I f December is a month of sweetly spiced, buttery breads, January seems to be the time for rye, with its bright, sharp flavour and darkly wholesome good looks. This hardy grass, which grows well at cool, damp latitudes, was once a more common material for bread-making on these islands than the more temperamental wheat.
Elsewhere in Europe, it never fell from favour. One of the great pleasures of travelling in Scandinavia, Germany and points further east is the array of breads in various dark shades, often generously seeded or speckled with grains, laid out at breakfast.
Signe Johansen uses equal parts rye and white bread flour in the Danish pumpernickel recipe in her book, Scandilicious Baking, while Dane Trine Hahnemann goes for a ratio of rye to wheat in Scandinavian Baking. Nigel Slater , meanwhile, balances his rye with wholemeal spelt, then adds a quarter as much white bread flour on top.
Autumn Maple Rye Bread recipe
The wheat makes a very visible difference. The all-rye variants have a noticeably tighter crumb and denser profile, but — importantly in my reckoning — taste more distinctly of rye.
It also takes an absolute age to rise: Hollywood and Johansen advocate leaving the dough overnight, while Hahnemann and Leiths both recommend the use of a starter, made with buttermilk and yoghurt respectively, which Hahnemann leaves to sit for three days before adding to the remaining ingredients for yet another overnight rise. Indeed, I have a few disasters along the way notably one starter I manage to kill off before it even gets going. Sourdough rye is undoubtedly delicious, especially when paired with smoked or pickled fish, or a creamy butter or cheese, but it is also pretty tangy and, to my mind, a little too strong for everyday use.
Rye aficionados: feel free to recommend rye sourdough recipes below the line. Slater adds grated parmesan to his bread, Johansen butter.
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Caraway is traditional in many Scandinavian and eastern European varieties, but it makes the bread less versatile — brilliant with soft cheese or salmon, less good with marmalade. Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment?
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Friend's Email Address. Your Name. Your Email Address. Send Email. Skip to content. Jump to the recipe. Print Recipe Want it? Click it. Show Nutrition. Recipe Testers Reviews Elie Nassar. Shauna Hinchen-Joyal. Our first loaf was devoured quite quickly! Recipe Success Guide. Instructions To make the rye sour: Mix the ingredients until all the flour is fully moistened; the mixture will be very stiff.
To make the old bread soaker: Cut the bread into 1" cubes and place them in a lidded container. Add the cool water, shaking the container to fully moisten the bread. Store the mixture overnight in the refrigerator.
Jewish Rye Bread
Next day, squeeze out the excess water and stir the bread until it breaks down and becomes the consistency of stiff oatmeal. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. To make the dough: Place all of the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl. For best and easiest mixing and kneading, use a stand mixer; see manual kneading directions in "tips," below. Using the dough hook, mix on lowest speed for 3 minutes, then speed 2 for 3 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover.
Deflate the dough; for best technique, see our video, how to deflate risen dough.
Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes on a floured surface, folded side up. For added steam, preheat a cast iron frying pan on the shelf below the stone for the same amount of time. Use flour on your hands and the table to help prevent sticking. Pinch the bottom seam closed, if necessary.
Place the loaf on a lightly greased piece of parchment paper; sprinkle the parchment with coarse cornmeal, if desired, before adding the loaf. Spray or brush the top of the loaf with room-temperature water and sprinkle with caraway seeds, if desired. Score the loaf with 5 horizontal cuts across the top of the loaf, holding the blade perpendicular to the surface of the loaf.
The cuts should slightly diminish in length as they approach the tips of the loaf. Carefully place the parchment onto a peel or the bottom on a baking sheet , and slide parchment and loaf onto the hot stone, partially covering the loaf with a stainless steel bowl see "tips," below , to trap the rising steam.