I love rye bread, but baking bread is not something I have ever done. Somehow using yeast and letting it rise is a bit magical to me. I don’t know how to knead and I have no idea. But watching the new series of the Hairy Bikers (the Hairy Biker’s Bakeation) making rye bread looks really easy, that coupled with the fact that I haven’t yet found a yummy rye bread in the UK meant that I had to take up the challenge.
- 175ml full-fat milk
- 175ml water
- 2 tbsp dark soft brown sugar (I used Demerara sugar because that’s what I had in the house)
- 1 x 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
- 250g rye flour
- 200g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tbsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp caraway seeds (I didn’t use caraway seeds because I forgot to buy them)
- sunflower oil, for greasing
Put the milk, water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring constantly, for just a few seconds until the liquid is lukewarm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl.
Stir in the yeast and leave for 10 minutes until there is a light froth floating on the surface.
Put all the flour, rye and white, in a large bowl, stir in the salt and caraway seeds, then make a well in the centre. Pour the warm yeast mixture on to the flour and mix with a wooden spoon and then your hands to form a soft, spongy dough.
Turn the dough out on to a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Kneading this dough can be hard work so you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and give it some welly.
Put the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
I put my bowl in the living room, while I watched some TV. The living room is warmer and in my mind I thought it woudl be better than the cold kitchen.
Put the dough on a floured work surface and knock it back with your knuckles, then knead for another minute.
Shape the dough into a fat oval or round loaf, pulling the dough from the top and sides and tucking it underneath to make a neat shape.
Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and score the surface 4 times with a sharp knife. Cover it loosely with the oiled cling film and leave to prove for a further 40–50 minutes until it has doubled in size once more.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Bake the loaf in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes or until it is well risen and the base sounds hollow when tapped sharply. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.