Dark rye bread

Dark rye bread

How to Cook Bread
2 small loaves
Peter Cassidy

This bread has a lovely deep flavour, making it the perfect partner for strong, punchy flavours, such as cured meats and pickles, or for balancing smooth and mellow soft cheeses. It needs to be started a day in advance. You can use any small seeds in place of linseeds. You will need two 450–500g loaf tins.


Quantity Ingredient

For the starter

Quantity Ingredient
10g fresh yeast
170ml tepid water
70g rye flour
70g strong white flour
15g whole or ground linseeds
50g sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon molasses

For the dough

Quantity Ingredient
15g fresh yeast
150-200ml tepid water
300g rye flour, plus extra to dust
100g spelt flour
1 1/2-2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon runny honey
oil, to grease
1 tablespoon milk, to brush
extra seeds, to sprinkle


  1. To make the starter, put the yeast and 2–3 tbsp of the tepid water in a small bowl and stir until dissolved. Mix the flours in a large bowl, and add the seeds and molasses. Add the yeast, swilling out the yeast bowl with the remaining water to ensure none is lost, and stir in well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in a cool place overnight. If it is very warm, put the starter in the fridge overnight, but you will need to bring it up to room temperature again before using it.
  2. The next day, to make the dough, put the yeast in a small bowl, add 2 tbsp of the tepid water and stir to dissolve. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and tip the starter into the well, along with the new yeast mixture and the honey.
  3. Add three quarters of the remaining water (using some of it to swill out the yeast bowl). Use a cutlery knife to distribute the liquid evenly through the flour mix and bring the mixture together into a dough, adding more water if required to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  4. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10–12 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Transfer the dough to the work surface and knock it back, kneading it for 2–3 minutes. Lightly oil the loaf tin.
  6. Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 loaves and place them in the oiled tins. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm, but not too hot, place to prove, for about 1 hour. To check the dough is proved enough, lightly press it in one corner with your finger; it should leave only a little indentation. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  7. Lightly brush the tops of the loaves with milk and sprinkle with a few seeds. Bake in the oven for 25–35 minutes until browned. The loaves should also feel light for their size and sound hollow when tapped on the underside. If not, return them to the oven for a few minutes.
  8. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing and turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
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