As making salt beef takes ten long (hungry) days, it means you have quite a bit of time to research the most perfect bread for when it is sandwich time. Laurie didn’t have the recipe for her bread so I did what any self-respecting, modern day food blogger would do – I trawled Pinterest until I found just what I was after. It seems a baker chap called Peter Reinhart has a popular recipe for marbled rye loaf which a fair few fellow bloggers have reviewed. I did a heap of reading and came up with something I feel comfortable calling my own marbled rye.

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Like my tomato oregano loaf, this bread is a perfect sandwich loaf. That little bit of butter in each of the rye mixes softens the crumb whilst baking in an oven preheated with a tray of water in the bottom to give a cosmetic approximation to a steam injected professional oven, softens the crust so it really is easy eating. Rye is also an interesting flour as it gives a wholemeal-esque taste plus as those of you who make your own sourdough starters will know, it proves like the clappers! Flippin’ ‘eck, it was a hot and 85% humidity day when I made the loaf photographed here but it rose so fast, it was just balanced precariously on the over-proved/proved border when I quickly ushered it into my oven. Thanks to Hungry Hubby for nipping into the kitchen for a drink a mere 40 minutes after setting the doughs to prove for catching them before there were tears.

Now, I will have to own up that at the time of making, I had run out of caraway seeds and didn’t have any to add to my dough but I highly recommend it and don’t think there is another spice I’d be comfortable recommending you sub with. It is one of those spices which has limited uses in my home but it works beautifully with the flavour of rye flour and its worth buying a small jar of for just such occasions. The combination always makes me think of Scandinavian baking and reminds me of the extremely well documented Hairy Bikers Bakeation – a TV series now a couple of years old where Si and Dave went on a road trip on their motorcycles (as per usual) around Europe, learning about every sort of baking. The scenery was breath taking and the artisanal bakers they visited had me dusting off my passport and researching flights. Alas, I never got there, geographically speaking but culinarily, I feel I have arrived whenever I bake something like this loaf.

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Please don’t be alarmed by the inclusion of a meagre amount of cocoa powder in the recipe – dark rye isn’t actually all that dark when baked and together with the molasses, the cocoa is needed so you have the colour contrast of the pale wheat shade against the chocolatey brown colour not taste of the dark rye. If you didn’t know it was in the list of ingredients, you wouldn’t taste it – Hungry Hubby certainly didn’t suspect a thing and for me, it was much better to add a tablespoon of natural cocoa rather than a tablespoon of food colouring which some recipes online suggested. As always, do whatever makes you happy – it’s your loaf after all.

Marbled Rye Loaf
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For the light rye
  1. 90g light rye flour
  2. 200g strong white bread flour
  3. Fat pinch of salt
  4. 7g fast action yeast
  5. 1 tsp caster sugar
  6. 1 tbsp soft butter
  7. Approx 250ml water
For the dark rye
  1. 90g dark rye flour
  2. 200g strong white bread flour
  3. 1 tbsp cocoa
  4. Fat pinch of salt
  5. 7g fast action yeast
  6. 2 tsp molasses
  7. 1 tbsp soft butter
  8. Approx 250ml water
Instructions
  1. Work with one dough at a time. Add everything to a bowl apart from the water and try to ensure the salt doesn’t come into direct contact with the yeast. Mix together and rub in the butter with your hands or a spatula then gradually add about ¾ of the water – I find it is best to do this by hand as you don’t want to make it too sloppy. Stop adding the water when you have a soft not sticky dough.
  2. Knead for 5-10 minutes by hand or slightly shorter in the stand mixer (which is how I do it) and then pop in a greased bowl and cover with cling. Repeat for the second dough mix and leave them until doubled in size – worth checking at around 40 minutes especially if your kitchen is hot.
  3. When proved, gently deflate the doughs and pat one out in a large rectangle which is as wide as your loaf tin or tins if using two. I lightly spray the work surface with oil rather than using extra flour for this purpose.
  4. Now, pat out the second dough into a rectangle of the same size and here’s the important bit – lay it on top of the first dough rectangle and gently press down to make sure there are no pockets of air between the two layers. The reason being you don’t want them to separate on baking and result in blow holes – I got a small one as you can see in the photos so I obviously need to follow my own advice more closely 😉
  5. Roll up firmly, with tension developing by lightly tugging the roll away from the side which is yet to be rolled as you go. Again, it helps in preventing blow holes and gives better form to the loaf before it proves for a second time.
  6. If using two tins, grease a sharp knife and cut in half before putting seam side down into your tins. Cover with greased cling film allowing for room to expand – the rye gives a very good rise.
  7. Preheat your oven to 250°C whilst the loaf proves and put a small oven proof dish on the bottom shelf half filled with cold water. Caution – this is to create steam so you must step back and mind your face as the steam will billow out to some degree when you open the oven door.
  8. When at least doubled in size, remove the cling film and pop your loaves in the centre of the preheated oven (careful – mind the steam!) and immediately on closing the door, turn the temp down to 200°C and bake for approximately 45 minutes for a single loaf, 30-35 minutes for two. It will have risen further, be browned and will feel light and hollow when tapped.
  9. Cool on a rack only until it’s cooled enough to tip it out onto a oven gloved hand then onto a rack. This prevents the bottom going soggy as steam will be emitted into the tin as the loaf cools if left in there too long.
Notes
  1. Please note the loaf tin I used in the blog post is of unusual dimensions as it is big enough to get two loaves worth of dough in. If you don’t have such a thing (and why would you?) then I advise making two separate loaves in two 2 lb loaf tins.
Every Nook & Cranny https://www.everynookandcranny.net/
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