Dark Rye Bread

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Dark Rye Bread

To continue our Bake Off Bake Along, and in-keeping with this week's Nordic theme, we're sharing our recipe for the perfect dark rye. Strong and full of flavour, it makes the perfect partner for strong punchy flavours such as cured meats and pickles, and balances smooth and mellow soft cheeses. It needs to be started a day in advance. You can use any small seeds and if you can’t find flaxseeds, linseeds are often available in supermarkets and make a good substitute.


2 small loaves

For the starter
10g fresh yeast
170ml warm water
15g flax seeds or ground flax seeds
50g sunflower seeds
70g rye flour
70g strong flour
1tbsp molasses

For the dough
300g rye flour
100g spelt flour
11/2 – 2 tsp salt
1tbsp honey
15g fresh yeast
150-200ml warm water
Oil for greasing
1 tbsp milk
Extra seeds for sprinkling


  1. First make the starter. In a small bowl stir the yeast into the a few tablespoons of the water until it has dissolved. In a large bowl, sift in the flours and add all the other starter ingredients. Add the yeast, swill out the yeast bowl with the remaining water and stir in well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in a cool place overnight. If it is very warm, put the starter in the fridge overnight, but you will need to bring it up to room temperature again before using it.
  2. The next day make the dough: put the yeast in a small bowl and add 2 tbsp of the measured water and stir to dissolve.
  3. Sift the flours and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre tip the starter into the well, the new yeast mixture, the honey and the molasses.
  4. Add three quarters of the remaining water (using some of it to swill out the yeast bowl) and using a cutlery knife evenly distribute the liquid and bring together into soft dough adding more water if required to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  5. Transfer to a very lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 -12 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  6. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover lightly with oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Lightly oil 2 500g loaf tins. Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
  8. Transfer the dough back to the work surface and knock it back, kneading it for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 loaves and place in the 2 lightly oiled loaf tins. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm, but not too hot place to prove, for approximately one hour. To check the dough is proved enough, lightly press it in one corner with your finger; it should leave only a little indentation.
  10. Lightly paint the top of the loaves with milk and sprinkle with a few seeds. Bake in the oven for 25 – 35 minutes until browned. They should also feel light and sound hollow when tapped on the underside.
  11. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing them. Turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool.

Author: Ailie Bishop


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