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 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.

 

Caraway Yeast Buns

Whilst doing some research on caraway,  I found that in 2011, Finland  produced over 25% of the worlds caraway.

So I thought why not a recipe from Finland!

This is a based on a recipe for pulla –  in Poland they would be called  bułeczki  – they are yeast buns and in Finland they are served with coffee.

These buns  are originally flavoured with crushed cardamon seeds – I have adapted this for caraway.

In Poland caraway is often added to rye bread but not usually added to wheat flour buns.

Ingredients

500g plain flour

50g butter

80g of granulated sugar

300ml tepid milk

1 teaspoon of dried yeast

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoonful of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon of salt

1 egg white, beaten, for glazing (does not burn as easily as whole egg).

Optional

Crushed sugar cubes.

Method

In a small dish start the yeast off with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until it is bubbling.

Rub the butter into the flour.

Add the salt, caraway seeds, sugar, yeast mixture, milk and egg.

Mix thouroughly with a wooden spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dough with clingfilm or a cloth and leave to rise.

I left mine over night in a cool cellar and then followed by a few hours in the morning in a warmer kitchen.

Grease 2 baking sheets.

Take the dough out of the bowl – a special dough scraper is very good for this.

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Divide the dough into 12 pieces  – a dough cutter is most useful for this  and shape each one into a ball using floured hands – do not over work the dough or add flour – keep the mix as soft as possible.

Place the balls on the sheets – leaving room for expansion.

Cover and leave to rise.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C

Brush the top of each bun with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the crushed sugar if desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden – brown.

 

Getting ready for morning coffee

 

 

Enamelled coffee pot by the Cathrineholm ironworks in Norway  –  Lotus – from the 1960s,

Coffee cups and saucers by Elizabethan  – Carnaby – from the 1970s

The buns are on a hand-decorated  cake stand made by Fairmont & Main who were established in Huddersfield in 1994.

The pattern is Carnival and this is a recent birthday present from one of my friends.

Note

As with all yeast buns these will go stale quickly – if I have any left – I cut them in half and pack into bags and freeze them.

On de-frosting I toast them and serve with butter.

Caraway Biscuits

Caraway is such a popular herb/spice in Poland and is used in breads, meat & vegetable dishes.  So it is quite surprising that it is not used  in cakes or biscuits there.

Drawing from Wikipeadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to try out some biscuits with caraway seeds.  I found that the biscuts were better if not too sweet.

These are the results – they are semi-sweet and are really delicious  with cheese.

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour

100g butter

50g caster sugar

1 egg – beaten

6 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Grated rind of a lemon

1 – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Grease 2 or 3 baking sheets.

Rub the fat into the flour until it is like fine breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar, caraway and lemon rind.

Mix in the egg and lemon juice to form a soft dough.

Roll out the dough on a floured board.

Cut out circle using a 7.5cm  diameter, fluted cutter.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes till lightly browned (take care not to burn them).

Leave them to cool on the tray and then move them off on to a cooling rack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served on Las Palmas by Aynsley, from the 1960s, with some soft Brie.

Variation

Use 75g of caster sugar instead of the 50g to make a slighly sweeter biscuit which is delicious just nibbled on its own with tea or coffee.

Caraway Seed Cake

Caraway is such a popular herb/spice in Poland and is used in breads, meat & vegetable dishes.  So it is quite surprising that it is not used  in cake.

Caraway – Image from Wikapedia

 

I have looked in all my recipe books and I have not found any use of caraway in Polish cake.

So I have gone to what by many is seen as an old-fashioned  quintessential British cake – Seed Cake – which is  Caraway Seed Cake.

This cake has been popular since the 17th century and especially  in Victorian times  and the 1920s and 1930s.

Caraway Seeds are thought to aid digestion – so this is a good cake to have at the end of a meal.

I have found several variations – this is one that has worked for me & I am sure it would be well received in Poland!

I have tried this out in 2 different shapes of tins.

Ingredients

110g butter

110g caster sugar

2 eggs – beaten

150g self-raising flour – sifted

25g ground almonds

3 tablespoons of milk

3 rounded teaspoons of caraway seeds

Several crushed sugar cubes or 1 level tablespoon of Demerara sugar for the round cake and 1/2 a tablespoon for the loaf.

