Wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf

Wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Makes
one loaf
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

Our Wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf differs from others in that it uses buttermilk instead of water. Adding a hint of molasses means the rich, deep, sweet flavour of the rye comes through strongly, with the buttermilk rounding it out nicely. It’s an excellent base for our cured salmon dish.

Rye contains less gluten than wheat, so we have to use more starter to achieve a nice active dough. You can play around with adding seeds such as linseed and sunflower seeds – both lend themselves nicely to this loaf.

Starter build

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g Starter, with rye
100g wholegrain rye flour
100g water

Method

  1. Around 4–6 hours before you plan to mix your dough, combine the starter, flour and water for the starter build, mixing well to combine. You will use 200 g (7 oz) of this for the dough; retain the rest for maintaining your starter.

Dough

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
10g molasses
300g buttermilk
200g Starter, with rye
360g wholegrain rye flour
10g salt
rye flour, for dusting

Method

  1. Start mixing the dough when the starter is ripe and bubbly. Put the molasses and the buttermilk into a bowl, and stir to combine and leave at room temperature until you’re ready to mix your dough.
  2. Mix together the flour and salt in a separate, large bowl. Add the starter and the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and scrunch the dough with your hands until there is no dry flour visible. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for at least 1 hour. Mix the dough with your hands for 2–3 minutes to knock it back and thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. The dough should be tacky and slightly sticky; if it feels dry, add a little buttermilk and continue mixing until you have sticky dough. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for 4–5 hours.
  3. When the dough has risen a little and contains visible bubbles, press it gently to test if it’s ready to shape. If the imprint of your finger stays in the dough when gently pressed, it is ready. The dough should feel light and airy, not dense and thick – if it does feel dense, it requires more time.
  4. Lightly grease an 18 × 11 cm (7 × 4¼ in), 10 cm (4 in) high tin so it is ready for baking. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench, and gently flatten it into a wide rectangle, with the short edge towards you.
  5. Roll the dough down from the top, pushing into the middle with your thumbs as your fingers pull the dough over. Roll from top to bottom using an even pressure. Turn the dough 90 degrees and gently flatten it once more into a wide rectangle, with the short edge towards you.
  6. Repeat the rolling process, then use the heel of your hand to seal the seam at the bottom. Use a dough scraper to peel the dough off the bench, and tidy any seams by pinching them together.
  7. Place your dough in the tin, seam side down. Sprinkle the top generously with rye flour, then cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for around 3 hours, or until the dough has risen by about a third. It should have risen about 2.5 cm (1 in) in the tin, and the flour on top will have split into a striking cracked pattern.
  8. Place a baking tray at the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to the maximum temperature. When the oven is hot, boil the kettle and pour around 150–200 ml (5–7 floz) of boiling water into the tray.
  9. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the loaf is starting to colour, then reduce the temperature to 200°C (390°F) and bake for a further 20–25 minutes, until the loaf is a dark golden colour, and firm to touch.
  10. Use the tap test to check the bread: turn the loaf out of the tin and tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it is ready. You can also use a temperature probe to check the inside temperature of the loaf. I have found an internal temperature of 98°C (208°F) to be the one at which we get the best crumb. If the loaf doesn’t reach this temperature, the crumb can appear underbaked and gummy.
  11. Turn the loaf out of the tin and place it on a cooling rack. Leave the bread for at least 6 hours before eating. Rye bread needs this time for the crumb to develop and the flavour to mature. It will be even better two days after baking, and will last for up to a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Bakery notes

  • Acidification can occur during sourdough fermentation or when adding an acid, such as vinegar or buttermilk. This helps to improve the crumb and adds flavour.

    We use a high amount of starter in our rye dough to introduce a high level of acid. This lowers the pH level in the dough, so the starch doesn’t break down into sugars during the final fermentation. This results in a loaf with more structure, and prevents a gummy and dense crumb.

    There is no autolyse or pre-shaping required for this dough. This loaf can easily be made in a day, as 100% rye doughs are better baked straight after the final prove – they don’t hold up well under fridge retardation.
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