So today I had brunch with my close friend and ex roomie Fabio (from Bannetons Brasil) and his girlfriend Meike. We were eating bread that he had baked and some I had done the evening before. I needed to bake bread for quite some days now because we had run out of homemade bread since I had put a lot of time and efford into setting up my own clay studio lately. And since I wasn’t very creative other than in the clay studio I just stuck to my everyday recipe of rye-bread, that I feel already very comfortable with because it turned out to be a reliable recipe. It is also a recipe that you don’t need to take a lot of care of, meaning the starter can ferment a little longer or shorter if necessary. I usually start my sponge in the evening, let it ferment over night, feed it in the morning before going to work and bake when I come home. So there’s not a lot of trouble even if you can’t spend a lot of time checking on your sponge. Well, here it goes:
For the sponge mix…
∗ 300 g Ryeflour, wholegrain
∗ 250 g water
∗ 90 g sourdough-starter
Mix the ingredients well and let sit for at least 10-12 hours, longer if desired, best overnight.
Feeding the sponge with…
∗ 100 g Wheatflour, wholegrain (you can also use spelt if desired)
∗ 100 g water
Mix the ingredients with the sponge and let ferment for another 9-12 hours.
Mixing the main dough. Add…
∗ 540 g Ryeflour, #812 or #1150 (Germany) / Light rye flour (U.S.)
∗ 100 g Water
∗ 20 g salt
Mix the rest of the ingredients with the sponge and, if you want, some seeds as discribed below. Mix for at least 8 minutes on the lowest setting of your kneading machine. Then knead with your wet hands. If you don’t wet your hands, the rye will stick to them like nothing else you know. It is also hard to remove so better get your hands wet beforehand. If you’ve kneaded it into shape put it in a floured banneton and let rest for 1-2 hours, till it has gained some volume. You can test if it has risen enough by poking it with your finger. If the indent you have made doesn’t move back it has already risen too much, if it moves back to it’s original shape it hasn’t risen enough, but if it goes back only a tiny little bit it is time to bake. I usually preheat the oven up to 250°C/ 480°F after 30 minutes of rising because then it usually takes still another hour till the bread is ready to go into the oven and I want my oven to be preheated evenly. I also preheat the baking-pan so I can pop my bread onto a hot surface. When you do start the oven make sure to put a heatproof oven-pan with warm water into the oven so by the time you put your bread in, there’s a lot of steam, so the crust can expand easily and the bread can rise without ripping in parts you don’t want it to rip.
When the oven is preheated and steam is building up, turn your banneton upside down onto a baking sheet till the dough pops out of the banneton. With a sharp knife cut into the dough where you want the crust to open. I vary with this all the time but a cross or double-cross is a very common way to do it. Get the hot pan out of the oven, slide the bread with the bakingsheet onto it and put it into the oven. Let bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, open the oven door, let the steam escape and remove the water-pan from the oven. Drop the temperature to 220°C/430°F, close the oven door and bake for another 35-40 minutes. Take the bread out of the oven afterwards and let it cool down on a rack. If you just put it on the counter, water will condensate and rehydrate the crust, so it won’t be as crispy anymore.
∗ 120 g of seeds, such as sesame, flaxseed, sunflowerseeds,…
∗ 100 g of water
Mix seeds with water and let soak at least 15 minutes before mixing with the main dough. I also added some walnuts for a stronger flavor. They go very well with rye-sourdough bread. It is necessary that you let the seeds suck up all the water before mixing them with the dough, otherwise they will dehydrate your sponge and the dough will be too dry to handle and rise properly.