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Basic Rye Bread

350 g (12oz) organic Dark Rye Flour
500 g (1 lb) organic Wholemeal Flour with good rising properties.
1 or 2 teaspoons fine Sea Salt, as preferred
25 g Fresh Yeast or 1 heaped teaspoon dried yeast
450-600 ml (3/4 -1 pint) warm water
2 tablespoons dark Muscovado Sugar, or Black Treacle, as preferred.
2 tablespoons organic cold-pressed Sunflower Oil
a little milk or a beaten free-range Egg for brushing
1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds

Makes 2 loaves.
Mix both the flours together in a bowl, stir in the salt.
Add the oil to the flour and work it in well.
Activate the yeast with the Muscovado sugar dissolved in the warm water.
Wait a few minutes until the yeast froths, then add to the flour mixture.
If using the Black Treacle option, add it at this stage.
Knead the mixture into a dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until elastic.
Place the dough back in the bowl, then place in a warm oven, at about 35-40°C.
Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
Take the dough out again and knead a second time.
Shape the dough into 2 loaves.
Place the loaves in an oiled loaf tin, or on a silicon baking sheet.
Prick with a fork, or slash with a knife, to decorate the surface.
Place back in the warm place again to rise for 1 to 1½ hours.
Brush with the beaten egg, or milk, to make it sticky on top.
Sprinkle the Caraway seeds onto the sticky top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 190°C for a further 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Notes: Adjust the temperature down a little if using a fan-assisted oven.
Bake 5 to 10 minutes longer if the loaves are still wet in the centre when taken out.
The ratio of Rye to Wholemeal Flour can be varied according to preference.
More Rye Flour results in a damper and less strongly risen loaf, with intense Rye flavour.
Less Rye Flour results in a drier and more strongly risen loaf, with a touch of Rye flavour.
If you don’t have Caraway Seeds, use any other type of seed, eg Sunflower seeds.
If you don’t have Sunflower Oil, any type of Oil will be OK. Experiment.