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rye and dark swiss flour loaf


  • 500 grammes rye flour
  • 1kg Swiss dark flour
  • 20-30g fresh yeast, or equivalent quantity of dried yeast, reconstituted.
  • Water at 38 degrees C
  • teaspoon sugar or honey
  • heaped teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

Mix the yeast in with 300g of the rye flour and 400ml hand-hot water (38C) and the sugar or honey to form a porridge-like batter, this is the sponge. Leave to rise for at least half an hour at room temperature (18 -22 degrees C, or warmer, if it\'s a hot day!) If you only have a cold room, just leave the sponge till it is bubbly and \'busy\', ie, the bubbles should be plopping a bit at the surface. You can do this overnight, even, in a cool room, to get on quicker the next morning.

When the sponge is ready, add the remaining 200 g of rye flour and all the swiss dark flour to it, also oil, salt and enough water to make a soft dough. I usually reckon about 600 ml but the amount varies, even the weather can make a difference! It shouldn\'t be sloppy but shouldn\'t be stiff either. Knead with hands or dough hooks - hands are best, if you\'re strong enough - till the dough is easy to manage and the gluten has begun to work, I\'m struggling to describe this. It won\'t exactly peel away from your hands because the rye flour will make it stickier than just a wheat-flour batter, but it won\'t be all claggy the way it starts off. See someone\'s bread book for a description of what it\'s like. Then leave to rise - minimum an hour or till the dough has doubled in size, but if you can leave it for several hours, so much the better. You can even leave it in the fridge overnight, or in a cold room, though you\'ll have to give it time to warm up in the morning. But that gives a delicious loaf.

Wet your hands, scoop the dough out and put it in loaf tins (only half fill them) or else make a round loaf on a baking tray. You will need flour to work this into the round shape. Or oil an earthenware casserole and use that, this gives very good results. I make three moderate size loaves, usually, but the loaf size is up to you. Rise for an hour or till doubled in size - sometimes it takes longer.

Put loaves in the oven - if you have a dough proving setting that is good, as you can do this last stage in there and avoid disturbing them when they are risen. However, it does use equivalent energy to having a light on for an hour, whereas you can use room temperature and avoid the small increment in carbon. Up to you.

Turn oven temperature to 200C (fan assisted) or equivalent in your oven. DO NOT PUT LOAVES STRAIGHT INTO A HOT OVEN. Let it warm up with them inside. Bake till the loaves are golden brown and feel hollow when tapped (how long depends on your oven, and the size of the loaves. Rolls only take about ten minutes from when the oven has got to 200C)

Eat and enjoy.