Rye Bread - the Real Stuff

Recipe by Jan Andersen
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READY IN: 50hrs
YIELD: 1 bread
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • This is the way to make a real rye bread (as opposed to a bread containing rye flour).
  • I have deliberately not given any measures.
  • Firstly, I don't know, secondly, you can't make a proper bread if you simply measure up things and mix them together.
  • Instead you need to produce a dough that feels right- don't worry, it's easy.
  • First make a sour dough starter.
  • Simply mix some flour- one or two cups- with water to make a thick, but rather runny paste.
  • Put salt on top to stop it moulding, put a lid on and place it in a nice, warm place, eg on a radiator.
  • Note: This procedure won't succeed if there are no natural yeasts and acid bacteria in the flour or the air.
  • I have never had a problem, but who knows how things are where you live.
  • After a few days it will be foaming and have a sour smell; I personally find the smell rather foul, but that's the way it should be, as long as it is sour and not turning any strange colour or getting mouldy.
  • When the starter is ready, mix it with some lukewarm water.
  • If you made your starter with one cup of flour, use~1 pint of water now.
  • Add some salt.
  • At this point you can add some 'roughage' too, like soaked, whole rye kernels or whatever.
  • As the last step begin adding rye flour while mixing until the dough is firm enough to hand-knead.
  • Tip it out on a floured table and continue adding flour and kneading until you feel the dough is 'right': when it doesn't stick too much to everything.
  • Put it in a baking tin and leave it to rise; this can take quite a long time, maybe 8 hours.
  • If you let it rise too long, it can turn very sour, but I usually leave for 4- 8 hours.
  • Finally bake it at perhaps 125- 150 degrees Centigrade- haven't got a clue what it is in Fahrenheit, but it's not very warm.
  • It should bake for at least 2 hours and the door should not be fully closed.
  • It is a good idea to spray the bread with water from time to time to ensure that the crust doesn't separate from the rest of the bread.
  • This bread will often be very sticky inside when it is fresh.
  • The best things to do about it (in my opinion) is to allow the bread to settle- dry out a bit, basically- for a day or two.
  • Some people add some wheat flour to the recipe, but that's cheating if you ask me.
  • One thing that gives this bread a very nice taste is malt.
  • Another thing: horses are crazy about rye bread!
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