Ever wanter to enjoy the carby goodness of bread but without all of the faffing around of kneading, rising & proving? Well, rye bread may just the your answer, yes it takes a long while but hand-on time is all but 5 minutes which makes it so easy to make! Yes, it’s perfectly possible to pick up a decent, usually shrink wrapped, rye bread in the supermarket but it’s hard to find a really good, flavourful rye.
Yes, it does take quite some time to produce a rye bread but there’s a bit misconception that time equally difficulty whereas in reality, all you need to do is simply mix some ingredients together, shape a dough & leave it alone to do its thing before baking, there’s no kneading, no second rise, sounds easy right? And definitely worth it to make a fill-flavoured, long-lasting bread that’s just as delicious toasted with butter & jam as it is with egg or smoked salmon. Typically denser & darker than bread made from wheat flour, it’s this characteristic dark crust & colour that gives it a much stronger flavour too.
Rye grass is member of the wheat family, closely related to both wheat & barley, grown for its grain. It’s hardy & grows well in cool, damp areas which, whilst it is still grown here in the UK, despite it’s high fibre content, it’s low gluten content which produces the sticky, dense, close-texture in rye breads has left it the less popular in bread making here & you’ll more often find it used in beer production or whiskeys. Rye remains popular throughout the rest of Europe though where it’s used in not only breads & pumpernickel but also in crispbreads, cakes & biscuits. In my recipe I like to add a little bread flour just to lighten the loaf slightly & a mix of seeds & grain for a little added texture. One of my favourite thing’s about rye bread is topping it with a while manner of different sweet & savoury toppings, much like the Danish do with theirs (two personal faves are rye topped with egg & prawns in a little mayo & lemon juice or rye topped with ricotta, compote, nuts & honey).
(makes one loaf)
- 400g rye flour
- 100g strong white bread flour
- 10g salt
- 10g dried fast-acting yeast
- 50g rye flakes
- 35g mixed seeds (I use millet, poppy & linseed)
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 400-450 ml warm water
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, yeast & flakes/seeds
- Next, add the treacle to the warm water & give a stir to dissolve
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture & pour in enough of the water to form a dough (the dough should be soft, but not too sticky – you may not need all of the water or may need a little more if your dough seems a bit dry)
- Continue to mix the dough for about 5 minutes until everything is well mixed together & feels smooth
- Shape the dough into a ball or a sausage & either place inside a greased & lined loaf tin or a lightly floured bowl, cover with a damp tea towel & leave to rise overnight, the dough should reach not quite double it’s size, but roughly 1.5 it’s size
- Once risen, preheat your oven to 220C & place an empty roasting inside to heat up
- Boil the kettle & fill the roasting tin the boiling water (the steam created will develop a good crust on the loaf)
- If the dough is in a bowl, tip it out onto a baking sheet, otherwise, if in a tin, bake the bread in the oven for 35 minutes, until well browned & the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath
- Place on a cooling to cool completely before slicing