Honey Rye Sourdough Bread

Food of Love

Food of Love

I have to concede that I am what Swedes call a “höns mamma” (hen mother). On Valentine’s Day I want everyone at home with the unifying aroma of honey rye sourdough bread emanating from the oven and floating around them throughout the house. When we enjoy it together with the crumbs scattering quickly across the kitchen table as we laugh together in this most important of rooms, this bread feels like love itself. I’m without my bread mixer at the moment, you see. So, I have kneaded this bread by hand on a pastry kneading board that has been the birth place of great breads for the past hundred years or more . I have found that kneading is not an inconvenience if you really focus on it and don’t constantly think of the next thing. It is an act of love. However, if you’ve got a bread mixer, you need not look at it longingly as you knead (excuse my pun on words) for fear of not being able to deliver the same feeling to your family and love ones. Go ahead and use it!

Here is my best recipe for rye sourdough with a touch of honey to give it that lovely gentle flavor. A note about rye: it’s a good idea to try consuming more of this in your diet of grains or at least blending rye with wheat varieties of flour as this recipe does. Consuming rye flour breads has some clear benefits over eating mainly white flour breads as they include insoluble fibers which assist digestion and reduce blood fat levels.

The touch of honey that I’ve put into this bread has a dual effect. It helps the bread to rise and to become airy and elastic along with the sourdough and touch of yeast. It also gives the bread a smoother, more mature flavor compared with breads made with sweet baking syrup. Make sure you choose honey that is raw – meaning it hasn’t been heated. That way you preserve its yeasting qualities for the bread.

In this recipe I’m using the sourdough culture which you should make sure you’ve already got waiting for you in the refrigerator. Preparing it takes about a week of waiting (but not much work). Read about it in my entry for sourdough earlier this February.

Honey Rye Sourdough Bread
(makes two loaves)

5 dl or 2 cups fine ground rye flour
4 dl or 1 3/4 cups fine ground wheat flour
2 dl or 3/4 cup stoneground wheat flour or Grahamsmjöl
1 dl or 1/3 cup wheat germ
2 dl or 3/4 cup rye sourdough
25 g or 0.9 oz dry yeast for savoury doughs
2 tbsps honey
2 tbsps salt
4 dl or 1/3/4 cups lukewarm water
2 dl or 3/4 cup extra fine ground wheat flour for kneading (if you are using a bread mixer this can be used as extra flour if the dough is too sticky)

Combine flours, wheat germ and yeast in a mixing bowl or bread mixer. Add sourdough, honey and water. Knead into a smooth dough with one hand, keeping the other one free to add a bit of white flour and reduce stickiness. If using a bread mixer, blend at low speed for 2 minutes. If kneading by hand, scatter a bit of the spare flour onto a kneading board or wooden surface and knead the dough on this for about 10-15 minutes. If using a bread mixer, mix on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Add salt towards the end of the kneading process. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow to rise for 6-8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 250 C or 482 F. Split the dough into two, form into rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cut a cross into the middle of the bread with scissors (for aesthetic purposes only – not a must). Scatter over a bit of extra stoneground wheat flour. Cover with the kitchen towel. Place near the warming oven and allow to rise for an hour or two. Reduce the oven heat to 200 C or 390 F and spray or sprinkle the dough with water just before sliding the baking tray with the bread rounds into the lower shelf of the oven. Allow to bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread is crispy and browned but not burned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Enjoy lukewarm with a bit of butter or margarine and a hot cup of tea, coffee or drinking chocolate.

I love listening to the radio while I am kneading dough. It is a wonderful break from the hectic day! I like to partake in this unusual little relaxation technique before going to bed. That way the bread can rise while I am sleeping and be put into the oven to bake the next morning.

Happy Valentine’s!

Written by Julie in: Bread,Grains,Rye,Savoury Food,Wheat | Tags: , ,

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