After the Dwarf Bread Debacle I did some research. Bloodied (that Dwarf Bread was tough) but unbowed I tried again, this time using strong white bread flour for the sponge and rye flour for the rest. I also used a slightly different technique. So:
500g Strong White Flour
600ml warm water
One ladle of sourdough starter
600g Rye Flour
- Combine the sponge ingredients, cover with clean plastic and leave to ferment over night.
- Next morning, add 600g flour and 25g salt to the sponge, mix to a soft dough, and knead until soft and pliable (about 10 minutes)
- Form dough into a round, moisten with olive oil, cover in plastic and leave for an hour.
- Gently flatten dough out and re-shape into a ball, cover, leave for an hour again. Repeat twice more.
- After 4 hours of rising and deflating the dough should be more elastic and bouncy. Now divide into three, shape into loaves, and cover in plastic to rise for 2-3 hours, until almost doubled in size. Rye bread probably won’t rise as much. I just left mine for 4 hours and gave up!
- Slash the tops of the loaves, spray with water and put into an oven pre-heated to its highest temperature, on a pre-heated baking tray, with a tray of boiling water beneath. Cook for 10 minutes and turn the oven down to 180C (170C if tops already looking very brown) and cook for about another 20 minutes, until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
I first tried this the week before Christmas, but didn’t manage to take any photos because the visitors we had devoured the lot. I took that as a vote of confidence and baked another batch. Sadly the rest of the household don’t really share my love of it, so it will be an occasional part of the bread repetoire- and always when said visitors are due!
Personally I think it is glorious with cheese and pickle, patè, or toasted with marmite. Now I’m off to the allotment to do more digging…