November 14, 2011

Finnish Sour Rye Bread

I've already cracked through the misconception that sourdough bread takes too long because of the starter. That said, I find myself home nearly every day since my son was born. That means I'm making much progress on my sourdough breads.

This rye bread has a nice texture, slightly sour flavor and just a bit of crunchy crust. In other words: delicious.

Sourdough Starter
1 cup warm water, between 105ºF and 115ºF
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp. active dry yeast

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Cover tightly, and let stand 24 to 36 hours, until the starter is bubbly and has a sweet-sour aroma. Cover and refrigerate for storage or use immediately. Replenish after each use with a mixture of half water and half flour. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 2 hours, until bubbly. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

Finnish Sour Rye Bread
2 tsp. yeast
2/3 cup water
1 1/3 cups sourdough starter
2 tsp. salt
3 cups dark rye flour
2 Tbsp. gluten
1 cup bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and room temperature sourdough starter. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, rye flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Add remaining bread flour. Knead the dough until soft and springy but soft to the touch. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. For a more intense sourdough flavor, place the dough in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.

Allow dough to return to room temperature. Turn dough onto lightly greased or floured surface, and punch dough down. Shape dough into a round loaf about 12 inches in diameter. With floured fingers, make a hole in the center of the loaf, then stretch and pull that hole to about 3 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Pierce the loaf with a fork. (See photo above.) Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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