Rye Bread

Fresh bread on a boat is a bit of a luxury. We have always had a preference for a sourdough style of bread, but keeping a sourdough starter alive is not something i seem to be able to do. This recipe makes use of a ‘fast starter’ which helps retain a little of the sourdough flavour we crave. The Rye flour creates a loaf that is slightly ‘heavier’ than the standard white sliced bread and seems to keep longer as well as improve with age (and toasting!)

There are many different tricks that can be done when cooking the dough, such as placing it in a dutch oven. This recipe makes two smaller loaves which means you can use an oven tray. It also leaves a little room in the oven so you can cook something else at the same time. 45 minutes of gas usage is also a bit of a luxury!


  • 7g sachet of dried yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Caster sugar
  • 150 grams strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 350 grams dark rye flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt


Yeast starter

  1. Use a deep bowl for this. you need to allow for at least a doubling in size. Mix the yeast in a bowl with 150ml of hand-hot water and the sugar. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. it will go foamy.
  2. Stir 75grams of the white flour into the yeast. Cover and leave for 2 hours until bubbly.


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 75 grams of white flour with the rye flour and salt.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the four and pour in the yeast mixture along with about 250ml of hand-hot water. Mix together to form a soft and fairly sticky dough.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. To stop it sticking you can add a drop more water to the work surface (gradually) and / or use white flour. You want to retain a slightly wet, elastic dough.
  4. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel.
  5. Leave to rise for about 90 minutes until doubled in size. Knock back and leave to rest for 5 minutes covered with the upturned bowl.
  6. Divide the dough in half and shape into two round loaves. Transfer to a large, lightly floured baking tray  Cover and leave to prove for 90 minutes until doubled in size.
  7. Gently lift the dough and sprinkle some polenta on the tray (to act as a bit of a barrier)
  8. Lightly dust the tops with rye flour. Using a very sharp knife, make three slashes in the loaves at regular intervals, then turn them by 90° and make three more intersecting slashes.
  9. Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven). Bake the loaves for 45 minutes – they should sound hollow when tapped on the base.
  10. Cool the rye bread completely on a wire rack before slicing.


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