Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Our home-baked whole grain rye bread

Since I moved to Germany 10 months ago, I've been constantly stumbling upon the same problem: where to buy a bread which would be at the same time healthy and eatable. I'm trying hard to live as eco as possible - you know, using little chemicals, reading INCI of my cosmetics, buying pre-made food only in exceptional situations and generally paying attention to what I eat (getting anaemia makes you rethink your eating habits, trust me...) - but my ideal bread still looks more or less like this. I like it soft, fluffy, with crispy crust. Even eating Polish whole grain bread was never the biggest fun on Earth. And German... Well, let's put it like this: Germans take the word 'whole grain' a little bit too literally:

Our feeble attempts to buy something with more whole grain flour and less grains were usually in vain. Actually, I had a strong impression that my husband wasn't even getting what I'd like to find at all. You don't produce 100% whole grain flour bread. Not in Germany.

Well, it took me 10 months to get to this conclusion, but it seems to be the only reasonable solution in here: if I can't buy the bread that I want, then I have to make it!

I used a recipe from Modern Taste and upgraded some details with what I read on some other baking websites. And here it is - our first, superbly healthy, 100% whole grain flour rye bread ever.

WHAT YOU NEED: whole grain rye flour, water, a bit of salt, optionally also sugar and yeast. Plus one big and one small jar.

  1. Take the big jar. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (if you want to - I, for instance, never say no to sugar ^^) and add some water, until the dough is a bit denser than the one you use for pancakes. The water shall be warm, but not warmer than 40 degrees (104 F)!
  2. Close the jar, cover with a dishcloth and put in a warm place for the next 12 hours.
  3. After the 12 hours open the jar and stir the dough. Close it again and put it back in the warm place.
  4. After next 12 hours add another 2-3 tablespoons of flour and warm water (no sugar this time!). Stir, close, put in a warm place.
  5. Repeat 3. and 4. until you have enough sourdough for your bread. The best proportion (at least from what I got to know...) is 1:1, meaning: the same amount of dough and sheer flour. In this recipe you need 500g of both, so the production of the dough shall take approximately 5 days.

WHEN THE SOURDOUGH IS READY: put approximately 3 tablespoons of the sourdough into the small jar - this will be your 'starter' for the next bread. Put the lid on, but don't close it. Store the dough in the fridge.
If you don't intend to bake bread regularly, you should feed your dough once in a while - possibly once in a week. Put it out of the fridge, stir and leave for 2 hours. Then add 3 tablespoons of flour + water and leave it for 10-12 hours. Take 50-100g of the dough and put it back to the fridge - the rest you can freely throw away.

  1. Take a big bowl and mix: 500g of sourdough, 500g of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast (if you want to use it), 1 teaspoon of salt and approx. 1/2 glass of warm water. Knead the dough, adding a bit of flour if needed.
  2. Put the dough in a bowl greased with vegetable oil (I think I'm going to skip this part next time - the whole oil got down on my dough...). Cover with a dishcloth and put in a warm place for 3-4 hours, so that it could grow.
  3. Briefly knead the dough (again adding flour if needed) and put it in a form lined with baking paper. Once again cover it with the dishcloth and put in a warm place, until the dough fills the whole form.
  4. Spread some oil on the cover of your bread.
  5. Bake 10 minutes in 200C (392F) and then 50 minutes in 180C (356F). If possible, spread some water on the top every 15 minutes.
  6. Take the bread out of the oven (and the form) and let it cool down. Cut it only when it's completely cold!

And if something went wrong - don't worry. The first bread rarely turns out to be awesome; your leaven needs some time to get more strength. That's why we're storing a bit of it in the fridge :). Every next bread shall be just better and better...

Our bread didn't turn out to be exactly like I imagined it. The leaven was probably too weak, maybe it was the oil, maybe the problem of finding 'a warm place' in our super-cold flat - but it didn't grow as nicely as in the original recipe. Still, we both loved it :). Just take a look!

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