Rugbrød is a staple in, dare I say, all Danish households and it is the foundation for most pieces of Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) whether it be the elaborate pieces bought in restaurants or the common pieces found in the daily Danish lunch box. What makes Rugbrød super healthy is that it is very low in fat, has no oils, no sugars and it is typically loaded with whole grain and fiber. That being said, there are many different versions of Rugbrød, some packed with seeds and grains, others with only the basics.
Speaking as a Dane living in the US, the lack of Rugbrød can be a source of frustration and so you have to adapt. Either you go without, or perhaps you are lucky to live close to a place where they sell a dried-out version of Rugbrød or you bake it yourself. And let me tell you that baking it yourself is worth every bit of effort you put into it, I promise! Baking Rugbrød is not difficult at all but it takes planning. It’s sometimes difficult to gather all the special ingredients required and hopefully you have the special size bread pan that everyone in Denmark possess. If not, it can be purchased on Amazon. And for all the special ingredients I use Bob’s Red Mill products because they carry everything I need. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and find some of the ingrediens at the local supermarket but I usually have to buy the rest online (once again, thank you amazon).
I would like to note that Danish Rugbrød is different than the German Pumpernickel bread and the two words are often a source of confusion when translating the name into English as Dark Rye bread. Pumpernickel is darker in color, stronger in flavor and it is steamed for a long period of time to allow the ingredients to caramelize.
How do you maintain your sourdough starter? If you talk to ten different people you’ll likely get ten different answers. This is how I do it. To continue feeding your sourdough starter add 3 oz (1 1/2 deciliter) Dark Rye flour and 5 oz (1 1/2 deciliter) water to remaining sour dough starter, mix and allow to bubble up before storing in refrigerator. Continue to feed starter once a week while in fridge. As a general rule keep it cold when the sourdough starter is resting and at room temperature when it’s getting ready to be used for baking. Remove starter from refrigerator 24 hours before baking your bread and feed it twice (every 8 hours) at room temperature before using.
Rye Sour Dough Starter
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
10 fl oz water (3 deciliter)
6.2 oz Dark Rye flour (3 deciliter or 175 gram)
Day 1: heat water to 100-110 degrees F and remove from heat. Sprinkle yeast over water, give a quick stir and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir Rye flour into yeast mixture until smooth. Cover bowl loosely with a lid and let sit out on your counter at room temperature.
Day 2: add 2 oz Rye flour and stir (1 deciliter or 60 gram)
Day 3: stir dough.
Day 4: stir dough.
Day 5: in the morning or evening mix 1/2 of the sour dough starter with the following ingredients.
Rugbrød (makes 1 loaf)
1/2 of the sour dough starter (approx 7 oz or 1 1/2 deciliter)
9.7 oz Dark Rye flour (275 gram)
11 oz Cracked Rye (Bob’s Red Mill) (5 deciliter or 315 gram)
10.5 oz Whole Wheat flour (300 gram)
2.8 oz Flaxseeds (1 deciliter or 80 gram)
24 liquid ounces cold water (7 deciliter)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
Oil a 13 x 4 x 4 inch bread pan and set aside. Mix all of the ingredients together, stirring to make sure there are no dry pockets left within the dough. Pour into oiled pan and smooth top of dough. Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 10 to 12 hours. Before baking, pierce the dough with a skewer 20 times. Brush top of dough with an oil/water mixture and bake in a 400 degrees F preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. After baking allow bread to cool in the pan on a baking rack. When bread is still a little warm place in a plastic bag. The condensation inside the bag will help soften the very hard outer crust. Once completely cooled remove the bread from the moist bag, wipe the bag dry before placing the bread back into the bag. The bread is now ready for slicing or freezing. Enjoy!
This recipe has been submitted to YeastSpotting.
Source: adapted from Camilla Plum