 

Version 1

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Grease a 19cm round cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

Mix the flour, ground almonds and caraway together in a little bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until they are pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time.

Using a metal spoon fold in the flour mixture.

Add the milk to give a good dropping consistency.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level off the top.

Sprinkle the top with the sugar.

 

Bake for between 35 – 40 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

Version 2

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Line a “1lb” loaf tin with a tin liner or grease and line the tin with greasproof paper.

Make the mixture as in version 1.

Sprinkle the top with the 1/2 tablespoon of Demerara sugar.

Bake for between 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes.

Once cold, wrap in foil and keep in an air tight container.

 

 

Caraway & Dill & Parsley

When I think of Polish cooking three popular herbs which always spring to mind are caraway, dill and parsley.

They all  belong to the Apiaceae family which includes  carrot and celery. 

This family is also called  Umbelliferae (from the Latin – umbella  – for parasol or sunshade) – the flower heads consists of umbels  which have equal length flower stalks coming from a central point which forms a flattened head – rather like an umberella.

Carum carvi is caraway –  kminek – in Polish.

It  is native to  Europe,  North Africa & Western Asia.

Caraway – Drawing taken from Wikapedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway  fruits are often called seeds.

Caraway is thought to be an aid to digestion.

In 2011 Finland supplied over 25% of the world’s caraway.

 

 

 

Caraway is often added to rye bread, to dishes with sauerkraut and also many meat dishes,  especially pork, such as Sauerkraut & BaconPork & Prunes  and  Pork & Sauerkraut Gulasz.

Caraway  is often  added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese)

 

Anethum graveolens is dill – koperek  – in Polish.

Dill is grown for its leaves, which are fern like, and its seeds.

Dill leaves are  best when used fresh  (I never bother with dried dill).

 

 

 

 

 

Dill  leaves are used as a topping for many salads and for boiled new potatoes.

 

 

 


Dill leaves are added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese) and smetana (soured cream).

Dill leaves are used in sauces including ones served with fish.

 

 

Dill seeds are similar in flavour to caraway seeds.

Dill seeds are used in dill pickles –    – which are cucumbers preserved in brine – Ogórki – Gherkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name of the Polish astronomer  – Copernicus  in Polish is  Kopernik (so in Polish he is Mr Dill!)

Petroselinum crispum is flat leaf parsley – pietruszka –  in Polish

Flat Leaved Parsley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped flat leafed parsley  leaves are added as a garnish or topping for many salads and savoury dishes.

 

 

Petroselinum crispum tubersum

This is Parsley root or Hamburg parsley.

Flat leafed parsley is also grown for its white tap root which looks a lot like parsnip and is also used in  Polish cookery, often added to casseroles.

I have seen this for sale in Polish markets, you might find it in the larger Polish shops that have fresh produce.

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Parsley root grated with apple or pear and with added lemon juice is one suggestion for a fresh salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ribs with Sauerkraut

For this dish use the best pork you can buy – I used some locally reared Yorkshire pork.

Ingredients

1 -2  racks of pork ribs

900ml – large jar of sauerkraut

2 onions – thinly sliced – fried.

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 tablespoon of sugar (more or less depends on the sourness of the sauerkraut)

4-5 peppercorns

350ml- of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate) – extra might be needed for topping up.

Caraway Seeds

Method

Take the sauerkraut out of the jar and put into a saucepan with any liquid from the jar.

Cover the sauerkraut with water and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3- 160°C

You need a large oven proof dish with a lid  – I use an enameled dish.

Put the sauerkraut, and any liquid, and onions in the dish and mix well.

Add, caraway, garlic, sugar & peppercorns.

Pour most of the stock over the sauerkraut mixture.

Place the ribs on top of the sauerkraut and pour the rest of the stock over them.

 

 

 

 

Put the lid on the dish and place in the oven.

Check on the liquid level during the cooking time and add any extra needed so it does not dry out.

Move some of the sauerkraut  mixture over the ribs.

Cook for 3-4 hours.

This would usually be served with either rye bread or boiled potatoes.