Danish-inspired 100% rye sourdough bread – part 2
This is my take on recreating the wonderful sourdough rye bread I had in Copenhagen earlier this year. While I have boldly claimed that it is 100% rye, for the pedants out there, it is probably more likely 99% rye as I started with a couple of tablespoons of wheat sourdough starter (I don’t have the patience to maintain two sourdough starters in my life). Start it a few days before you want to eat it. If you rush it, the wonderful malty flavours will not develop and the bread will lose some of its magic. If you do try this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts on the bread.
My Danish-inspired Rye Sourdough Bread
2 tablespoons sourdough starter (mine was wheat 100% hydration starter)
2 tablespoons rye flour
2 tablespoons water
150 gm rye grain
Mix together in a glass bowl and cover with a lid or cling film. (Variation – in previous attempts at this bread I used to first soak just the rye grain and water and keep it overnight or sometimes longer. The grains would almost be on the verge of sprouting before I added the starter. This made for a much softer grain in the loaf and something I would do again next time. It does add another day to the procedure though!)
You can feed up some sourdough starter with rye flour at the same time so that subsequent additions of starter will be more rye based and have very little wheat remaining.
Add equal quantity of sourdough starter, rye flour and water to the mix.(Eg: 1/4 cup of each)
The total weight should be 660gm at this stage
100gm sunflower seeds
60gm buttermilk or sourmilk (I used milk kefir)
Day 2 + 12 hours
1/2 cup rye flour
1/4 cup water
1 tbs fennel seeds
Add the above to your grainy mix and combine well. Cover.
Day 3 (Day 2 + 24 hours)
Total mixture weight at this stage is approx 1.1kg
200gm coarse rye flour
Mix all of this really well – use your hands to really get it all really well combined and mimic a kneading action as best you can. Roughly shape into a log and place into a well lined baking tin. (Trust me here, you want to double line your baking tin with baking paper, unless you have a concrete scraper handy to get it out of the tin later!). Smooth the top. loosely cover and place the entire baking tin in a plastic bag or equivalent and put it in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 1-2 hours before baking. By this stage it should have risen about 20% in the baking tin.
Preheat your oven to 250C. Spray the top of the loaf with water and make a slash as best you can (pretty wet dough so not hugely successful). Then cover the top with baking paper and foil (trying to simulate a closed baking tin tp minimise the drying of the top crust and maximise steam effect. This covered baking tin approach made a really big difference to the end result so I definitely recommend it.) Place in the oven along with a good squirt of water to create some steam. After 5 minutes turn the oven temperature down to 170C. Bake for 4.5 hours. About half way through the baking you should be able to smell the beer predominantly. It is only when it smells more like bread than beer that you will know that it is done. I ended up varying the temperature of my oven that whole time as I needed to cook other things at the same time. It is pretty forgiving of this variation – just adjust cooking times if you need to. When it is sufficiently cooked the colour will have changed to a dark brown (it seems to do this in the last half hour of cooking), the aroma will be closer to bread that beer and if you stick a knife in its centre, it will be only slightly sticky. You need to use your eyes and nose to work out when it is done as the depth of the baking tin will also make a difference.
A few minutes after you remove it from the oven, remove it from the tin and wrap in a tea towel. When cool wrap it well in a plastic bag. Try and be patient and wait at least a day or two before you cut into the loaf. The day it is baked it will still be very sticky and taste a bit raw in the centre. By day 2 it will be perfect. Slice thinly and enjoy!