Consequently, this bread was made in between long sessions sitting at my desk revising Old English heroic poetry. It seemed quite apt, whilst writing about Anglo Saxon culture and customs, to be making a bread out of rye and ale.
According to my brand new favorite thing (The Oxford Companion to FOOD) rye cultivation entered Europe around 2000BC. When the Anglo Saxons invaded England, they bought rye with them, and for a long time more rye was grown in Britain than wheat.
This recipe uses the traditional combination of rye and strong white flour, mixed with a local Herefordian ale: Butty Bach (Welsh for "little boy" - i'm a font of knowledge today.)
Personally, I think all beer/ale is repulsive, but my Dad requested this bread from Paul Hollywood's new book and it really is absolutely delicious. I'm a total newbie at bread making, and had a minor hiccup towards the end of baking... Here's the recipe:
350g rye flour
150g strong white bread flour
10g fast action dried yeast
50ml black treacle
140ml cool water
250ml full flavoured ale
Olive oil for oiling
Also - 150ml ale (for the topping)
100g rye flour (For the topping)
Pinch of caster sugar
50-75 jumbo oats
Mix the rye and the white flours together in a bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. (You have to do this otherwise the salt kills the yeast.) Add the treacle, 100ml of the water, and 200ml of the ale. Use the fingers of one hand and a clawing action to bring the ingredients together. Continue to add the remaining ale and water, a little at a time, until you have a soft, sticky dough. You may not need all the liquid but try to add as much of it as possible. Rye flour needs more liquid than white wheat flour. (I used all of the ale but didn't use about 50ml of the water.)
Pour a little oil onto the work surface and place the dough on it. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. It will become less sticky as you knead it and turn into a smooth ball with an elastic texture.
|Modelling my dressing gown sleeve..|
|Pre rise bread|
|No, this is not porridge..|
Spoon the beer batter on top of the loaf and smooth it gently with your hands to form a thick, even layer. Sprinkle with oats and dust with flour. Place the loaf on a baking tray, lined with baking parchment or silicon.
|Shaped dough, ready to rise|
I'm not sure why the frisbee effect happened, I think the place I proved it in may have been too warm for the yeast to cope with. If Paul Hollywood, or any other bread experts happen to be reading this, do let me know. Despite the rather odd shape though, the flavour of this bread is sublime, and its amazing with chutney and cheese.