Baltic black bread recipe

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Dark, sweet and fragrant with cumin, this is an excellent bread and easy to make. I also explained how to make a sourdough starter. It is the same for all breads using rye sourdough. Try shipton-mill.com for rye flour – and rye grains in my Danish rugbrød recipe. The water content of sourdough is usually weighed in grams, instead of being measured in milliliters, for accuracy.

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 5 days for entry, 16 hours to rest and 1 hour to prove | cooking time: 65 min

MAKES

A large loaf

INGREDIENTS

For the starter

  • 250g rye flour
  • 250 g lukewarm water

For the bread

  • 250g of the starter (made as above)
  • 675g of water
  • 800 g black rye flour
  • 100 g of soft brown sugar
  • 50 g oat bran
  • 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds (unless you don’t like caraway)
  • Sunflower oil for lubrication

METHOD

  1. To prepare the starter, mix 50 g of rye flour and 50 g of water in a large jar. Stir well and cover loosely (I just put a clean J-cloth on top). Keeping in a warm place – near the stove is a good option.
  2. After a day, you need to “feed” the starter, stirring the same amounts of flour and water that you started with. Do this – feed the starter and leave it in a warm place – for 4-5 days. You will see that it begins to bubble and that it will smell of fruit and yeast.
  3. Mix 250g of sourdough in a bowl with 300g of water and 400g of rye flour. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 16 hours.
  4. The next day, add the rest of the water and rye flour, as well as the sugar and oat bran. Mix until a fairly firm dough is obtained.
  5. Reserve 200 g of sourdough to keep for the next time you want to make this bread. You can feed this starter every day – discarding half and adding 50g of flour and 50g of water – or you can keep it in the fridge and feed it just once a week.
  6. In the bowl with the dough, add the seeds and 2 teaspoons of salt. Gather the dough – you can add a little more water or a little more flour if that makes it easier to handle – and shape it into a rectangle. The joy of these rye breads is that they don’t really require kneading.
  7. Brush a 30 x 14 cm cake tin with oil and line the bottom with baking paper. Put the dough in it, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until the dough has increased in size by about a quarter and feels a little springy when you press it down. It will probably take an hour, maybe more.
  8. Preheat the oven to 240C / 230C hot air / gas mark 8 and place a bowl or roasting pan with water on the lower rack. Bake the bread for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 200C / 190C fan / thermostat 6 and bake for another 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread should come out clean. If the top gets too dark, cover it with foil.
  9. Take the bread out of the oven and cover with a damp cloth. This helps keep the bread moist. Let cool completely before slicing – the bread should really rest.


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