Dark rye bread
I like the kind of bread that's got the shape and consistency of a house brick and is as dark as possible. Here's how I make it.
This recipe is simple enough to make regularly. You don't need to knead the bread. You just mix the ingredients, leave to rise, and bake. The result is a sweet, dark rye sourdough loaf with loads of seeds. The loaf will last for at least a week. It's so dense and sticky that two half-centimetre-thick slices will fill you up, and one slice with a bit of spread on top is a satisfying snack. This means that even a small loaf will last for ages.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl
An advantage of this recipe is its simplicity. You choose the ingredients from the following list, put it all into a bowl, give it a good stir with a wooden spoon, and you're ready to leave it to rise.
- Something to make the bread rise. 250g of active rye starter, in practice three dollops. Three dollops will give a nice sour smell when you put it into the oven and make it rise quickly (within 18 hours). My starter has a 'sloppy' consistency.
- The flour. 350g of dark rye flour, like Marriage's Dark Rye.
- To make the dough. 250ml of water. The original recipe says 200ml, but another 50ml seems to give the loaf the right balance of moistness. I've also tried using 200ml of dark ale here with some success.
- Something extra. 100g of cooked pearl barley or pinhead oats/coarse oatmeal, or 100g of rye flakes, like AXA Rågflingor.
- To make it sticky and sweet. A tablespoon of black treacle (called 'molasses' in American English)..
- Some seeds for texture. 2tbsp sunflower seeds, 2tbsp pumpkin seeds, not so much for flavour but for texture, 2tbsp linseeds (aka flaxseeds).
- Aromatic seeds. Caraway seeds are really important, about 3tsp. You can also add 3tsp coriander seeds, 2tsp fennel seeds, 2tsp poppy seeds.
- Some fruit or nuts. A small 100ml cup of dried fruit, pecans, or walnut halves.
- To darken the bread. 1-2 tbsp of cocoa, but this will change the colour rather than making it taste of chocolate.
Method after mixing
- Put the dough into an oiled or lined loaf tin, scattering with rye flour. The rye flour is mostly for appearance. I usually put a ton of it on there.
- Put the tin in a clean plastic bag and leave it in a warm (<50°C) place to rise, until it fills the tin. It will take absolutely ages to do this, so leave it at least overnight. I just pop the tin on a radiator which isn't turned up very high. You will see when it rises.
- Bake for 50 minutes at 200°C. If the loaf is hollow when you tap it, remove it from the oven, and leave it to stand for at least an hour. You absolutely must leave it to stand, so be patient. I usually leave it to stand in the kitchen overnight, which works well.
- Time planning. Make the mixture first thing in the morning and leave it to rise on the radiator all day. An hour before bed, bake the loaf, turning it out onto a cooling rack to cool and harden overnight.
Serve with: marmalade, avocado, cinnamon butter, cream cheese, rich roast peanut butter or pickles.