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Rye and Malt Sourdough

by Justin Gellatly from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding

An impressive rye and malt bread recipe from Justin Gellatly. Using a sourdough starter, this beautiful bread is great with smoked seafood or garlic sausages.


If you are using the rye grain you will need to start this bread a day in advance, as you need to leave it to soak for 24 hours.

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100g rye grain and 80g water (optional) or you can use 100g rye flakes
500g rye flour, plus extra for dusting
220g sourdough starter (see recipe link below)
1 tbsp liquid malt extract
300g water
15g fine sea salt

Essential kit

You will need an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment.

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If using the rye grain, first preheat the oven to l80°C/fan l60°C/gas 4. Put the rye seeds on a baking tray and toast until golden brown (15-20 minutes), shaking occasionally. Pour them into a metal bowl and straight away pour the water over them. Leave for 24 hours, then drain.

Put the flour; rye flakes or soaked rye grain (reserving some for the top), sourdough starter; malt extract and water into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix together on low speed for 2 minutes, until a ball is formed – it will be a bit sticky Leave for 10 minutes to rest, uncovered, in the bowl, then add the salt, turn on the mixer again and mix for a further 4 minutes on medium speed. Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a ball (it will be quite sticky and a little hard to handle), then place in a floured bowl, sprinkle it with more flour and cover. Leave to prove for 3 hours, then shape it into a tight ball again. Place it top down in the floured proving basket/bowl and leave to prove for 2½ hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan l80°C/gas 6.

Sprinkle some rye flour on the top of the sourdough, then gently turn it out on to a baking tray and shape it into an oval loaf roughly 25cm x 15cm. Sprinkle it with a little more rye flour and the reserved rye flakes or grain and place it in the oven. Splash a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of the oven (to make some steam), then close the door quickly Bake for 40 minutes, then turn down the oven to l80°C/fan l60°C/gas 4. Take the loaf off the tray place it directly on an oven rack and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Best to leave until the next day before eating, as the crumb can be a bit soft and ‘gummy’.

Great with smoked fish or for making a sandwich with garlic sausage and plum ketchup. Also makes amazing croutons.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Proving/resting time: 5½ hours
Cooking time: 1 hour

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