Soft light rye & honey bread, with chocolate-ganache like spread
I have never had much luck with rye at home, but this long weekend, somehow everything fell into place and for lunch I bit into a soft, tender rye and honey kissed slice of bread that wasn’t just comparable to plain white ciabatta, but better. So much so that I had it for dessert too, with some vegan “ganache” I had stirred up a while ago. I say “ganache” because it resembles ganache (not quite as smooth at first, but then melts in your mouth beautifully), but is just coconut oil, honey and cocoa. Use a honey you like eating ordinarily, because the flavour will break through!
Soft rye & honey bread
Inspired, as almost always, by Artisan bread in five. Makes 2 loaves (the dough for the other loaf can sit in the fridge for a few days…but you can easily halve this recipe too)
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1 1/2 c warm water
- about 1/3 c plain yogurt (full fat milk or cream would also work, just reduce the amount of oil ever so slightly)
- about 2 Tbs honey
- about 1 heaping tsp salt
- about 3 Tbs canola oil
- 1 c (pref stone ground) rye flour*
- 2 1/2 c plain white flour
*Store in the fridge once opened, and buy from somewhere that stores it near or in the fridge – this will keep it from going rancid quickly.
Mix first five ingredients just to dissolve the honey a little, then mix in flours until the dough starts to really cling to your spoon (if it stays like a cake batter texture add a little more flour). Cover (not airtight) and leave until the dough has risen a little, at least 2 hours. Get the spoon back in there and stir it again, almost “kneading” it in the bowl. You don’t need to stir for ages, you’re just deflating it a little and developing the gluten a bit more, without breaking your arm. Let rise overnight in the fridge, or up to three days.
When ready to shape, heavily grease a baking tray with butter or margarine (or it will stick like mad) and dust with flour, or line with a silicon baking sheet or a reusable non stick baking sheet**. Dust the top liberally with flour (particularly the edges), and using a spatula, scrape half the dough out onto your baking tray. Using your spatula and hands, shape the dough into a loaf shape. Dust the top lightly with flour if the top is all wet dough exposed. Slash your loaf with a very sharp knife (either lengthways down the middle or diagonal cuts to let it rise evenly in the oven).
Boil some water and pour into a roasting tray. Pop this into the bottom of the oven, then sit the shaped dough on a rack above. Close the oven door and let the shaped dough sit in there for half an hour. Remove the bread and roasting tray from the oven and preheat your oven to 230C (445F).
Once your oven is nice and hot, pop the dough in the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 180C (350F). Let bake until the loaf is very dark brown – timing will depend on the actual temperature of your oven and the shape of the bread, but check at the 20 minute mark to be safe. You want the crust to almost be burnt – I thought I’d burnt my loaf but the middle was still lovely and moist and soft, and the dark brown crust tasted lovely too.
Let cool on a rack until room temperature before cutting – very important with this loaf since it’s soft.
** I loved these so much that I wrote to Lynette and did a giveaway of them a while back. I pretty much use them every time I bake now, they are a blessing for bread as you don’t have to worry about cornmeal,semolina, grease or heaps of flour to prevent the dough sticking. They are a bit pricey but they last for years, don’t affect heat conductivity as much as silicon, and will last for just as long.
make as much or as little as you like
- 2 parts virgin coconut oil (you could possible also use cocoa butter if you wanted to splurge!)
- 2 parts good-quality cocoa***
- 1 part runny honey (that you like the taste of), maple syrup or golden syrup
- optional: pinch fine sea salt
***Does anyone know where I can get decent cocoa in Sydney without paying through the roof? Or is $9 for <200g normal? The CBD supermarkets only sell Cadbury which I’ve tried and liked about as much as I like the chocolate :P
Melt the coconut oil on a low heat in a saucepan or on medium low heat in the microwave. Stir honey and cocoa through. It won’t fully incorporate at first, but as long as the cocoa is “dissolved” you’re good to leave it now. Let it resolidify slightly and taste (EDIT: if it doesn’t solidify even though it’s room temperature, add a little more cocoa and honey). Adjust sweetness to your preferences by adding more cocoa or honey. Now stir in earnest with a fork until everything is a bit smoother.
You can’t really taste any coconut by the way, the cocoa and honey are definitely the loudest flavours!
Spread or use as the centre of vegan truffles!
There are quite a few central (well, within walking distance) community gardens nearby, and the City of Sydney is putting on some great workshops for those who are getting into urban gardening/farming. I am itching to get a wormfarm, since we don’t have separate organic bins for our apartment, which makes the trash pretty stinky and is also pretty inefficient environmentally – all that garden waste (half of all residential waste!!) could be going towards growing me some veges!
There was a forum yesterday, where I had a great time listening to Cecilia Macaulay of Balcony Garden Dreaming, who is a fountain of hands-on experience – check out her blog for some useful tips with a dash of whimsy and good humour :)
Also, happy long weekend for those in Australia (well, most of Australia anyway)!