Rye and Birdseed Bread

May 16, 2014 by

Cynthia over at *Solitary Cook first posted this recipe calling it Gold Nugget bread. I tasted it when I was down in *Oldfarm and was really impressed. It was nutty and delicious and so so light. Margaret uses Spelt flour. So of course I just had to have a go and waited (impatiently) for her to convert the American measurements. I just can’t handle cups, sticks etc. I finally got the converted recipe and decided to have a go in the middle of watching the semi-final of the Six Nations. So basically in between terrorising the dogs screaming at Bod and the boys, I was running in and out trying to make the bread. Of course it was a bit of a flop (unlike the match thankfully.)

I tried it again a few times and to be honest I couldn’t get it right at all. The spelt just didn’t seem to rise well. Finally I decided to have one last go using wheat flour with added rye flour and a sourdough starter. And hey voila!

Rye and Birdseed Bread Recipe

150g of an active sourdough starter (my starter is quite liquid – 50:50 flour to water)
100g rye flour
150g water

Mix the above together and put in a bowl covered with cling film. Leave overnight or at least all day. If it looks like it’s drying out pour a small amount of water over surface and swirl it to cover the surface. You need to prevent a crust forming.

Active sponge next morning

Next day when it’s all bubbly and foaming pour it into your mixing bowl. This is your sponge. Add

300g strong bread flour
10g salt
2 tablespoons of milled linseed also called flaxseed
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoons brown linseed/flaxseed

100ml water (put in a jug and add slowly)

Add all the dry ingredients above to your sponge. Turn on your mixer and set to lowest speed. Begin to mix and slowly add about half the water. Leave to mix for 15 minutes. Then turn off mixer and leave dough to stand for another 15-20 minutes.  Start mixer again and add the remainder of the water slowly. Turn the mixer on to a medium speed for 10 minutes. If it is jumping about stand beside it and hold it. Do not worry about the dough being wet. Sourdough needs a wet dough. Add more water if necessary.

Test dough by pulling a piece out and stretch it. It should pull thin and not tear. If it tears continue to mix on a low speed for another 5 minutes and a high speed for 2 minutes.

Remove and transfer to a bowl sprinkled with flour in base. Rub surface of the dough with some sunflower oil and cover with cling film. Leave for 5-6 hours or in winter I leave over night to prove. The longer it proves the more the natural yeasts and the lactic acid begins to break down the wheat proteins to make the bread more digestible and to give the lovely sour flavours.

 Dough left to prove

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and gently gather it and fold it into the shape you want to bake it in. Place it on a baking sheet or a tin and rub water over the surface to prevent a crust forming. Sprinkle with some flax and millet and leave to prove for another 3-4 hours.

After 3 hours

Turned out after 5 hours for reshaping
Second proving

I have a steam function in my oven. I put it in the oven with steam at 40C for 15 minutes then turn the oven up to 220C with steam for about 25 minutes, turn the steam off and lower the oven to 200C for another 15-20 minutes or until the base sounds hollow when tapped gently. Sometimes I remove the bread from the tin and turn it upside down directly onto oven shelf for the last few minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

The rye gives this bread a dense texture but this works really well with the sour, nutty and earthy flavours. If you prefer a lighter bread replace the rye with all wheat flour.

*Check out both Cynthia and Margaret’s blogs by clicking on the links above. They are fabulous.

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