banner image

Buttermilk Bread

This is a recipe adapted from a book I bought at the Detmold open-air museum in Germany. It's a wonderful place with a windmill, working watermill, stunning old grain stores and a reconstruction of a nineteenth century bakery (see photo!)


100g organic chopped rye

400g Light Rye flour

500g Canadian strong white bread flour

750ml buttermilk

10g dried active yeast

20g salt

handfull of pinhead oats or sunflower seeds

spoonful of milk


Mix the chopped rye and the rye flour in a bowl with 500ml of buttermilk and soak overnight.

In the morning put the remaining 250ml of buttermilk in a milk pan with the yeast and gently heat. You don't want to kill the yeast! Whisk constantly so that the yeast is fully combined with the buttermilk.

After several minutes, and once the buttermilk is just above room temperature, put the pan on the side with a lid on and let the yeast activate for 5 minutes.

In the meantime add the white flour and salt to the bowl. Then add the warmed buttermilk and yeast. Mix thoroughly.

Now here's the tricky bit: buttermilk and rye make for a sticky dough. Knead for ten minutes using short rapid movements to avoid too much sticking on your hands. Shape into a ball and leave to rise for a couple of hours. You may find it hasn't risen too much but don't worry!

Now form into two loaves. I like to coat mine with pinheaad oats. Put a spoonful of milk into a shallow bowl and roll a formed loaf in it. Then roll the loaf in a bowl with the pinhead oats.

Now place the loaf in a proving basket, wrap it in a polythene bag and leave for a couple of hours.

Heat your oven to 250C with a heavy baking tray in it. Unwrap your loaves, gently slash the tops and transfer onto the pre-heated baking tray.

Bake at 250C for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 170C and continue baking for a further 35 minutes.

I've found that the 'oven bounce' for this bread is considerable and so even if it didn't rise much out of the oven it will make up for it once it's in the oven! Remove from oven and leave to cool for at least an hour.

The chopped rye gives this loaf great texture and the mixture of flours adds to the flavour. It tastes great toasted or used for sandwiches and is much more nutritious than a regular white loaf. Guten apetit!