stand-mixer, just use a spoon to mix everything together well.
  • When you start to handle the dough, make sure your hands are well-oiled or wet them with water. This makes sure you don’t end up with scary dough-hands.
  • The quantities I’ve posted, seem toย work in my neck of the woods (altitude, humidity levels), but keep in mind that you might need to add a bit more flour or less liquid. It’s all part of the fun bread-making process!
  • Make sure to let the rye bread cool completely before slicing it. Trust me. Even if your husband begs and pleads, to slice the bread up sooner, don’t listen to him! The rye needs time to fully cool in order for the crumb to set properly. If you give into temptation, you risk a gummy loaf. Just be warned ๐Ÿ™‚

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To make our lives easier, we will cut up the entire loaf of soft rye sandwich bread into thin slices, then freeze the lot. This way, you can easily pull out one or two slices, without having to saw though a frozen bread brick.

So give this bread a try! It’s awesome toasted, with a bit of honey and butter, or as a classic sandwich filled with your favourite things, or just on its own ๐Ÿ™‚

Soft Rye Sandwich Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
I based this recipe off a typical rye bread ratio 100% flour : 27% mother starter : 86.5% water
Ingredients
  • 150 g rye flour
  • 300 g unbleached bread flour
  • 5 g (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 5 g sea salt
  • 275 g water, very warm
  • 45 g molasses
  • 30 g non-fat greek yogurt (or 30 g milk + ½ tbsp white vinegar)
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer bowl, sift together the rye flour, bread flour, instant yeast and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together very warm water and the molasses until combined. Add the yogurt and whisk until smooth. If you don't have yogurt, use milk plus ½ tbsp of white distilled vinegar instead.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and, with the dough hook attachment, mix until the dough is just incorporated. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, to allow the flour to fully hydrate. Then start to mix the dough at medium-low speed for 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be quite smooth, but still sticky to the touch. Increase the speed of the mixer and knead for another 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high speed. If the dough is still extremely sticky, add a bit more flour.
  4. Liberally dust your work surface with flour and, using wet or well-oiled hands, turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Fold the dough over itself (top over bottom, side over side), then cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice more, allowing the dough to rest 10 minutes in between. After each stretch and fold session, the dough should start to feel more firm. Make sure to keep your hands wet during this, and sprinkle flour over the dough, if necessary.
  5. Line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, and lightly mist with oil. Shape the rye dough into a log shape and place into the prepared pan. Cover and leave to rise until the dough just starts to dome over the top of the pan.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the bread half-way through the baking time. Once fully baked, the top should be a deep golden brown, and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when thumped.
  7. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before serving. This is very important, in order to give the rye bread time to fully set.
Notes
This bread freezes very well. Simply slice the loaf completely before placing it all into a well-sealed bag and into the freezer.

Enjoy!

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