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.

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!