This is a basic every-day rye bread with not too much going on, just great rye and sourdough flavour. We eat it for lunch with butter and ham, pate, salami, cheese or other good stuff. You can also toast it and eat it with cheese for breakfast if you're a real rye lover.
Nina's danish ryebread
(Makes one loaf in 3,3 l tin)
Day 1, sponge:
175 g active rye starter
510 g water
170 g stout or porter
150 g cracked rye grains
90 g spelt (or rye) flour
410 g rye flour
Mix starter with liquids - if the beer is cold heat the water and mix befor adding. The liquid should be lukewarm (colder if it's very hot outside). Mix in grains and flour. (I mix with a wooden spoon and only in the end mix with my hand to make sure everything is well mixed.)
Let the sponge stand at room temperature (or somewhere warm if it's cold outside) for 14-24 hours covered with a damp cloth. Spray the cloth with water if it dries out.
You shouldn't worry about catching the sponge at its peak, in fact it's supposed to overprove. When you use the sponge it should have risen significantly, collapsed just a bit and have a nice sour smell. The rising time is depending on room temperature and how sour you want the bread. It's very flexible really.
Day 2, dough:
180 g water
10 g muscovado sugar
18 g salt
1505 g sponge (everything from yesterday)
50 g spelt (or rye) flour
320 g rye flour
Dissolve sugar and salt in water, add to sponge. Add flour and mix, spoon first then hand. The dough should be too thin to knead but too thick to pour. Use the spoon to get the dough into one or more tins. Unless you have the fantastic Eva Professional rye bread tin with non-stick inner coating you should lubricate the tin with butter or cover with baking parchment. The tin should be about 2/3 full, leaving room for the dough to rise. Use a wet dough scraper or spatula to flatten the dough in the tin.
Cover with a damp cloth and let it proof untill the dough has reached the top of the tin - could be anything from 2½-5 hours depending on temperature.
Turn on the oven at 185C (365F) and gently remove the cloth from the tin. Spray with more water if it sticks. When the oven is hot, spray bread with water and prick small holes with a fork. Put the tin in the oven on a baking sheet so the bread is in the middle of the oven.
After 10 minuttes lower the temperature to 175C (347F) for 1 hour and 15 minuttes. Cover the tin with tin foil (to prevent the crust from getting too hard and thick) and bake for another 45 min.
Turn off the oven and gently remove the bread from the tin. The sides of the bread will still be somewhat soft at this point. The Eva tin is just turned upsidedown and the bread slips out all by itself. Now put the bread in the oven for another hour using the afterheat (is that a word?), placing it on the baking sheet.
After 1 hour remove bread from oven and brush with neutral tasting oil (I use peanut oil) on all sides. Let it cool on a rack. When almost cold wrap in tea towel, when completely cold put bread in plastic bag still wrapped in the towel. The next morning remove the towel and store in bag only.
You should wait at least 2 days from baking till cutting the loaf! In that time the crust will go more soft and the inside less sticky. The crust should be firm but not hard and crunchy and the inside should be slightly damp but not very sticky. Slice thinly (5mm or so, fresh loaves might need to be cut slightly thicker) with a GOOD bread knife. The bread will stick to the knife, so be sure to clean it right after slicing or you'll have a cement-covered bread knife. If slicing more bread at a time you might need to clean the knife once in a while.
This bread will stay good to eat for at least 10 days after baking. It will not get mouldy but with time it dries out and gets too dry to eat. This might be obvious to all of you (not to my mother!) but do not store in the fridge.
I'm still a bit unsure about bakers percentages... if someone could help me out with calculating them for the recipe I would be thankful.
This recipe is for a single loaf baked in a big 3,3 l tin. If baking in smaller tins, try lowering the baking time to 1-1½ hour with the heat on and 30-45 min on the afterheat. Trial and error ;)
The beer will add malt and a dark color to the bread. I prefer using beer with not too much alchohol (6% stout is my favorite). In Denmark very sweet dark malt beers called 'whitebeer' and 'maltbeer' (very low in alchohol, about 2%) is very cheap and easy to come by and makes a great bread. I just don't think you can get them outside Denmark. I guess you could replace the beer with water and malt if you can't find a proper stout or porter replacement.
Sometimes I replace the water on day one with an infusion of fennel and star anise. This gives a great but very subtle taste and smell to the bread. You can also add honey as well as different seeds and soaked grains.
I find that adding spelt gives a better texture (the crumb will not be as likely to crumble) and the bread will still keep good. You can use white flour instead if you're having problems with the texture, but it does stale just a bit faster in my experience. You could also just use 100% rye.
Note: I use wholemeal rye flour, not sifted.
Some people advocate intensive mixing of rye bread doughs. I prefer not to but I have yet to find out if it actually makes a difference.