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HOMEMADE WHOLE-RYE BREAD

The 100% rye bread is such a great thing but is is not easy to find in the local stores… Unfortunately, whatever is called ‘rye bread’ usually contains many additional ingredients that have nothing in common with rye: white flour, caramel coloring, dough conditioners and preservatives.
We buy it as we are thought that dark bread is healthy, but it is not true sometimes as nowadays it is hard to find real bread without any additional ingredients.

The good news it that since now, you can transform your kitchen to your own bakery and be your own baker! I am not kidding, freshly baked bread and crispy skin with thin slice of melting butter on top would become new hero in your menu! Just be careful, as I am pretty sure your family and friends would make special orders and ask for extra bread for them, so you may need to organize more time at kitchen to make good on their expectations 😉

The recipe is easy, but it is NOT quick, as to prepare your bread, first you would need to make a sourdough starter (called also levain). (That lactic acid from starter produces a flavorful tang as well as bread that lasts a long time on the counter (acid is a preservative)).
This phase takes 4 days. But do not worry it is really simple! 🙂

Let’s do it!


Sourdough starter
Ingredients (for each day)

  • 100g whole-rye flour
  • 100ml room-temperature boiled water

Day one
Mix 100g flour with 100ml room-temperature boiled water in glass bowl (mix it with wooden spoon! Bread doesn’t like metal!). Let sit at room temperature, cover with kitchen towel.

Day two
Add another 100g flour with 100ml room-temperature boiled water to the mixture from the day before. Mix together and again let sit at room temperature, cover with kitchen towel.

Day three
Add another 100g flour with 100ml room-temperature boiled water to the mixture from the day before. Mix together and again let sit at room temperature, cover with kitchen towel.

Day four
Add another 100g flour with 100ml room-temperature boiled water to the mixture from the day before. Mix together and again let sit at room temperature, cover with kitchen towel.

(Day by day , starter will be growing in your bowl and fermenting, the ‘funny’ smell it is exactly what are we aiming for! Lactic acid is the hero of this bread 🙂
Follow these instructions from above every day AT THE SAME time! So either in the morning, before going to work, on in the evening before going to bed, basically every 24 hours 🙂 )


Day five (BAKING DAY!)
Ingredients

  • 1kg whole-rye flour
  • around 600ml-700ml room-temperture boiled water
  • 1,5 tablespoon Himalayan salt
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  1. This time, after 24 hours passed since day 4, instead of adding 100g of flour, add 500g flour and 500ml room-temperature boiled water to our bowl with starter since last 4 days. Mix it well together and leave in the kitchen for 12 hours, underneath the kitchen towel.
  2. After 12 hours add another 500g flour, big 1,5 table spoon of Himalayan salt, sunflower seeds and about 150ml-200ml warm-temperature boiled water. YES!! This time we put LESS WATER than the previous days.
  3. Mix all together well until it has a bit more dense structure than days before and until the dough falls off from your fingers (yes feel free to mix the dough with your hands 😉 ) and put into well oiled and floured standard loaf pan. Smooth the top of the dough with a wet spatula. Flour the top of the loaf and cover with a kitchen towel.
  4. Allow to ferment for 1 more. The dough will rise a little but not much.
  5. In the mean while pre-heat your oven to maximum.
  6. After one hour of sitting put your filled loaf pan with dough into hot oven and decrease temperature to 200°C (390°C-400°F)
  7. Bake your loaf, uncovered, for around 50 minutes, until brown. Your oven may vary greatly. The best way to check is by the color of the loaf.
  8. Remove bread from the loaf pan and let cool on a wire rack.
  9. Let this loaf sit before you break into it! However I am usually very impatient and digging into it almost straight away after taking it out from the oven. Crispy end of the bread is the best! 🙂


A note on scheduling

Since there’s no kneading, this loaf goes together quickly. Instead of starting the loaf in the evening, you could start it in the morning and finish it in the evening after work. The fermentation times are flexible since you don’t have to worry about the dough keeping it’s shape. If at anytime something prevents you from completing a step just put your dough in the refrigerator (which is kind of like hitting the pause button).

Tips
The longer the bread sits the more sour it will get (note that it could get too sour if you really extend the fermentation). Too short a fermentation will lead to an overly dense loaf. That said, you’ve got considerable flexibility. A few hours in either direction won’t make much of a difference.
Try any variations such as adding nuts and sprouted grains.

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