Light Swedish rye Limpa sourdough bread is a delicious alternative to wheat flour bread.
- 260 g rye sourdough starter
- 210 g white wheat bread flour
- 50 g rye flour
- 120 ml water
- ½ tsp salt
- 45 g firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- Grated zest of ½ orange
- ½ tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- Day one
- Put the sourdough starter in a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the refrigerator.
- Add 70 g white flour, all of the rye flour and 60 ml water and stir gently to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 8 hours or overnight.
- Day two
- Add the remaining ingredients to the refreshed starter and mix well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth.
- Shape the dough with wet hands into a sausage shape, gently place into a greased loaf tin and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Prove at room temperature for 3–4 hours until the dough has risen about 2.5 cm above the top of the loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 220 °C (Gas Mark 7).
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200 °C (Gas Mark 6) and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- Remove from the loaf tin and cool on a wire rack.
For me, bread baking has an element of drama: those moments when you’re wondering what your new loaf will look like, first on the outside and then cutting into it to reveal the structure within. Nicely balanced holes of varying sizes or some blown out nightmare with immense cavities that would struggle to hold a whole orange, let alone a smear of marmalade? But perhaps my concept of drama is out of kilter. Jane Mason, the founder of Virtuous Bread has followed up her book All You Knead is Bread with Perfecting Sourdough to help all of us who have had problems baking with sourdough, but haven’t known where and how we went wrong. This is a book for sourdough beginners as well as the more experienced. The chapter on basics talks us through the things we should know, while I found the chapter on top ten sourdough tips particularly helpful, especially the last one: everything is good toasted, even if it’s ugly. And at the start of each of the main recipe chapters, there are a few pages on the common errors: over proofed, under proofed and other errors and how this looks for rye, wheat, and sweet doughs that are especially useful.
There are many recipes here that I want try my hand at: fluffy waffles, pure rye, Swedish Limpa, caraway spelt, mixed grain sourdough, kamut bread, cheese and onion bread, gingerbread (which looks very traditional, and is quite unlike any other gingerbread I’ve seen), and jasmine tea buns.
The only thing I would have really liked to see would be a section showing what differing hydration, bulk raising and proofing times has on a plain rye or wheat loaf. So a loaf made with 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% weight of water to flour, or one left to bulk prove for 1.25 times the recommended time, for example. One of the joys of baking is the process of learning and discovery, but some examples of the different variations would be useful.
There are a total of forty-two recipes (which pleases the Douglas Adams fan in me), most of which have a full page photograph, as well as many technique photographs, and I just love the look of some of the loaves. The rye loaves, in particular, are very nicely shot and show me what to aim for. It’s a 160 page book so you can see that there’s lots of extra information there as well as the recipes. This is a real go-to source for sourdough information, and for anybody feeling nervious about giving it a go, I would recommend this book.
Recipe and image extracted from Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason (Apple Press, £14.99).
We received a copy of Perfecting Sourdough to review; all opinions are our own.