Sourdough Rye Bread with Raisins


Sourdough Rye Bread with Raisins

This bread has a delightful sweet-sour taste, nice consistency, and is excellent with butter and cheese, coconut oil (to replace the butter), or some nut butter (for example peanut, almond, or cashew butter.) If you want to have it with salty food or topping, then there is no problem to omit the sugar and the raisins.

I have been making bread since I was about 12 years old. My family used to love buying artisan bread from the best bakeries in Reykjavik but they were expensive, and we also had many generations of a tradition of making our bread at home. I started with making all the recipes in one Icelandic bread book, then I got another Swedish book with over one hundred recipes and after that started making my own recipes every time I bake. It is hard to learn baking from me and also difficult for me to share the recipes because I usually never make the same bread twice. But recently I got an excellent bread machine, and I need to have things a bit exact so that the dough doesn’t flow out of the form! So now I measure things.

The most important with making bread is patience and giving some love and good feeling into the process. Enjoy it and vary the recipe according to your taste, the occasion, or the people that you are making it for.

When I make bread in the oven, I normally make a large quantity, at the minimum four loaves but the bread machine makes it possible to make bread every day. And learn by the mistakes and never give up until you get nice bread!

There are different methods to make the bread rise. My favorite is sourdough, and I have now been maintaining my sourdough since June 2018. Using sourdough is quite a commitment as you need to feed it at the minimum once a day and if it is warm in the house, then it is better to feed it morning and evening. Otherwise, it becomes very sour and less effective (like us!) I use a quart glass jar and have a small hole on the lid so that it doesn’t explode! My first mason jar exploded due to the expansion of gas in the sourdough, and it was a lot of mess to clean it up.

Here is a link to the website where I got my sourdough starter. That website also has a nice bread book for download if you sign up your email.

It is also possible to start a sourdough by mixing water and rye flour and feeding it every day for about ten days. The feeding process goes in proportions of 1 to 4. It means that you mix 1 spoon flour and water the first day, then 4 spoons, then 16 spoons. Obviously, you will have to bake bread regularly or throw some of the sourdough every three or four days. I don’t have a good experience in putting it in the refrigerator. It will take a few days for it to revive again after the cold. But it can be used when you are traveling or unable to continue the process.

It is possible to use only sourdough, but if you use a bread machine, then it may give better results to add a small quantity of dry yeast to speed up the rising process. I use yeast if I am using the standard program on the bread machine that takes about 4 hours, but if I make the bread in the night using the timer, then I will mix with hand the sourdough with the flour and water and then put on 8 hours process and then it will be nicely fermented and warm for breakfast.

The sourdough will be stronger and the bread will taste better if you feed it 4 hours before starting to make the bread. The consistency of the sourdough is like a pancake batter – thick liquid but not solid and not running.

I always prefer to use good quality organic sugar, preferably fair trade. There is a huge difference in the quality of sugar, and as it is not good for health to eat too much of it, it makes sense to buy a smaller quantity of high-quality sugar.

Here comes the recipe of this month (hope to continue this.)

Sourdough Rye Bread with Raisins

1.3 cup (3 deciliters) sourdough fed with rye flour and water
1.7 cup (4 deciliters) water
1.3 cup (3 dl) whole wheat
1.3 cup (3 dl) wheat
0.45 cup (1 dl) sesame seeds
0.45 cup (1 dl) flax seeds
0.45 cup (1 dl) wheat bran
two handfuls raisins (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast

Instructions for making in a bread machine:

Mix all the ingredients in the bread machine. Avoid the yeast to come in contact with the salt. Wait until the bread machine starts mixing. When you make bread with rye flour, it has to be a bit moister. This dough should mix nicely into a round loaf in the machine, it should not be dry, and it should be soft and a little sticky. If the bread dough turns out too dry, add water little by little until you get the right consistency. If the dough is too liquid, add flour little by little until it is a good consistency. The machine will take care of the rest.

Instructions for making bread in the oven

This recipe is for one large loaf. You can make it double and shape it into four loaves or according to the bread forms or plates that you have available in your kitchen.

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with a large wooden spoon. Leave aside one cup of the whole wheat and make the dough first a bit liquid and then add flour until you get the right consistency. The recipe is for guiding you, but the measurements may vary.
2. Let the dough rise for 1 – 2 hours until it has risen about double.
3. Mix the dough again in the bowl and then put it on the table. Before that, put some flour on the table so the dough will not stick to the table. Now, kneed the dough for about five to ten minutes. If you have doubled the recipe, then cut the dough into two parts or four parts according to your preference and put in the already oiled bread pans or on the bread plate.
4. Let the bread rise again until it has almost reached full size.
5. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius.)
6. Place the bread pans or forms into the oven.
7. If you have made one big loaf or with double recipe two big loaves, bake the bread for about 45 – 60 minutes. If you have made smaller loaves, bake for about 30 – 40 minutes. You can take the bread out when you think it is ready. If it has a good crust that makes a hollow sound, then it is ready.

Here is another link to some guidelines for working with sourdough:

Hope you enjoy making your own sourdough bread!

Dada Diiptimanananda
December 22, 2018