This Finnish Rye Bread Ruisleipä has been on my baking list for a while. And what better time to post than now, Real Bread Week, the international celebration of additive free loaves. As I write this blog, bread heads, near and far are posting their favourite bakes to encourage people to buy real bread from their local independent bakeries; bake their own real bread and support the charity behind the Real Bread Campaign.
This loaf is made from 100% dark rye flour, the perfect loaf to adopt the ‘scalded flour’ technique. This method is familiar to me because it is used in a number of Swedish loaves. There are plenty of good reasons to use this method when baking rye bread. Let me explain….
As a physical process, scalding is nothing more than mixing the flour with near-boiling water and letting it stand for a period of time, at room temperature. During that time a series of physical and chemical changes happen, which influences the flavour profile and texture of the baked loaf for the better. Amylase enzymes, naturally present in the dough peak at high heat, so scalding wholegrain rye flour, (abundant in natural amylase) kills off any naturally present bacteria and yeast. Thus creating a sweeter bread. As the dough cools the amylases are free to convert the starches to simple sugars.
That’s the science explained, now the simple method….
This involves a little of your time, over two days. Beginning in the evening on day one, simply make a loose leaven (125% hydration). Then follow with the mixing of the dough, this takes no longer than 20 minutes, cover and leave at room temperature, until the morning.
First thing the next day, incorporate the leaven into the dough, with the salt and caraway. This takes a little effort. Squidge, push and twist the leaven into the dough until it’s smooth, with no lumps, however don’t panic, it is a sticky mess. Time to rest for an hour, covered with a cloth.
Shaping the dough couldn’t be more simple, sprinkle the work surface with rye flour, roll and shape into a round, making sure that one side is smooth, this will be the side that goes, face down into the banneton basket, lined with a muslin cloth, dusted with rye flour. Sift more flour on the surface of the dough. Now leave to prove for 90-120 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Cracks will appear on the surface of the dough when it’s ready to bake.
You can find a step-by-step video on how to makes this on my IGTV channel, click here
This sourdough should be baked at a high temperature, for just under an hour. The idea is to have a deeply caramelised crust. Now for the bad news, this loaf shouldn’t be sliced for 24 hours, the crumb needs to set properly before devouring.
The perfect loaf with gravlax, however cheese comes a close second. Enjoy!
You can find out how to make a starter here.
*14th December 2021 – I have updated this recipe and reduced the water in the loose leaven for a better loaf.
Finnish Sourdough Rye (Ruisleipä)
- 120 g dark rye starter 100% hydration
- 180 g dark rye flour
- 225 g water
- 360 g dark rye flour
- 275 g water at 85°C
- Loose leaven as above
- Autolysed dough as above
- 12 g fine sea salt
- 2 tsp caraway seeds or aniseed
- Begin the first stage just before you go to bed. Mix the rye starter with the dark rye flour and water to make the loose leaven. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
- Next place the flour for the dough in a large bowl. Boil the kettle and pour the required amount in a jug, with a thermometer, check the temperature, you’re aiming for 85°C. Now pour the water over the flour. Stir immediately with a spoon until you have a lumpy looking mixture. Remove the spoon, then bring together with your hand. If you find the dough too hot to handle, you can mix the dough in a free standing mixer. Once the dough is formed, cover and leave at room temperature overnight with the loose leaven.
- First thing the following morning: begin with adding a couple of tablespoons of the leaven to the dough, squeezing, pushing your hand in and twisting. Once that is incorporated add more leaven, repeating the technique mentioned previously. Next add the salt and caraway, sprinkling evenly across the dough and again repeating the technique to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining leaven. You should have a fairly soft, sticky dough. Cover and leave to rest for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has rested, have ready a round banneton basket ready, lined with a muslin cloth heavily dusted with rye flour. Dust the work surface with rye flour, then turn the dough out. Roll and shape into a round, ensuring the under side is smooth. Place the smooth side down in the banneton. Press down, then dust with rye flour. No need to cover.
- Oven 235°C fan.
- Prove for 90-120 minutes (depending on the temperature in your kitchen) or until cracks appear on the surface of the dough.
- Pre-heat the oven for at least half an hour before baking the bread. If you have a cloche or casserole pot, put it in as you turn the oven on.
- When you’re ready to bake, turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Dust with a little more rye flour. No scoring is required, the beauty of this bread is the natural cracks. place in the hot cloche or pot and bake for 35 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake for a further 12-15 minutes. The crust should be really dark. Cool on a wire rack. The bad news is the bread shouldn’t be sliced for 24 hours, the crumb needs to set……sorry!
- You don’t need to own a banneton basket to prove this dough. Just use a colander lined with a thin tea towel instead.