Date Rye Bread
This is my favourite bread at the moment; it is good enough to eat thinly sliced by itself and is also great with cheese. Rye contains very little gluten so this recipe is half normal flour. The result is fairly light but close textured and slightly sticky. The tin I use is a seamless nonstick tin (25 x14 x 7cm) which is suitable for most loaves and perfect for a standard size loaf for sandwiches etc using 600g quantity of normal flour. I have an oven with a dough proving setting which you can replicate with most ordinary ovens set to 30ºC. I always have a roasting tin half filled with hot water on the bottom of the oven for proving and baking bread. Pour the water in with the tin in situ and do not remove until the baking is complete and oven cooled down. If the oven is steamy then you don’t really have to cover the dough for proving. I know many experts recommend a long slow prove but I feel this makes it a whole day’s work and the results are still very good without the long wait.
250g wholemeal rye flour
250g strong white flour
10ml / 2 tsp fast active instant yeast
10ml / 2 tsp salt
30ml / 2 tbsp black treacle
325ml luke warm water – you may need a bit more
10 – 15ml caraway seeds
150g chopped dates
Mix the treacle into the warm water. Mix the flours and salt together well in a large bowl. Mix in the yeast.
Stir in the liquid and mix in well. Add a bit of extra water if required to make a slightly sticky dough.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. It should be stretchy, smooth and leave the work surface cleanly. Lightly oil the bowl, make the dough into a ball and rub round the bowl to the dough coat in oil. Cover with cling film and prove in warm place for about an hour until spongy and doubled in size. Because rye does not contain much gluten it will take a bit longer to rise and not be as puffy as pure wheat flour dough.
Knead the dough briefly and stretch out to create a large surface. Sprinkle with the dates and caraway seeds. Roll and knead to distribute evenly. Shape into two ovals and place on oiled baking sheet or shape to fit the tin and press it gently into the tin. Cover with oiled cling film and prove for about and hour and a half until doubled in size. Place the roasting tin on the bottom of the oven and half fill with hot water. This creates a steamy atmosphere. Bake at 210ºC / 200ºC fan / gas 7 for about 35 minutes on the second shelf up. The top should be firm, crisp and sound hollow. I like mine a bit crispy on the bottom so I tip the loaf out of the tin upside-down on the baking sheet and cook for another ten minutes. The bottom should also sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.