I am not quite sure how I avoided the whole lockdown bread baking movement in March and April. By nature I am not a baker in the bread sense. Normally when I am overcome by a desire to bake, I make cakes or cookies. In any case it would seem that I am making up for lost time despite being very late to the game.
Before we begin there are a couple of things that you should know. Firstly I am intrigued and confused by the extraordinary differences in types of flour between Italy and Australia and then again with America. I tried my hardest to decipher all of the ancient grain flours and their various uses to write the descriptions for Demetra Bottega. And most importantly, I have never baked bread before, ever!
Having all these fabulous, stone-milled, Tuscan grown, farm to table flours at my finger tips, I decided lets give it a go. One of the breads I miss most in Italy is soft, nutty, delcious rye bread. So I hopped onto google and started googling and I stumbled across this recipe by Le Ricette Dell’Amore Vero. It caught my attention because the title said it all…
“Best rye bread in the world, simple recipe”
500g Flour: 30% type 1 flour, 60% rye flour, 10% linseed flour
300ml lukewarm water (adjust if more is needed)
1 teaspoon of honey
4 sesame seeds
25g dried mother yeast (traditional Italian yeast)
15g fine salt
If necessary the flour split can be 300g rye flour and 200g type 1 flour however if you can find linseed flour it adds a softness to the bread. Note: I ended up buying the linseed flour on amazon to avoid searching in shops.
In a small bowl, mix the yeast with the honey and a little bit of water and leave it to rest for 15 minutes.
In a big bowl, add the flours, yeast, water, salt and most of the sesame seeds (leaving some to sprinkle on top of the bread before baking). Mix the dough well, first with a spoon and then with your hands to form a ball of dough that is homogeneous and firm. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the dough to rise for 30 minutes.
Grease a plum cake (rectangular) tin. Distribute the dough uniformly and leave the dough to rise for at least 2 hours covered with a tea towel (kitchen cloth). The dough should approximately double in size.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Cook at 200°C in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. Let the bread sit for 10 minutes before turning it out of the tin and cutting.
So how did it go?
Not so well!!! My dough didn’t rise. I baked it anyway. The flavor is fabulous but the bread is dense not soft.
What went wrong? First of all I actually didn’t follow the recipe to the letter. My bad. I used Emmer flour instead of type 1 flour. I won’t do that again. AND having had a quick convo with a bread making friend, she suggested that perhaps the conditions weren’t right. Maybe my kitchen wasn’t warm enough to activate the yeast.
In hindsight, I also think that perhaps the water wasn’t lukewarm enough.
I will defintely be trying again. The title of the recipe was correct, the recipe was simple (it was me who felt like following the instructions was not necessary). If the flavor in my failed attempt is anything to go by when I get it right it will be amazing.
Original recipe in Italian by Le Ricette Dell’Amore Vero