Some of my American friends will not know who the Hairy Bikers are. Well . . . . they are two guys from the north of England who ride motorbikes and love their food! And they obviously have a lot of fun doing it.
Today I made the Scandinavian Rye Bread from the first episode of the new series.
You will need:
- 175ml whole milk
- 175 ml water
- 2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
- 1 * 7g sachet dried yeast
- 250g rye flour
- 250g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 tbsp fine sea salt (not pictured)
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- oil for greasing (not pictured)
Put the milk, water and sugar into a small saucepan and heat VERY gently, stirring constantly, just long enough to dissolve the sugar and get the mixture lukewarm. If it feels HOT to a clean finger dipped in, it's too warm.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Stir in the yeast
and leave for 10 minutes until there is a light froth floating on the surface.
Put all the flour, rye and white, in a large mixing bowl, stir in the salt and caraway seeds,
Make a well in the centre and pour the yeasty mixture into the flour
and mix with a wooden spoon, then with your hands, to form a soft, spongy dough.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface
and knead for 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Kneading this dough can be hard work as it is quite dense. Normally I would use my stand mixer for dough kneading but my mixer is fairly lightweight and I doubt it would stand up to such a dense dough, so I did knead by hand today.
Put the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with oiled clingfilm. Or, if like me, you discover that you are completely out of clingfilm, invert a clean trash bag over the bowl, and tuck the ends under the bowl, trapping air inside.
Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size. It wasn't as warm today as we were expecting so I could probably have left it up to 2 hours for a better rise.
After rising, put the dough on a floured work surface and knock it back with your knuckles, then knead for another minute. Shape the dough into a fat oval or round loaf, pulling the dough from the top and sides and tucking it underneath to make a neat shape.
Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment and score the surface 4 times with a sharp knife. Cover it loosely with the oiled clingfilm, you used earlier and leave to prove for a further 40 - 50 minutes until is has doubled in size once more. Again it was a little cooler than expected today so I should have left it a bit longer than that, but it still worked OK.
Preheat the oven to 180c (160c for a fan oven), 360 f, Gas 4. Bake the loaf in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, or until it is well risen and the base sounds hollow when tapped sharply.
Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
You can really smell the caraway when you cut into it. I tried the bread 3 ways, with butter spread, with chilli cheese spread and with Wholefoods apple and pear spread.
The chilli cheese was a bit too strong for me, but the strong flavours of the rye bread stood up to it nicely. The butter revealed that there was a bit too much salt for my tastes and I would lower it slightly if I make this again. Normally I would not serve sweet spread on a wholegrain bread, I think they work better on white bread, but the strong flavours of the fruit spread go well with the strong flavours of the rye bread.
This would go really well with a chunk of mature cheddar and some of the caramelised onion relish I made last week.
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