Polish Rye Bread

I have been wanting to make some bread with rye flour, and in time I will make one with just rye as the flour.  But rye flour doesn’t contain much gluten so it makes a very dense bread, such as Pumpernickel.  That is a lovely bread, but not what I needed at the moment.  So I decided to follow a recipe on Titli Nihaan’s The Bread Kitchen.  That recipe is for a Polish Rye Bread and contains 50% rye flour and 50% strong white bread flour.  The white flour would provide the much needed(no pun intended) gluten.  The loaf will still be quite heavy and dense, but very good for sandwiches.  

The recipe includes caraway seeds and that flavour is often used in certain breads in Eastern Europe. Certainly in the Czech Republic they use it, as I can attest.  But for those who don’t like caraway seeds, or cannot find them in the stores, it is ok to leave them out.

The recipe is actually very simple to make, but it does take some time, and quite a lot of effort if kneading by hand.  I did my kneading by hand, as I was not sure how effect the stand mixer would be with the rye flour.  The kneading for ten minutes was a nice little work-out, in fact my Fitbit showed that I took 600 steps during the 10 minutes kneading. But kneading is just the start, then the dough has to prove until it doubles in size, which takes 2 to 3 hours before it is ready to briefly knead again and to shape for a final proof before baking. As an aside, when checking the dough as it was proving I could actually hear the yeast working, making little clicking sounds.  I have never noticed that with any other bread that I have made.

My loaf turned out very well indeed.  The structure of the loaf is just as I expected and it sliced very well.  The taste was simply wonderful, as the caraway seeds released their flavour as the loaf baked.
I can heartily recommend this loaf for those who want to try something different to their usual loaf.

Polish Rye Bread

    Polish Rye Bread – Video
Ingredients:

  • 225g (1 3/4 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 225g(2 1/4 cups) rye flour
  • 7g(2 tsp – 1 packet) active dried yeast
  • 140ml(1/4 cup + 1/3 cup) lukewarm water
  • 140ml(1/4 cup + 1/3 cup) lukewarm milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds(authentic but optional)

Method:

  1. Place the honey in the lukewarm water and mix to dissolve.
  2. Add the yeast and stir in, then leave for 10 minutes for it to activate.  The mixture will become frothy.
  3. When the yeast is activated place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Pour in the yeast mixture and the lukewarm milk.
  5. Mix everything together(I used a knife to start the mixing process).
  6. When the mixture is coming together use your hands to keep working the mixture into a very stiff dough.
  7. When the dough has formed, with maybe a little dry ingredients still not absorbed, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. It will be quite hard work, I found using two hands to knead was most effective.
  8. When the dough is well worked and not tacky to the touch it will be very slightly springy to the touch.
  9. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, coating the entire surface of the dough with the oil, and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Allow the dough to prove until it has doubled in size.  This will take 2-3 hours probably.
  11. When the dough has proved tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out.
  12. Knead for a further two minutes and then form into an oval shape(or whatever shape you want)
  13. Place on a baking tray and cover with a damp towel or loosely with some oiled plastic wrap, and allow to prove again until doubled in size.
  14. Preheat the oven to 220C/190C Fan/430F
  15. When the dough has doubled in size score two lines along the length of the loaf, then dust lightly with a little flour if you wish.
  16. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the underside sounds hollow when tapped.
  17. Allow the loaf to cool completely, on a wire rack, before slicing.

 

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