Today is the third anniversary of my blog – I started posting on 4 July 2015 and this will be my 155th post!
I am really enjoying the research, the cooking, the photography and the writing and have many more recipes to share with you all.
Chleb – Bread
A wedding tradition in Poland is to greet the bride and groom on their arrival at the reception with bread & salt.
The bread is seen as a gift from God and is a wish that they never go hungry.
The salt is a seen as a gift from the earth and is a wish that they overcome the bitterness of life.
- To be called bread in Poland the loaves or rolls must contain some rye.
- Wheat loaves or rolls are called bułki or bułeczki but this is also the name given to some cakes and buns – hence there is often some confusion!
- Żyto is the Polish for rye.
- Rye – Secale cereale is a grain and is used for bread and for making some of the best vodkas.
- It grew wild in Turkey and since the Middle Ages it has been cultivate widely in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Rye grows well in poor soil and in cold and harsh conditions.
- Nowadays rye is grown primarily in Eastern, Central and Northern Europe and the top three rye producing countries are Germany, Russia & Poland.
- Poland consumes the most rye per person at 32.4 kg/capita (2009) followed by Nordic and Baltic countries. (From an article in Wikipedia).
- This method of bread making uses the natural yeasts that are found on the grain and in the atmosphere.
- I had never tried using a sour dough method before. I have now tried it out twice – even as a former science student – it felt like MAGIC! – the results were wonderful!
- This recipe is adapted from one in found in my American book – Polish Heritage Cookery by Robert & Maria Syrybel.
It takes around 3 days to make 2 loaves.
I suppose I could halve the recipe but I am quite happy to cut and freeze any surplus and the bread keeps for several days and can always be toasted.
This recipe uses whey which I often have if I have made any twarog – curd cheese.
If I do not have any whey I make a mixture of around 2 parts yoghurt to 1 part water instead.
At around 5 pm mix 150g of rye flour with 250ml of hand hot water in a bowl.
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours.
Again at around 5 pm, mix 150g of rye flour with 250ml of hand hot water and the mixture from the night before in a bowl and leave overnight or around 12 hours.
In the morning
- 350g rye flour
- 350g (strong) plain flour
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
- 450 – 500ml of whey or a mixture of 2 parts yoghurt & 1 part water
- Plus the starter mix from the days before
- Combine all the ingredients together.
- Aim for a “wet” mix – it is harder to handle but gives the best results.
- Knead for around 5 minutes – longer if you can!
- Shape the dough – cut it in half and make 2 oval-shaped loaves and place them on greased baking trays or you can put them into tins – I used a round – loose bottomed tin – 20cm in diameter in my second bake.
- Leave to rise for around 5 hours.
- Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
- Place some water in a roasting tray at the bottom of the oven.
- They take around 50 minutes to bake – I swap the two trays around after about 20 minutes.
Delicious with just butter – Well worth the wait!