Exploring Sweden and Experimenting with Rye Flour

Exploring Sweden and Experimenting with Rye Flour

In April of 2015, my wife and I completed a long-awaited move to Luleå in the north of Sweden where she joined the university for her PhD degree. Having lived in Egypt all our lives before that, the move wasn’t easy but we’re slowly finding our way around town and starting to make sense of the language and the culture.  One of the things that really stand out for me about food in Sweden is how much of a bread culture they are, which of course means a lot of variety. Being a cold weather country, rye, an ingredient that just doesn’t exist in Egypt, is available in abundance around here. So I decided to pick up a bag of rye flour and try my hand at it.  Unfortunately though, I had to give my sourdough starter that I’ve kept back in Cairo for more than a year to friends. I split it in half and gave to two different friends; one of whom actually used it and sent me pictures which was endearing. She also gave some to her aunt who was fascinated by the idea of a live culture that just keeps going.  Anyway, I used a small amount of instant yeast to get a preferment going and let it sit for about 14 hours at room temperature then proceeded with the rest of the dough. Here’s what I did:  Pre-ferment:426g water + 200g Wheat flour + 200g rye flour + 1/4 tsp yeast  The next day I added 200g of wheat flour, 13g of salt and another 1/4 tsp of yeast. I did three stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals and then let it bulk ferment for an hour. After the hour, I shaped it into a rough round shape (need more practice here) and let it bench-proof for about 35 minutes.  Meanwhile, I pre-heated the oven all the way to 260C with a cast iron skillet in there. I flopped the dough from a towel onto the hot skillet, scored it, added steam and let it cook for about 20 minutes and for 30 more minutes without steam. The end result was a pretty good looking and smelling loaf which tasted very nice. I thought the rye added some depth of flavor and a bit of earthiness that barley flour just didn’t do when I used it back in Egypt.  Anyway, here it is and I’ll definitely keep trying new things with rye flour in the future. Greetings from Sweden and Trevlig Midsommar!     Here’s a look at the crumb:    

Source: Fresh Loaf