This rye sourdough boule is packed with soaked seeds and full of flavour. It creates a dense crumb, and is fantastic slathered in butter or paired with cheeses and homemade pickles. We use our light rye to bake this, which John learned to mill when visiting the 18th century mill of Michelbacher Mühle, west of Cologne, who taught him all about this flour. It produces a lighter crumb than some of the dark ryes which are denser and contain more bran, which helps to balance the density of the seeds.
Makes 1 large sourdough boule, 800g
The day before you want to make the bread, mix up the starter. In a large bowl big enough the fit the whole mix the next day weigh in the “old” starter from your existing culture (this can be from an existing rye or wheat starter), then add the 175g of rye flour and cold water. Mix well, cover and set aside.
The day before you want to make the bread also mix up the soaker. In a bowl, weigh in the seeds (you can use any seeds, chopped rye or sprouted grains for this) and add the hot water. Mix well, cover and set aside.
The next day, make the dough. Add the soaker (both the seeds and water), rye flour and salt to the new starter you have made. Mix really well for a few minutes until everything is smooth. The mixture will be incredibly sticky.
Flour your worktop liberally and scoop the dough out of the bowl. Mould it in to a round, using a lot of flour. Place it into a generously floured prooving basket and prove for one to two hours, until the top of the dough begins to crack.
Preheat the oven and your casserole pot / Dutch oven to 240°C for at least 30 minutes in advance.
Flip the loaf out of the basket on to some baking parchment paper (there is no need to score this loaf, it should create beautiful cracks on the top.)
Lift it into your hot casserole pot using the parchment paper and place it in the oven for 20 minutes with the lid on, to create steam.
Reduce the heat to 220°C. Carefully remove the lid and continue to bake for 30-40 minutes until it is cooked through (a metal skewer should come out clean).
Place on a wire rack to cool. Rye bread often slices better the day after baking, so allow it to cool thoroughly for a minimum of five to six hours before slicing.