Recipe courtesy of Melissa Yanc

Danish Rye Bread

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 16 hr 30 min (includes proofing time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: One 9-by-5-inch loaf; 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Sourdough Feeder:

Levain:

Rye Soaker:

Dough:

Dry Additions:

Baking:

Directions

  1. For the sourdough feeder: Eight to 15 hours before mixing the levain, feed your starter by mixing the bread flour, water and old sourdough starter together in a medium bowl until smooth. Transfer to a storage container with a lid.
  2. For the levain: Mix the bread flour, water and old sourdough starter together with your hands in a medium bowl until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 12 hours. The levain will be very dense and sticky.
  3. For the rye soaker: While the levain is resting, mix the cracked rye, rye berries and warm water together with your hands in a medium bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 12 hours. The rye berries should soften and absorb almost all the water.
  4. For the dough: Mix the buttermilk, coffee, molasses, water, bread flour, dark rye flour and levain together with your hands in a large bowl until the dough is smooth and well combined (it will be very wet and slightly stretchy). Allow to rest, covered, for about 1 hour at room temperature. 
  5. For the dry additions: Add the flax seeds, sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, salt and the rye soaker to the dough and incorporate by folding the dough onto itself using a rubber spatula or your hands (wet them first with water). Allow to rest, covered, for about 30 minutes at room temperature. 
  6. Fold the dough onto itself using a rubber spatula or your wet hands about 6 times. Allow to rest, covered, for about 30 minutes. Repeat this process 3 more times (for a total of 4 folding and resting turns). With each fold, the dough will rise slightly and become more stretchy from the sourdough starter.
  7. For baking: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan lightly with some oil.
  8. Wet your hands with water, gather the dough and place it into the prepared loaf pan as one whole piece. Let it sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 20 minutes to form a skin and slightly rise.
  9. Bake until the bread is well browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Unmold immediately onto a wire rack, top-side down, and cool completely.

Cook’s Note

A sourdough starter is needed to give this bread its characteristic taste and texture. You can make it yourself or buy it at specialty baking stores or online (or ask a friend for some of theirs). The starter needs to be ripe (or active) to perform its magic, meaning it's been fed within the last 8 to 15 hours, is bubbly and has doubled in volume.

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