Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 27, 2021

Rye bread is the traditional bread of Scandinavia and varies from region to region.

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Rye bread

The traditional bread of Scandinavia, a loaf of rye is made using a sourdough starter. You only have to make the starter once if you remember to save a bit of dough for next time.

For the sourdough starter:

1½ c. (375 ml) rye flour

1¼ c. (300 ml) buttermilk

1 tsp. (5 ml) coarse sea salt

For the dough:

3 c. (750 ml) lukewarm water

2¾ c. (680 ml) rye flour

2¾ c. (680 ml) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. (15 ml) sea salt

For the loaf:

1 lb. (500 g) cracked whole rye

1 c. (250 ml) lukewarm water

2 tsp. (10 ml) salt

To make the starter, mix the rye flour, buttermilk and salt in a bowl. Cover with foil and leave for 3 to 4 days at room temperature (77 to 86°F/25 to 30°C). Note that if the temperature is too cool, the sourdough will not develop and will go bad.

In a large bowl, dissolve the starter in the lukewarm water. Add the rye flour, all-purpose flour and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a runny dough. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and set aside for 12 hours at room temperature. It’s best to do this around dinner time so it can sit overnight.

Add the cracked whole rye, lukewarm water and salt to the dough, and stir again with a wooden spoon until the rye grains are evenly distributed. Take 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the dough, add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of coarse salt and save in a container in the refrigerator for the next time you make rye bread. It will last for 8 weeks. Remember to do this every time you make rye bread and you won’t have to make the starter again.

Pour the rest of the dough into an 11½- x 4-inch (29- x 10-cm) nonstick loaf pan. If you don’t have a nonstick loaf pan, oil the inside with a little oil. Cover the pan with a dish towel and let the bread rise for 3 to 6 hours or until it has reached the rim of the pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C) and bake the loaf for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Immediately remove it from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Makes one large loaf.

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