Thursday, 7 August 2014

Traditional Finnish Sourdough Rye Bread

Rye bread is something heavenly. Fresh from the oven, cut a thick slice of the loaf, spread some  organic butter on the slice and enjoy the rich taste of it.  The experience is beyond words.

Sadly not many bake their daily bread anymore. Especially rye bread is usually bought from the store since people feel it is complicated to bake. But it is not! I made these rye breads with my sourdough. Traditionally the rye bread is baked with 3 ingredients only. Rye flour, water and salt - and it's leavened by using the sourdough.  You don't need anything else. Some store brought breads here are made with sourdough starter but far too many use baker's yeast for leavening the rye bread. But you really don't need to. Rye bread is simple and heavenly at the same time.

Rye bread stores really well - most sourdough breads do. Wrap it in a baking towel so the crust doesn't become so hard. In old times people stored the rye breads like that.

Some people prefer this bread straight from the oven but others like it after it has matured day or two. Then it's less "sticky" when cut with the knife. Either way it's good! Spread some butter on the bread, cut a nice slice of cheese and maybe some cucumbers too. So good! It really is something else than those wheat breads. Rye bread has a character.

300 grams (10.582 oz) sourdough starter (I have starter with rye flour)
600 grams (1.323 lb) lukewarm water
appr. 1000-1100 grams (2.205 - 2.425 lb) rye flour
3 tsp salt

Mix the starter, water and salt. Add 1000 grams  of rye flour. Start mixing, add more flour if needed. Knead the dough on the baking board, add flours if necessary. Rye dough is different from wheat dough. It has no viscosity what so ever. You need to have relatively soft but firm dough in your hands. You have kneaded enough and added enough flour once it doesn't stuck on your hands anymore. Be careful not to add to much flour or you will end up having some really hard bread! Shape them into two breads. Leaven  them under a baking towel for about 6-8 hours. Then bake them in the 250 °C (480°F) for about 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 200 °C (400°F) and bake them 60 to 75 minutes more. 

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