After a very brief flirtation with Mr Vogel in recent weeks I am back in the swing of breadmaking. The thing that got me hooked again was a determination to get this particular loaf right. At first it was too dry, then it was too wet. After much tinkering and many substandard results, this is the perfect one. It's based on a poolish - like a starter - that you should really leave overnight to ferment. I can tell you, however, that it still works if you only leave it for a couple of hours. Whatever works, right?
Light rye poolish bread
If you've got a freestanding mixer then this is about as hands-free as it gets. If you don't have a freestanding mixer, then this will be a true labour of love as the dough is very wet and sticky. I'm working on one you can make in a no-knead style. Stay tuned.
60g rye flour
40g strong white flour
1/4 tsp dried yeast
250ml warm water
Mix the poolish ingredients together in the bowl of your mixer and cover with plastic. Set aside for at least three hours, preferably overnight or all day.
1tsp dried yeast
175ml warm water
500g strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Stir the poolish and other ingredients together, then turn on the mixer at low speed and let it pummel it into a soft, sticky dough (this will take about five minutes). Scrape the dough out of the bowl, then grease the bowl with a little oil. Tip the dough back in and roll it around to coat the top, then cover with plastic and leave in a warm place until risen (about 1 ½ hours).
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and knock down, then press out gently into a rectangle. Roll up into a loaf shape, then fit inside a large, well-greased loaf tin. Leave to rise for 35 minutes, which should be enough time to preheat the oven to 210C.
When the dough is springy to touch, slash the middle with a sharp knife and put in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom. Tip it out of the tin and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing. This bread stays fresh for several days and freezes well.