Once in a while I follow a recipe (I tend to enjoy composing and see what I get – following a basic formula which is hard to mess up). My initial inspiration for baking comes from a woman called Wenche Frølich, she’s a Norwegian Professor in Nutrition and Food Science and has written a book about bread which for me is a bread baking Bible. Unfortunately, this book is only available in Norwegian … But I will be referring to it now and then, and if it happens to be translated into English some day – I’ll announce it loudly.
This book contains hundreds of recipes, history about bread baking, nutrition facts and grains information, baking techniques and tips on why things go wrong.
I used to bring this book to bed with me. Now I look up stuff occasionally – like when I want to make this particular rye bread. I’ve made it several times, and I never seem to get it quite right for some reason. But even when it goes very wrong – it still tastes delicious.
Here’s the original recipe copied and translated from the book:
Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds
1 1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups water
1pk or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 – 2 tbs salt
1tbs roughly crushed caraway seeds
4 cups stoneground rye flour
4-5 cups regular white bread flour (or all purpose)
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm tap water (if you’re using active dry yeast), or mix dry yeast with the flour
- Mix the rye flour, salt and caraway seeds, leave the white flour for later
- Heat the liquid to around 100 F and add to the yeast to the dry ingredients.
- Gradually add the all purpose flour until the dough is smooth and starts letting go of the bowl
- Knead well, add small amounts of all-purpose flour if needed, but not too much. If the dough is sticky and hard to handle, you can sprinkle some oil on your hands.
- Let the dough rise for about 1 hour, covered with plastic or a damp cloth
- Knead the ready dough lightly and mold into two breads placed in greased loaf tins. (Mine are 9 x 5 x 2.7 in, or 6.8 cups (1,6 l))
- After-rise for another 40-45 min, until the surface starts cracking slightly
- Varnish the top with water and bake on the mid rack, 395 F for about 50 min.
And this is what I do:
- I always reduce the amount of yeast when I make bread. I use 1 tsp of yeast for 4 cups of liquid. The dough will need much longer time for rising, but this improves the flavour of the bread. This time I let the dough rise for about 3 hours, and after-rise for about 1h 15 min. Alternatively, one can knock down the dough and let it rise again before creating the breads. This will also enhance the flavor.
- I tend to always use 4 cups of liquid to make 2 breads. Especially since my tins are 6.8 cups (1,6 l). So in this case I increase the flour measurements slightly.
- Apple juice works well as bread liquid and can easily replace the orange juice in this recipe. 50/50 water and apple juice – or the quantity of apple juice that you happen to have available. I only had 1 1/4 cup yesterday. The bread still came out very tasty.
My bread cracked on the sides this time, which according to the Master (Wenche Frølich) could happen if the bread doesn’t after-rise long enough, or you didn’t knead the dough enough before after-rising. In both cases, overdoing can cause more damage than not doing enough, so I choose to live with the cracks. After all, it is the taste and the texture that really does your bread.
This bread is great for everyday sandwiches, but could also accompany soups or salads. If you’re not a big fan of heavy whole grain rye bread but need this kind of bread for particular dishes, like herring sandwiches (very popular christmas food in Norway) – then this is a lighter alternative that works well. Bon a`petit!
I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.