Light Rye Bread

Here’s another adaptable bread. As you bake more you’ll soon learn that once you have the basic technique down, it’s simple to swap out ingredients. I love using buttermilk in baking, especially in bread, because it makes silky doughs that rise beautifully and it lends a subtle taste to the finished product. There’s always buttermilk in our fridge and because of its acidity it keeps for weeks. I use it in a variety of quick breads, biscuits, yeast breads, pancakes and muffins. But if it’s not something on your radar substitute milk, soy milk, whey, or water.

The flour mix here is roughly 2/3 bread flour, 1/3 whole grain rye. You can play with that a little too, up to about 1/2 and 1/2.  It gets a little trickier beyond that since rye doesn’t have gluten like bread flour does, so it can be difficult to make it raise. You’ll notice that the dough is stickier too. That’s the rye flour. Resist the urge to add more flour because of stickiness. Too much flour always makes dry bread that won’t rise.

We like caraway seeds in our rye but leave them out if they’re not to your liking, or substitute about 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. I used dark buckwheat honey this time — this is a good recipe to try out unusual honey.

— Joan, 2 December 2016

 

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Light Rye Bread

  • Servings: Makes two loaves, about 1½ lbs. each
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  • ¾ cup (170 grams) very warm water
  • 1½ cups (360 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (46 grams) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted butter
  • 1¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups (560 grams) bread flour
  • 1½ cups (210 grams) whole grain rye flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons whole caraway seeds

Melt the butter and add the honey and buttermilk to it. Pour in the water.  The temperature of the mixture should feel slightly warm. Microwave for a few seconds if it’s not. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the mixer. Mix on slow speed till all the flour is incorporated, then turn speed to medium-high for about 5 minutes. Move the dough to a greased bowl and cover. After 20-30 minutes fold the dough in quarters and let rise for another 20-30 minutes before folding again. Set aside in a warm spot till dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

When dough has doubled, divide it into 2 pieces and shape as desired. Let rise again till almost doubled. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes, till golden brown. Cool completely before slicing or freezing.

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