Easy Rye Bread

I have been spending many days in the last few months trying to make a good easy rye bread.

Many of my attempts were just awful – not even good enough for the birds – more straight to the bin!

At last, I have found a recipe that is easy & it just uses rye flour and baker’s yeast & there is no kneading whatsoever!

In fact, I got some fresh yeast from my local Polish shop and this was just so lovely to use.

I made this twice, once with rye flour from the Polish shop and once with dark rye from Aldi. They both turned out well.

You just mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon to give a wet mixture a bit like porridge.

The less you handle the mixture the better.

Ingredients

300g rye flour

10g fresh yeast (or the equivalent in dried yeast)

250ml hand hot water

1 teaspoon of granulated sugar

1.5 teaspoons of salt

1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

Method

Add the sugar and yeast to the water, mix well and leave it to start to froth.

Put the flour, salt and caraway in a large bowl and mix together.

Grease a 2lb loaf tin.

Add the water and yeast mix to the flour mix and with a wooden spoon mix well to form a unified mass.  You are aiming for a wet mixture rather like porridge.

Using a large spoon or spatula put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.

Loosely cover the tin with cling film or similar  – a recent tip I have got is to use a clear shower cap – this allows the dough to rise without touching the plastic.

Leave the dough to rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size (I found this took around 2 hours).

Pre-heat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C

Bake for around 30 -40 minutes – check after 15 minutes and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper if it is starting to catch on the top.

To slice the loaf, I have found that a cleaver type knife is actually easier than using a bread knife.

You can place the slices in a plastic box and they freeze very well.

Soda Bread with Spelt

Having had success with soda bread recipes with rye flour,  I decided to try these out with the spelt flour I had bought recently.

Spelt –  Triticum spelta – is an older type of wheat known to have been used from around 5,000BC.

Modern wheat is Triticum sativum.

I use a yoghurt & whey mix, as I nearly always have these in when I make yoghurt cheese, but you can adapt by using a milk & water mix or buttermilk instead.

Ingredients

250g spelt flour

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking powder

200ml of yoghurt

150ml of whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients, bit by bit, using a wooden spoon to mix it all together .

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball, trying to handle the dough as little as possible.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray and flatten it slightly.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star through most of the thickness

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Fruit Version

To the flours add a 100g of dried fruits – raisons, sultanas, dried apricots etc.

 

I love the taste of the apricots!

Note

As with all soda breads, they do tend to become stale very quickly,  however they are delicious toasted.

Mixed Grains Bread

I have been concentrating on a variety of rye breads and had gone to my local Polish shop to buy some more rye flour when I saw some mąka orkiszkowa which is spelt flour.

Spelt –  Triticum spelta – is an older type of wheat known to have been used from around 5,000BC

Modern wheat is Triticum sativum.

Ingredients

250g spelt flour

250g strong wheat flour

150g oat flakes

50g sesame seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

20ml of sunflower oil

250ml milk

150ml water

1 tablespoon of fresh yeast

1 teaspoon of sugar

Method

Mix the milk and water and heat them slightly to hand heat.

Add the sugar and the yeast and wait for the yeast to froth up.

Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture.

Use a large wooden spoon to mix everything together and then use your hand to bring the dough into a soft ball, kneading it lightly for around 3 minutes.

 

 

Leave to rise for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Grease a long Continental loaf tin (or a 2lb loaf tin).

Lightly press the dough into the tin.

Leave to rise – I found this took around 5 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C.

Bake for 35-40 minutes , checking after 25 minutes and cover with foil or greaseproof paper if it has browned too quickly on the top.

The base of the loaf will sound hollow  when it is cooked – put back for a few more minutes if not.

 

Once cool, I wrap the bread in a cloth.

 

 

I have found that the sliced bread, packed in a plastic box with a lid freezes very well.

Soda Breads with Rye

These are two variations of a classic wheat flour soda bread recipe.

I think the slow rise breads you get with sourdough or bakers’ yeast are better but they take time to make.

These are a quick bake if you want some bread for lunch or supper.

I use a yoghurt & whey mix as I nearly always have these in when I make yoghurt cheese, but you can adapt by using a milk & water mix or buttermilk if you have it instead of the whey.

I add caraway as I love the taste but you can experiment with other flavours using fresh or dried chopped herbs.

Version 1

Ingredients

150g rye flour

250g plain flour

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

150ml yoghurt

200ml whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it all together.

 

 

 

 

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star on the surface.

Bake for 5mins then turn the heat down to GM 6 – 200°C and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

Version 2

Ingredients

100g rye flour

250g wheat flour

50g rolled oats

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

150ml yoghurt

200ml whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it all together.

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star on the surface.

Bake for 5mins then turn the heat down to GM 6 – 200°C and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

 

Note

Soda bread does tend to go stale quickly but is is still delicious toasted and served with butter.

 

 

Tea plates are Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

 

Rye Bread

Having made a super sour dough rye bread   ,  I now thought I would have a go at one using baker’s yeast as this is a quicker option.

Only rye flour is used which does make it a harder to handle dough.

Ingredients

500ml yoghurt & water ( around 1:1 ) at hand heat

1.5 tablespoons of dried yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

100g rye flour

**********

650g rye flour

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of caraway seeds – plus extra for sprinkling on top

Method

Day 1

In a bowl mix the yoghurt and water , yeast , sugar and flour.

Leave for a while until it starts to bubble.

Mix the rest of the flour, salt and caraway seeds in a large bowl.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon.

Aim for a “wet” mixture, adjusting with water or flour as necessary.

Cover this with a cling film or a cloth and leave overnight.

Day 2

This will make 2 loaves – either two round or oval loaves which you can place on greased baking sheets or you can use small baking tins – shallow ones rather than loaf tins work out best I think – I used a 16 x 27cm mermaid tin.

This dough is very hard to work with – I cut it into two and shape each piece without much kneading and try not to add much extra flour.

Cover and leave to rise – this may take several hours – you do not get much of a rise.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Brush the top of the loaf with hot water and sprinkle with caraway seeds. You can make 1 or 2 cuts on the top of the loaf.

Whilst experimenting with this recipe  I found  that if you make the loaf too thick then it can burn on the outside and still be uncooked in the centre.

I found that a flatter loaf and the one in the rectangular tray came out consistently better.

Bake for 50 – 55 minutes – I swap the trays around after 20 -25 minutes.

 

 

Rye Bread Croutons

Croutons are called grzanki in Polish – the word is plural and means something that have been heated up.

Rye bread croutons are used as a soup accompaniment. (There will be future posts on this topic)

Ingredients

Several slices of rye bread

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (not virgin)

I used some of my own sour dough loaf.

 

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4  – 180°C

Cut the bread into small cubes

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.

Toss the bread cubes in the oil and fry gently for a few minutes.

 

Place the cubes onto a baking tray and put in the oven for around 5 – 10 minutes till golden.

Serving

Add several to each serving of soup.

Sprinke with salt flakes or ground salt and eat them as a nibble or little snack.

 

Chleb – Bread

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.

Rye

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).

Sour dough

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.

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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.

Whey

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.

Method

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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.

 

Day 3

In the morning

Ingredients

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

Method

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!