Half a loaf is better than none

“Half a loaf is better than none”

Finns believe that their bread is the best bread. And of course there are reasons for this.

Finns prefer rye bread, the recipe for which does not include any harmful additives or preservatives. Such bread contains only: flour, water, leaven and a little bit of salt. For the rye bread, Finns use or yeast a special rye leaven, which also gives the bread volume. The leaven can be stored frozen or dry, but not too long, periodically it needs to be "woken up" and the surest way to do this is to bake bread. In Finnish, the leaven is called “leivän juuri”, which means “the root of the bread”. Whole grain bread is good for digestion. In addition, carbohydrates from such bread are digested slowly, maintaining body functions for a long time. This allows you to avoid hunger for longer.

Recipe of Easy Rye Bread (from vegabondbaker.com)

300 ml warm water
1 tbsp black treacle
2 tsp salt
225 g stoneground rye flour
300 g strong white flour
7g fast acting yeast (1 sachet)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted or oil if making vegan


Preheat oven to 190C / 375F /gas 5 a baking sheet and a small foil dish
Begin by dissolving the black treacle and the salt in the warm water.
Combine the rye flour, the white flour and the yeast in a large mixing bowl then slowly add the sweetened warm water, bringing it all together into a rough dough with your hands.

Now add a tablespoon of melted butter, or oil, mixing it in. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or so until the dough relaxes into a dense, fairly smooth ball. Add a little more white flour or water if necessary. You could certainly do this in a mixer with a dough hook.

Place a drop of the melted butter or oil into a clean bowl and roll the dough ball to coat it, now cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until doubled in size. Alternatively, leave in a cold place overnight.
Once doubled in size, knock the dough back down and give it a quick knead, forming it into a round rustic loaf shape.

Transfer to a baking sheet and dust lightly with white flour. You could slash the top a couple of times for decoration if you wish. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for a second time; around half an hour should do it.

The loaf should now have doubled in size. Bake in the preheated oven for around 45 – 55 minutes, placing a small foil dish with water into the oven with it: this should help give a great crust.

When done, it should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Maria Shershevskaia