This spiced rye is a classic german rye bread. There are many varieties of rye bread produced in german bakeries using various proportions of rye flour with wheat or other flours. Most are also sour dough breads or mixed sour dough-yeast breads. Rye bread has a very different texture to wheat bread. It doesn’t rise as much resulting in denser crumb, which is moist but not heavy. The darkest rye bread, such as pumpernickel and schwarzbrot, are typically made only using rye flour, rye meal, sour dough starter and flavourings such as caraway. These varieties require very long baking times (even overnight) and are deliciously savoury breads ideal for appetizers when sliced thinly and topped with caviar or salmon. The lighter rye breads, sometimes called “Roggen mischbrot” (rye mixed bread) include wheat flour and this does lighten the texture somewhat to produce a more versatile loaf more suited to everyday use and tastes. The mixed rye-wheat breads, such as this version here, are also easier to produce at home. The typical spices in rye bread are fennel, cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, although the unspiced versions also have good flavour. I have to admit that I have been trying to produce rye bread at home for some time, and my first attempts were all a bit too tough and too dense in structure. With this recipe I can finally say that I have managed to make a good authentic german rye bread. So this really represents a good “beginner rye bread”. Of course, I will continue to tweak my rye bread recipes and experiment with flour proportions and flavours, so watch this blog.
Recipe for german rye bread
Ingredients for one large loaf
For the sour dough sponge;
250g rye flour 1150
25g sourdough starter
mix all the ingredients for the sponge and leave to ferment for 8-12hours
100g wheat flour 550
300g rye flour 1150
1 tablespoon molasses
5g “brot gewurz” (ground fennel, cumin and coriander seeds)
mix all the ingredients in your mixer with the dough hook. You really do need a mixer for this dough, or a lot of patience, its sticky and never becomes stretchy making it very difficult to work by hand. Let your mixer deal with the dough on low speed for 5 minutes. Then scrape all the mixture down and knead it for a further 5 mins on slow –medium speed. Turn the dough into a well floured bowl, cover and leave to rest .Rye dough develops better if you prove it in a warm place of about 30 degrees. For this I turn the oven to 50degrees and then immediately turn the heat off, but leave the fan and light on. So put your bowl of dough in the slightly warmed oven for 45 mins. It will rise and form a wet spongey texture. Then, turn out onto a well floured work surface, deflate it and form into a ball. You will need plenty of flour and light hands to get your dough into a nice smooth ball. Proove the dough again in a basket for 1-1.5 hours, this time at room temperature. Preheat the oven to maximum, 250 degrees, and just before you put your bread in, place a roasting try of water on the oven floor to create steam. Carefully turn the dough ball onto your baking sheet and with a sharp knife cut a deep cross into the surface of the dough. Bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 and bake for a further 45 minutes.