Stunning 100% Rye Sourdough bread… this was the intended result
The resulting Finnish Crisp Bread – equally fantastic!
aka ‘Trials and Tribulations of Blondie’s First Rye Sourdough Bread’
This is my very first attempt at sourdough, let alone a Finnish 100% Rye sourdough! It’s extraordinarily popular in the Nordic regions and can be made into a loaf, thin crispbreads or firm round discs that have a hole in the middle so it can be threaded onto a pole and hung from the ceiling to dry.
I have worked with high rye content breads before when I make my Karelian Pies but working with total rye is both fun and maddening at the same time. It is heavy and so, so, SO sticky! I swear, the Marshmallow Eggs from one of my previous posts are pretty close to what you will be dealing with.
OK, the desire to make a beautiful sourdough bread had been fermenting (ha) in my head for a while – mum had made it a few times when I was younger and remembers the starter taking 7 days to develop – I was kind of eager to get this going a bit quicker than that, so I began reading up on techniques and processes and gathered bits and pieces of other peoples experiences and came up with a plan of action.
To make the starter move along at a quicker pace it was suggested to get a loaf of your intended bread. If you want a wheat bread then get that style loaf, if you want a rye one then get a rye loaf making sure that it is only made of flour, water and salt - this bread will be in your breads DNA so get the best of the best. Crumble some of the loaf, mix the flour and the water and let the magic of life begin! The picture above is the loaf I picked up, this is also the loaf I was intending on making, but things change….
A starter, if you remember to leave some aside, will become your sourdough ‘mother’. This mother will be the originating source of all your future breads – some ‘mothers’ survive decades, generations even and once stable is quite difficult to kill, she can usually be resurrected with a little love.
My starter was fantastic, she lived and breathed and did everything a growing entity was suppose to do. It really is such a magical experience, I can see why it’s so addictive – bread making that is.
When the 48 hours was up I started incorporating the rest of the Rye flour and water to form a dough (make sure you set aside about 300g and place in a container with a loose fitting lid, leave this in the fridge – this is your mother) Once a dough ball was formed, I divided into two and set aside for about 4-6 hours to rise. This is where I kind of lost my way.
As there is absolutely no yeast in this bread I knew it wouldn’t rise too much but I kept reading about 100% rye doughs rising as much as double their original size, so when the 4 hours was up there really wasn’t any noticeable change, it was a bit bigger but nothing like double the size. I decided to leave it for a couple of more hours, still not much. I poked one of the balls and there was definitely some softness and give to the ball but, again, not what I was reading. It was late, so I left the dough to sleep on it, maybe when I wake up it would be bigger…? No, it hadn’t grown but had deflated – Fantastic! That means that what I had seen the day before was exactly what I thought the dough should be, but now I have deflated dough!
I wasn’t going to let any of this go to waste, so I went to plan B and that was to make FinnCrisp, my all time favourite crispbread. The sourdough flavour with the rye was identical to what FinnCrisp tastes like. This is where the dough monster from hell comes into play! I couldn’t get it off my hands, it was completely unworkable so I decided to put on gloves – these kept being dragged off my hands, I grabbed a sturdy blunt knife, some baking paper and clingfilm, and this worked a treat.
The trick is to roll the dough really thinly. My first couple of trays were a little on the thick side so ended up a bit chewy (although I still like them like that) but then you really need to be careful you don’t burn them as they will cook unevenly – burnt edges and soft middle. Just keep an eye on them and use a timer.
The real test to see if they were what I was hoping for was with my ideal sandwich – Pickled Herrings on crispbread…
Pickled herrings on rye crispbread
Perfect bite sized mouthfuls of crispbread with it’s tangy, sweet rye flavour, as good as my beloved FinnCrisp – very happy!
When they go a bit soft but just pop them into the oven again to crisp them up.