Rye Bread looks as good as it tastes – and it’s nutritious) too! Serve sliced, with plenty of butter. Or try it with cheese or garlic sausage for a special snack.
1 oz. fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ pints plus
4 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 lb. rye flour
1 lb. strong white flour
1? tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg white lightly beaten with
1 tablespoon water
Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the 4 tablespoons of lukewarm water and cream the water and yeast together to form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast is puffed up and frothy.
Put the rye flour, white flour and salt into a very large mixing bowl. Add the soft brown sugar and mix the ingredients together well. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture, the oil and enough of the remaining water to make the dough pliable. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.
Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.
Using the butter, grease two very large baking sheets and set aside.
Turn the dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for a further 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces, then shape each piece into a ball. Place 3 of the balls on each baking sheet. Cover the baking sheets with 2 damp cloths and set aside for 30 to 40 minutes or until the balls have risen and almost doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).
Place the baking sheets in the centre of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and, using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the loaves with half of the glaze. Return the baking sheets to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and, with the pastry brush, brush the loaves again with the remaining glaze. Return the baking sheets to the oven and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes or until the loaves are rich, golden brown in colour and the undersides of the loaves sound hollow when rapped with your knuckles.
If the loaves do not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to warm 325°F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C), return the loaves, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Cool the loaves on a wire rack.