Friday, March 16, 2012

A Northern Rye Bread from the Babes

The fragrance was irresistible! I know that you are supposed to let bread rest and cool before slicing it but this time we could barely wait for the bread to finish baking.

The braw Bread Baking Babes of March baked a lovely Swedish Rye bread as we gathered around the kitchen table of our hostess of the month, the lovely Astrid of Paulchen's Food Blog. Sweetie can attest that she chose a wonderful recipe for Swedish Rye Bread adapted from the Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown. Tassajara Bread Book. It is described in the Tassajara Bread Book as "sweet-smelling and scented, a light bread suitable for sandwiches." This one is a keeper.

The bread that came out of the oven was moist and light and thrilled the taste buds with the flavors of orange, rye and caraway. (I left out the anise seed since it is not a flavor I enjoy.) There was a wonderful crust and just the right amount of chewiness. At Astrid's recommendation I baked it in a bread pan. I've never been a huge fan of rye bread but this may be the rye bread that changes that. It's wonderful!

I used a dark rye flour and expected a strong rye flavor, but it was just right, a sort of medium rye flavor. We had those first slices topped with some butter. I look forward to enjoying the rest of the loaf with some cheese, as toast, and maybe with pastrami because it goes so well with rye.

I know you are going to want to be a Buddy this month and bake this great and easy rye bread. Instead of using a mixer we get to play with wooden spoons and our hands. To be a Bread Baking Buddy just go over to Astrid's post for the recipe (including great step by step photos), bake it, take at least one photo to share with her via e-mail and tell her about your experience baking this great rye bread. She even has a fill-in form on her blog to make it super easy.

Do check out the beautiful loaves baked by many of the Babes this month. The links are to the right.

Other than not adding the anise seed and only making half the recipe, I followed the recipe as written. That may be why it turned out so well! Since the recipe is over at Astrid's I won't post it here.

Last but not least in any way, I'm sending this to Susan at Wild Yeast for the weekly Yeastspotting event. A treasure trove of great bread recipes awaits you when you visit and there just might be some variations on the Swedish Rye Friday probably.

XO Elle

Swedish Rye Bread

adapted from Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast (2 packets)
1/3 cups honey
1 cup dry milk
grated peel of 2 oranges
2 teaspoons anise seeds
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
4 cups unbleached white flour

4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup oil
4 cups rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (for kneading)


1. Dissolve the yeast in water. Add the honey and dry milk plus the oranges and seeds

2. Add the flour to get a thick batter.

Add one cup of flour at a time, stirring good after each addition. The more flour you add the more you knead to go into a beating mode with your spoon. Best way is to stir up and down in a circular mode from the bottom of the bowl to the surface of the dough. Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time. After the 4 cups of flour you should have a thick mud-like dough.

3. Beat well with a spoon (100 strokes).

Continue to beat until you have a smooth dough. Again pull your spoon under the dough and bring it up to the surface again in a circular mode. The batter will be more elastic while you are doing this as more and more air gets incorporated.

4. Let rise for 45 minutes.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place.

5. Folding in the remaining ingredients. Do not stir! Do not cut through the dough, this will improve the elasticity and strength of the dough.

6. Sprinkle on the salt and pour on the oil. Stir around the side of the bowl working carefully your way towards the center. Rotate your bowl a little with every stroke you do. Repeat until all of the salt and oil is incorporated.

7. Sprinkle the flour 1/2 a cup at a time onto the dough. Again fold it in while rotating your bowl.

8. Continue until the dough comes away from the sides of your bowl. Now the dough is ready to give it a good knead!

9. Plop your dough on your kneading board and scrap all remainings from the bowl onto the dough. Keep in mind that your surface should be floured enough to prevent the dough from sticking to much on the board.

10. Flour your hands and the top of the dough. From the middle of your down stretch it away from you and then fold it back onto the remaining part of the dough. Continue to push down and forward.

11. Turn the dough a quarter turn. Again continue with the pushing and folding.

12. Turn, fold, push. Rock forward. Twist and fold as you rock back. Be careful not to stretch the dough too much and tear it. Add flour to the boards as needed.

13. While you continue with the kneading the dough will become more and more elastic, smooth and shiny.

14. When you are finished, place the dough in your lightly oiled bowl smooth side down, then turn it over so the dough ball is covered lightly with oil. This will prevent the dough from forming a crust on the top while rising.

15. Cover the bowl with a damp towel again and set aside to rise in a warm place. (50.60 minutes until doubled in size)

16. Punch down your dough with your fists steadily and firmly about 15-20 times.

17. Let rise again 40-50 minutes until doubled in size again.

18. Preheat your oven at 350°F.

19. Turn your dough onto the board again.

20. Form the dough into a ball. Cut the dough into two even pieces and form smaller balls again. Let rest for 5 minutes.

21. Knead the dough and fold it about 5 times, this gives the dough added spring. After the final push turn the dough a quarter turn.

22. Roll up the dough into a log shape. Seam at the bottom, flatten the top of the dough. Square the sides and ends. Turn the dough over and pinch the seams all the way.

23. Put the dough seam side down into your pan. Press it down into the pan with your fingers.

24. Cover and let rise again. This will take 20-25 minutes.

25. Cut the top with 1/2 inch deep slits to allow the steam to escape.

26. You and brush with eggwash and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame if you want!

27. Bake for about 50-60 minutes.

28. Remove from pan to cool down completely.


  1. Lovely! I love how every loaf looks a little different. We loved the flavours too - definitely a keeper!

  2. It is delicious, isn't it? And yes, the fragrance was irresistible! (Or almost. Luckily, I baked ours while we were having dinner so that by the time it was beckoning to us with its irresistible orangeness, we were completely satiated.)

  3. Saturday morning and I'm feeling hungry. That loaf looks just wonderful and I wish I could have some now!

  4. Lovely it's the Rye Bread Game Changer for you! I really do think this is an exceptional rye bread.
    It's so amazing how different our loaves come out looking.

  5. Your loaf looks just like mine! And yes the fragrance of those oranges... lovely!!

  6. Rye and anise together.... has to be wonderful!

  7. Rye and anise together.... Wonderful!

  8. Natashya it is fun how the different loaves look different.

    Elizabeth we ate ours at 10 pm...thats when the bread was done an a little bit cooled...couldn't wait any longer.

    Dharm, wish I could send you a piece!

    Tanna it IS a game changer. Now I'm looking for other rye breads to bake.

    Lien our loaves do look much like each other...haha! do we win a prize?

    Katiez, it is wonderful bread.

  9. Game changer *chuckle* Love your Elle,no mine wasn't too rye-ish either but good!

  10. How many loaves does this make? And what size loaf pan Do you use?

  11. This must make a huge loaf! What size pan do you use? Or are you making 2 loaves?

  12. zip, I made two loaves - towards the bottom of the recipe it tells you to divide in half, so each half makes a loaf. I used a standard bread pan...I think it's 9 x 5-inches. It's great bread.