The bread making module at cooking school was met with a great deal of excitement from everyone in my class although not, of course, quite as much excitement as the chocolate making module (go figure :)). Under the expert guidance of our Swiss tutor we learnt all about the dough making process. We kneaded, scaled, moulded, plaited and all the while the most heavenly smell of baking bread wafted around the classroom kitchen. By the time we pulled the bread out of the oven it was surprising that we didn’t all fall on it like a bunch of salivating dogs. Fortunately we had more restraint and luckily we were allowed to taste the fruits of our labours which of course made all that kneading worthwhile.
Everybody’s favourite bread was a Swiss Rye Bread, which we devoured warm from the oven dripping with butter and thick slices of Swiss cheese or honey. Each loaf was handcrafted and placed in basket moulds prior to baking. Only ten loaves were made per class which made this bread a prized commodity and only a few lucky students were allowed to take some home.
While the original recipe produces a lighter bread, mostly due, I suspect, to the gluten powder, bread improver and sour dough powder that gets added, my version, which I have adapted from the original recipe and I have called “almost Swiss rye bread”, produces a denser hearty bread. It is great still warm from the oven with butter and the rest I slice and freeze to use for toast during the week.
Makes 2 small loaves.
- 500gm rye flour
- 350gm bakers flour (strong)
- 10gm dry yeast
- 10gm unsalted butter, chopped
- 18gm salt
- 525ml water.
Place the rye flour, bakers flour, dry yeast, butter and salt into bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix on a low speed until butter has incorporated into flour.
Change to the dough hook attachment. Add water, mix on medium speed until dough starts to combine (there may still be flour at the bottom of the bowl).
As this mixture is quite heavy and dense at this stage I scrape the dough onto a work surface and knead by hand to fully incorporate all the flour. I also split the dough in half and place one half back in the mixing bowl and mix on a medium high speed. While this is happening I knead the other half by hand for 2-3 minutes. I then swap the dough over and repeat. I do this to look after my mixer (which I am more conscious of after my last experience making brioche), and the other reason is I really like kneading dough – it’s very therapeutic 🙂
Combine both pieces of dough and knead until the dough is smooth.
Lightly flour bench, place dough on top and cover with a moist tea towel. Rest dough for 30 minutes.
Cut dough in half. Knead each half into a ball and place each ball on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Use a sharp knife and lightly score lines over the top of the bread. Cover each tray with an oiled piece of plastic wrap.
Rest for at least one hour or until bread has doubled in size.
Bake @ 240°C, for 10minutes. Turn oven down to 190°C and bake for a further 30 minutes. (I am using a gas oven so I turn the bread around at intervals to bake evenly).
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.