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Soft light rye & honey bread, with chocolate-ganache like spread

June 10, 2012

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
For the following measurements, pour the flour into the cup rather than scooping it:
  • 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.

Chocolate spread/”ganache”

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!

Currently clickalicious

Custard filled cornbread @ Like a Strawberry Milk

Malted milo malteser ice cream @ Baking = Love

Banana ice cream 5 ways @ The Kitchn

Passionfruit custard pots @ Baking Makes Things Better

Rhubarb & rosewater syrup @ 101 Cookbooks

Foodie fave

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)!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2012 4:27 pm

    Oh yum! Ideal for when you need some extra carbs this winter ;)

  2. June 11, 2012 4:07 am

    Oh rye bread! Chocolate ganache! Yeah cocoa is a tricky one here too. It’s either crappy pale stuff or super expensive and hard to find. I love the dark dark crust on this. I’ve never done the roasting tray with boiling water thing, but it sounds like it creates a beautiful loaf. I guess I should really get my hands on this Artisan bread in Five after all your ranting… :P Unless you just wanna keep posting recipes from it!

  3. Life & Sunshine permalink
    June 11, 2012 5:46 am

    mmmmm….looks perfect!

  4. June 11, 2012 2:39 pm

    G: Oooh yeah. The honey adds a super comforting maltiness :)
    C: Yeah, although the stuff I have looks really pale but then bakes up really dark! The roasting tray thing is my little secret for cold weather bread baking :D You should def still get the Artisan book! I’ve stopped posting recipes that are basically straight from the book since I’ve already done adapted recipes a few times…this one’s not in the book, but the method is based on the book. I do believe they have an Aus/NZ/metric version too, so you don’t have to keep translating “stick of butter” :P
    L: Thanks, it was pretty awesome to finally get it just right after so many attempts!

  5. Geneva M. Wilgus permalink
    June 12, 2012 2:50 am

    This is an enchanting combination of flavors… I am feeling the need to try this one out at home!! Gorgeous photo as well :)

  6. June 13, 2012 9:04 pm

    So gorgeous Zo! Love that bread… but specially with that spread. Yum!

  7. June 14, 2012 9:55 am

    Hi Zo, I have been awarded the Illuminating Blogger Award and would like to pass it on to you. It’s an award for illuminating and informative blogs. I think your blog is definitely one and I enjoy reading it a lot :) Please check out my latest article for more info.

  8. Melissa permalink
    June 15, 2012 12:18 am

    This looks fantastic! I’ve never made homemade bread, but I’m definitely going to try this recipie this weekend. Thanks!

  9. June 15, 2012 10:09 pm

    Our Woolies has a Dutch shelve (near the Asian foods). If yours has it too, try the Dutch cocoa. Soooo much better then the Cadbury.

  10. June 15, 2012 11:36 pm

    G: I think I may even like it as much as oat and honey bread :)

    T: Thanks, and cheers for featuring it!

    I: Honoured :)

    M: Yay, hope it goes well :) Feel free to let me know how it goes even if it doesn’t turn out or something

    Ma: Ooo, thank you!!!! Will definitely look into that. I will probably pick up some stroopwafels while I’m at it too >.<

  11. peasepudding permalink
    June 17, 2012 1:49 pm

    Wow, just look at the crust on that bread, it’s just perfect.

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