simple danish rye bread

I don't know what came over me but a few weeks ago I suddenly decided I needed to make rye bread. I tried making rye bread using a sourdough starter and while it tasted delicious the bread was as heavy as a brick. I threw out most of the loaf and decided to try again.

I tracked down a recipe for a simple Danish rye bread that used a tiny bit of yeast and then set about sourcing the remaining ingredients.

Linseeds came from the supermarket; sunflower seeds from the fruit shop; I didn't try to source malt I just used molasses instead. The sticking point was the cracked rye. I couldn't find it anywhere. I tried my local health food shop without success; searched online but could only locate 20kg bags of the stuff. In the end I bought the rye from the US and waited a week for it to arrive. 

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As I started the soaking process on Thursday night I thought to myself, this bread had better turn out. Friday I made the dough and stored it overnight in the fridge. The dough was very sticky and only rose a little. I baked the bread on Saturday and reading other recommendations I stored the bread overnight in a plastic bag. It looked okay but how would it taste? 

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Thankfully it tasted very good. If you like me suddenly get the urge to make some danish rye bread, I have the recipe for you.

Simple Danish Rye Bread from The New Nordic by Simon Bajada

150g cracked rye
75g sunflower seeds
75g linseeds (flax seeds)
480ml cold water
250g wholemeal rye flour
½ tsp dried instant yeast
2 tsp salt
1½ tbs golden syrup or honey
1 tbs malt
Sunflower oil, for greasing

Day 1 Combine the cracked rye, sunflower seeds and linseeds together in a bowl with 300ml of the water. Cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel), lid or plastic wrap, but don’t make it airtight, and leave to soak at room temperature for 18–24 hours.

In a second bowl, mix the wholemeal rye flour with the yeast and the remaining 180ml of cold water. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside at room temperature for 18–24 hours.

Day 2 Combine the two mixtures together, adding the salt, golden syrup or honey, and malt. Knead together thoroughly for at least 5 minutes; all the ingredients need to be well combined and evenly distributed. The dough will be wet, like cement, and it should fall off your hands if held up.

Grease a 25 cm x 10 cm (10 in x 4 in) loaf (bar) tin with sunflower oil. Transfer the dough to the tin and smooth over the surface. Leave in a warm place for 2–3 hours, until the dough has risen to the rim of the tin.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and cook the loaf for about 1 hour 20 minutes. It won’t have risen dramatically but there should be a visible crack along the top of the loaf.

Remove from the oven and turn the loaf out on to a wire rack. If the base and sides are still a bit moist, cook the bread upside down without its tin in the oven for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely on the wire rack. This can take 2–3 hours, depending on the environment. The loaf will stay fresh for 3 or 4 days if it is stored in a paper bag at room temperature.

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On Sunday for my lunch I made this egg and tomato smørrebrød from a Trine Hahnemann recipe. It was absolutely delicious.

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Now that I have a bag of cracked rye in my fridge I guess I'll be making this bread again but not for a while as in just two weeks time I'll be flying to London for a 4 week stay in Europe. The first week I'll be attending a conference then the remaining time will be holiday. I'm starting to get a little bit excited. 

See you all again next week.


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