Homemade rye bread is the backbone to Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches.
Slice it thin, then top it with whatever pleases you—sliced meat and cheese, thin cucumbers and radishes on cream cheese, the combinations are endless, fun, and delicious.
How to Make Rye Bread
This is great just out of the oven, but as it’s difficult to cut, it’s better the next day... if you can wait!
FOR THE RYE SOURDOUGH STARTER
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 2 ¼ cups wholegrain stoneground rye flour
RYE BREAD DAY 1
- 3 tbsp rye sourdough starter
- 3 ½ cups lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 5⅔ cups wholegrain stoneground rye flour
RYE BREAD DAY 2
- 1 lb 2oz cracked rye
- 1 cup cold water
- a little flavorless oil for the loaf tin
- Makes 1 large loaf
- For the rye sourdough starter, mix the buttermilk and rye flour well in a bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for 3 days. It’s important that it doesn’t turn moldy, but starts bubbling; a temperature of 23–25ºC (73–77ºF) is ideal for this.
- If making your first loaf from the starter, dissolve all the starter in the lukewarm water in a large bowl (for the next loaf use just 3 tbsp of the starter that you will reserve on Day 2; the whole quantity of starter is just for the first attempt, and the loaf will be a little bigger). Stir in the salt and flour, cover the bowl with a towel and leave at room temperature for 12–24 hours.
- Add the cracked rye and cold water to the dough mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. It will be too runny to knead with your hands.
- Remove 3 tbsp of the dough, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate; this will become your starter for the next loaf you make (it needs to rest for at least 3 days before using, and will last up to 8 weeks).
- Lightly oil a large loaf tin, about 12 inches x 4 inches and 4 inches deep. Pour in the dough, cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for 3–6 hours until the dough has almost reached the top of the tin.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to fan 180ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Bake the loaf for 1 hour 45 minutes, then immediately turn it out on to a wire rack to cool.
Used with permission from Open Sandwiches by Trine Hahnemann, Quadrille Publishing, 2018. Photos by Leth Columbus.