*The Starter: Using no reactive metal containers, glass being better and similar non reactive mixing tools, mix first, 3 cups of dark rye flour (it is preferable to mill your own from rye berries) 10 fluid ounces of filtered or steam distilled water (no tap water) leave this in the bowl on the counter covered with plastic wrap for a couple of days or until signs of fermenting activity.
At this point add another cup of dark rye flour and 4 more fluid ounces of water stir well and recover with the plastic. After this has become active, add 1/2 cup of dark rye flour to the mix and recover with the plastic letting it 'age' overnight.
It is important to keep the starter always covered as the mixture of microbial agents you are encouraging are already present on the rye flour. It is important to avoid any possible spoilage bacteria that may be present during the long fermenting process.
If you grind your own rye flour from rye berries you will be much more likely to be successful in the production of this starter. But dark rye flour from the store should work as well.
Lastly, after the removal of the 2 cups of starter for the bread, add more rye flour to the remainder of the starter until fairly stiff, pat this down flat in the bottom of the bowl and cover with the 'good' water (not mixed in only on top) to a depth of about one inch. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and it will keep well in the refrigerator without further attention for a week to ten days, at which time it will be needed for another loaf.
This amount of dough was calculated to fit a La Forme silicon lined pan with top
dimensions of 11-1/2 X 4-1/4 and 3 inches deep
I prefer to grind all my own flour with the exception of oats. I've been unable to
find the kind of oats I require for grinding at home.
I wanted a completely whole grain bread without any white flour a minimum of salt
and no oil, not even in the pan. If you do not have a silicone lined pan like the La
Forme I use, you will need to oil your pan as this loaf will stick if not cooked
properly. I used to make this recipe for a large La Forme pan that was not silicone
lined. It was enameled steel and pretty smooth but still oil was required to get
the larger loaf out of this pan.
I added the boiled mashed potatoes to the recipe after reading something about
that in the King Arthur flour catalog. It just said if you were cooking with whole
grain flour the potato would help to cut down on the crumble associated with these
fiber and bran rich flours and they were right, it does a good job for this problem.
This bread has lasting qualities unlike other breads. It is reliable to expect a
loaf will last a week without the chance of any mold forming. This has been my
experience. Although there are cake like qualities after three days, it is still
an excellent sandwich bread. Because of the potato the loaf stays pliable and can
be cut into very thin slices if required, even after one week.
Inspired by the Danish Kleiebrot of WWII.
Not many people like bread this austere and I have offered a whiter shade of brown
by changing the PART TWO of the recipe:
For a lighter yet unmistakably whole meal bread, change part two of the recipe to
400 g malted unbleached white all purpose flour (or similar white bread flour)
225 ml water
1-1/2 tsp Normoutier salt
4 fluid ounces of mashed potatoes
1/4 tsp of dry yeast
mix the yeast into the water and wait about 10 minutes then add the salt and
potatoes and blend everything until smooth with an immersion hand blender
mix all that with the white flour by hand until you have a smooth lump place in a
bowl for two hours or until the yeast proofs well then punch it down again and
flatten somewhat on the table and add the preferment dough on top and knead these
two dissimilar doughs into one mass. This is a lot of work it cannot be denied as
they do not meld together easily. A fancy mixer like one of those from Sweden might
be useful if you did a lot of these loaves, but for one or two now and again hand
mixing isn't too bad.
This makes a very lively dough after the two doughs one with yeast and one with an
active levain are kneaded into one dough. It rises about twice as fast as the 100%
whole grain dough and twice as high if you let it. The results are good most people
wouldn't know it had any white flour in it. The potatoes make for a moist and
tender style of bread that would probably be liked by most people who thought they
didn't like whole wheat flour. For a restaurant setting this would be the bread to
offer if a whole grain bread was your huckleberry.
A note on the strange measurements. I prefer to weigh my flours on a
semi-accurate portion scale instead of the ponderous cups plus it makes for more
consistency over time. I make coffee in one liter lab beakers that have
milliliters printed on the side so I use them to measure out water and have
found for the mashed potatoes a regular wide mouth glass (or transparent) two cup
kitchen measure works the best. For measuring out very small quantities like dried
yeast and salt, a set of measuring spoons will suffice.