Traditional Finnish Rye Bread

March 25, 2015

As a child I thought that the neighbour of my grandmother was a strange man, because he was washing his bread. We don’t wash our bread! Well, he wasn’t either. He used to eat rock-hard, dried rye bread, which became chewy and edible with water.

This has been a well-known practice in Western Finland, where almost every housewife had bread poles on the roof beams of the kitchen for her rye breads. There are still kitchens, where you can find them. The house of my grandmother’s mother is one of them. Women baked lots of thin rye breads especially in the fall. They were well preserved on the poles until the following spring and in the kitchen they were always conveniently within reach. 

3 breads

First day, evening

1 dl (100 g) sourdough starter
2,5 dl (250 g) lukewarm water
2,5 dl (150 g) organic rye flour 

Mix together the sourdough starter, water and the rye flour. Cover with a tea towel and leave at room temperature (24–26 °C) for 12–20 hours. Next day the mix should look brisk and bubbling, which tells you, that it’s ready.

Second day

1,5 tsp salt
2,5 dl (250 g) lukewarm water
the starter dough from the evening before
6–7 dl (330-380 g) organic rye flour

The following day, blend the salt with the lukewarm water. Stir together the starter dough and the liquid. Mix the flour into the dough and knead until firm and well bound together, for about 5 minutes. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 6 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a baking surface and divide it into three balls. Flatten each piece into a thin disk on a parchment paper. Make a hole in the center of each dough disk with a glass. Poke the surface randomly with a fork. Place the ring on a baking tray with the help of the paper. Cover with the cloth and let rise for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for 30 minutes or so.

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