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Danish-Style Rye Bread (Rugbrøt)

Chad Robertson / April 2012

Makes 2 1.1 kg (about 2 1/2 lbs.) loaves (requires advance preparation)

Young natural leaven:
• 1,135 g white bread flour
• 1,135 g whole wheat flour
• 455 g lukewarm water
• warm water (78°F) (for feeding)

  1. Mix flours in large bowl; reserve; place lukewarm water in medium bowl; add 315 g reserved flour blend; reserve remaining flour blend for feeding; mix starter with hands until mixture is consistency of thick lump-free batter; cover with kitchen towel; let rest in cool dark place until bubbles form around sides of bowl and on surface of starter (about 2 days; a dark crust may form over top).

  2. Remove 75 g starter; place in clean bowl; discard remaining starter; using your hands, mix in 150 g reserved flour blend and 150 g warm water until mixture is consistency of thick lump-free batter; repeat process every 24 hours at the same time of day until starter ferments predictably, rising and falling throughout day after feeding (15 to 20 days).

  3. On night before making dough, discard all but 1 Tbsp. matured starter; add 200 g reserved flour blend and 200 g warm water; cover with kitchen towel; let rest in cool dark place 10 to 16 hours; drop spoonful of leaven into a bowl of room temperature water to test readiness (if it sinks, it needs more time to ferment and ripen; leaven should develop sweet and pleasantly fermented smell when ready).

Assembly:
• vegetable oil or unsalted butter (for pans)
• 160 g buttermilk, at room temperature
• 120 g dark beer, at room temperature
• 20 g barley malt syrup
• 340 g wheat or spelt flour
• 125 g dark rye flour
• 180 g flax seeds
• 90 g sesame seeds
• 40 g pumpkin seeds
• 40 g sunflower seeds
• 25 g sea salt
• 460 g whole rye berries, soaked overnight and drained

  1. Oil or butter 2 large loaf pans.

  2. Combine 270 g young natural leaven, buttermilk, beer, malt syrup, and 435 g water in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix in flours and seeds on low speed until thoroughly combined (about 5 minutes); cover bowl with kitchen cloth or oiled plastic wrap; let rest 15 to 20 minutes; stir in salt; mix on low speed 10 to 12 minutes.

  3. With motor running, slowly add rye berries; mix until completely incorporated (2 to 4 minutes; when finished, dough will have consistency of wet concrete); cover with kitchen towel; let proof in warm (78°F to 80°F) place 3 hours.

  4. Scoop out dough from bowl with wet hands; divide dough between loaf pans; smooth tops of each loaf with wet hands; let rise in warm place 2 hours; cover with oiled plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.

  5. Heat oven to 425°F.

  6. Score top of loaves as desired; bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaves registers 210°F (75 to 85 minutes); remove from oven; place on wire rack; cool at least half a day before slicing (best to wait until next day).