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Finnish Sourdough Rye Bread

Finnish Sourdough Rye Bread

Finnish sourdough rye bread has a long history in Finland, consistently described as a true national treasure. The preparation to create the proper sourdough starter takes several days, but can be frozen and held for up to a year. Once created, a great starter dough is something to be passed down for generations. Finnish rye bread is extremely healthy, containing high amount of fiber.

Soaker

  • 6 slices of regular Finncrisp crispbread, crushed
  • 1/8 ounce of active dry yeast (half of a ¼ oz envelope)
  • ½  tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ cups of warm water
  • 1 cup of rye flour

Rye sourdough starter

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 ½ cups of rye flour

Rye bread dough

  • ¼ ounce of active dry yeast (whole envelope)
  • ¼ cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbs salt
  • 4 ½ cups of  rye flour

To prepare the soaker: Mix active yeast, half a teaspoon sugar and warm water in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate. Add 1 cup of rye flour and crushed Finncrisps to the bowl and mix until smooth. Let the covered bowl stand and ferment in room temperature for about 12 hours. Mix the dough few times while fermenting.

To create the rye starter, after 12 hours mix in the additional 1 ½ cups of rye flour and water to the soaker and let stand covered at room temperature for another 12-24 hours. After fermentation, set aside ½ cup of rye starter for later use. You may freeze it for next time. In the freezer the rye starter holds for about a year.

Mix active yeast, warm water and sugar in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Mix activated yeast and water with the rye starter you've created. Add salt and rye flower to the dough in small patches. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let stand for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Cut the dough in three pieces and on a well floured baking surface knead a few times. Shape the dough to three round loaves and place them on a nonstick baking pan (if no oven brick/stone is available). Cover and let the loaves rise for about an hour.

Poke the bread loaves with a fork few times and bake in 425 for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Note:
If you already have an existing rye sourdough starter you can skip the Finncrisp and the yeast from the first step. Instead melt the sourdough starter and mix it with 1 cup of water and ¾ cups of rye flour. Let stand for 12 hours. Then continue the preparation for rye sourdough starter and dough according to the recipe.