It takes five or six days to develop a sourdough starter. The
natural wild yeasts in the wholemeal rye flour develop best at
around 30C. Thatís not the easiest temperature to maintain, but
donít worry because the yeast will ferment at lower temperatures,
it just takes longer. Itís not critically
important to keep the sourdough at the same temperature all the
The natural yeasts in the flour will grow given time but you can
start a sourdough with fresh bakerís yeast if you like. The acids
that develop in the sourdough will eventually kill the bakerís
yeast leaving the more acid robust wild yeasts to do their job. If
you use bakerís yeast itís referred to as spiking the dough. In
the UK bakerís yeast is usually available from the in-house bakers
of supermarkets. Just ask for a small amount of fresh yeast. In
other countries like Norway itís available on the chilled shelves
near the dairy products.
Prepare a sourdough starter.
On day 1 take
50g of warm, not hot, water and
25g of wholemeal rye flour.
Mix the water and flour and put the mixture in a container, a
large jam jar, with lid, is ideal. DON'T keep the mixture in an air-tight
container and ideally not in a plastic container. On days 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
50g of warm water and
25g of wholemeal rye flour to the previous dayís sourdough.
Stir the ingredients in to the starter, mixing in any water that
might have separated during fermentation.
After a while you wonít need to weigh the amounts. Itís not
critical. What matters is gradually adding fresh flour containing
fresh wild yeasts, carbohydrates and enzymes to feed the starter
and develop the acids that give the bread its distinctive taste.
By day 7 you should have about 450g of sloppy, foaming starter
that tastes slightly acidic and smells fruity. Natural wild
yeasts, which survive the acids, are much slower acting than the
more concentrated bakerís yeasts; as such the bread dough, once
youíve made it, takes longer to rise.
After you have baked your rye loaf add a further 50g of warm water with 25g of wholemeal rye
flour to the remaining starter and follow the day to day additions
for the next loaf of bread.
Making Rye Bread with Seeds
The trick to good rye bread is a soft moist dough. This dough is
entirely different to the non-sticky kneaded dough of other
breads. You do not knead sourdough. The texture of the dough you
are looking for is something thatís about the consistency of
mashed potato. The dough will take 2-6 hours to rise and will rise
by about 40-60%.
480g flour (50% rye, 25% wholemeal stoneground wheat, 25% strong
320g sourdough starter (leaving about 130g of starter for the next
and a few teaspoons of dried
280g warm water
Food value: Follow links to details about the
individual ingredients. Rye is rich in pentosans which have a
cholesterol lowering effect.
Most of the minerals
and vitamins in grains are in the outer layers. These are
retained in the flour when the grain is stone ground.
Since 1870 steel roller milling has removed the outer
layers of the grain to increase the shelf life of the
flour. This method of milling is good for the
manufacturer, distributor and retailer but itís not good
for you the consumer stripping the flour of its essential
minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
Mix all the ingredients and then spoon in to a buttered bread tin
about 21 x 11 x 6 cm in size, pressing it down in to the tin. This
weight of dough will almost fill the tin leaving enough space for
the dough to rise about 3cm above the rim of the tin.
Leave the dough to rise. In the sunlight on a warm spring day this
will take about 2-4 hours but you can just as well leave it to
rise overnight indoors. Slow rising is good, forming a structure
in the bread that cuts well and is strong enough to be sliced
thinly when cool.
Cook the bread at 200C for 15 minutes and turn down the heat to
160C for 10 more minutes turning the oven off and leaving the
bread to cook in the remaining heat for another 5 minutes. Remove
the bread from the tin. The bread will feel damp so allow air to
circulate around it while it cools. This bread keeps beautifully
for at least a week.