I made this bread yesterday and realised that I have in fact made it before when I first got my copy of Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman, before I started baking systematically through the book with the Mellow Bakers group. I love this bread and I can’t think why I haven’t made it again till now. So I am really pleased to see it turn up in this month’s breads. That’s the only trouble with wanting to bake everything you read about and only having so much space for carbohydrate consumption.
I love the clean sourdough taste you get with this bread. I love the subtle texture and moistness that the flaxseed (linseed to us English) gives; I love the colour of the crust; I love the fact that the dough is easy to work and shape; I love the way it is easy to slash; and I love eating it. I am an unashamed rye fan, I think rye and sourdough go together beautifully, it is the taste of my childhood, the taste of family lunches and holidays. I am a rye sourdough soul through and through.
So here it is, from the pre-fermented magic of the starter; 20 grams of mature rye sourdough was all it took plus eighteen hours of cool time, to forming a mounded bowl of sourdough preferment, with its little holes peeping through the surface – a spoon cut through reveals the aeration:- Then to the fun of mixing the mucilaginous gooey loveliness of well soaked linseeds. It all looks so unlikely somehow. Thanks to Carl and Choclette for your help with vocabulary and info today. From Choclette’s tweet ‘CT has come to the rescue on this one, the linseed mucilage is a polysaccharide – a mix of different sugars, so definitely carbohydrate’. I know budgies are supposed to sing when you feed them linseed. Don’t worry you can’t hear me tootling away on the internet (yet). Anyway it’s good for you! It works, every time.
There is enough gluten provided by the very strong flour to support the rye component in the dough and I think the linseed juice adds magic glue too! The formula gives you enough dough to make either two big or one big and two little loaves which is what I did here.
I forgot the proving doughs in their banettons on the windowsill and they had an hour longer than they should have done, and were almost fully proved when they went in the oven, though they still had enough spring for the slashes to open up.
Don’t be put off making this bread by what it sounds like, the seeds aren’t crunchy in the bread, nor do they stick in your teeth. If you really don’t like rye, try adapting your regular sourdough formula to include a linseed soaker, or make Dan Lepard’s lovely soya and linseed bread. There’s more than one way to put a loaf together after all and if you get a taste for this sort of bread try this favourite recipe of mine.
For this batch I only had Shipton Mill’s lovely and useful light rye flour left on the shelf and a little french rye so the bread had a very light colour. If you want to see an image of the first time I made this it’s the one in the sidebar. So don’t skip this one whether you are a Mellow Baker or not, give it a go! Ulrike has made it here with darker flour as written and has the details on how she made it for anyone who doesn’t have this wonderful, highly recommended book. As she says, ‘it’s a keeper’, aber doch so ist es!
Edit: A little more on flaxseed – A simple search on Wikipedia reveals there are two colours of seed, brown and yellow, and as you can see I have used the yellow or ‘golden linseed’ here. A little further googling around reminds that one should always soak linseed before consuming it. On a related note, linseed/flaxseed oil is sold as a ‘health supplement’ in many stores as it has lots of GLA. It is good for the bowels providing it is soaked. Bet you wanted to know that! On one site though I came across a warning that if one was taking blood thinners or had epilepsy one should avoid taking the oil capsules. I don’t know if this applies to the whole seed, but it is worth consulting a pharmacist or doctor if you are concerned.