This artisanal-style sourdough rye bread has a dense, chewy crumb that's touched by the lightest swirl of molasses and a sprinkling of caraway seeds. It's made from both light and dark rye flours. Toast it and slather it with butter or chicken liver pâté.
What is it?
Sourdough rye bread is a traditional, artisan-style bread made from a blend of light and dark rye flours and sourdough starter. Rye flour contains a weaker gluten matrix than wheat flour (gluten is the protein that gives bread structure as they rise). For this reason, it tends to produce a denser bread than wheat and performs poorly with bakers yeast.
While traditional bakers yeast doesn't work well for rye flours, sourdough starter does. That's because sourdough starter contains both yeast and lactobacillus bacteria. The lactobacillus bacteria increase the acidity of the dough as the bread rises, which strengthens the starches and produces better bread.
You'll find rustic, artisan-style sourdough rye bread in European baking traditions throughout northern, central, and eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Ukraine, and Russia. This style of bread formed a staple of traditional medieval European cookery.
What's in it?
At its simplest, sourdough rye includes a sourdough starter, rye flour, and salt. To this basic blend, you can mix in caraway seeds and other spices as well as sweeteners such as honey or molasses. Molasses gives the bread a darker color, depending on the amount you use.
- Light rye flour is made from the endosperm (or white part) of the rye berry, without any of the bran or germ. It has a light flavor and texture, and makes the bread softer and less dense.
- Dark rye flour gives the bread flavor, as well as a boost of nutrition since it includes the bran and the germ. These parts of the rye berry contain fiber and various micronutrients.
- Sourdough starter helps leaven the bread. This bread uses 100% hydration starter, which means that it has been fed with equal amounts of flour and water. You can use a rye flour or wheat flour starter to make this bread.
- Minimally processed salt gives the bread flavor and helps to strengthen the dough.
- Molasses sweetens the loaf and gives the crumb a darker color.