Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Dark Rye 35% with Raisins and Walnuts

It’s been far too long since anyone here has heard of anything popping out of my oven. The friends I meet during the week don’t count since they happily keep mum with all the bread I’ve been chucking at them.

Truth is, I haven’t had much inspiration for the stove. Life has been dull and uneventful, and I feared my food will turn out far from pretty. But see, I need my bread every day, even if I have to resort to spree-ing at Paul (post on that soon) so that I may have breakfast the next few days. I haven’t been home long enough to bake my favourite carbohydrate, let alone harbour thoughts of it. But finally, inevitably, tasting some of the loaves that Paul had to offer was the very reason why I got fed up and threw together a pre-ferment for home-made bread the next day.

Meet my Dark Rye version 3.0.

The first post I did on my Dark Rye was a 55% loaf (percentage of dark rye flour to total bread flour), was more earthy, tacky, dense, and took 40 minutes in the oven. I decided to give it multiple facelifts, finally refining it into what I think is the best dark rye loaf anyone could ask for: light, more nutty than earthy, studded with crunchy walnuts and sweet raisins, a killer crust, and took only 25 minutes to bake.

Of course, here’s the mandatory crumb shot:

I usually bake more than my family can finish in a week and give a couple of loaves away. But this, I’m not sharing. Unless you make a pilgrimage to my place where I’ll be smearing toasty slices with salted butter and sipping a good ol’ cup of coffee.

You can do anything with this dark rye. Butter, ham, sausages, cheeses…

But above all, I’d recommend what is quite possibly the best toast combination I discovered on accident that only an alchemist could rival: French salted butter, a drizzle of honey, camembert cheese (optional, I didn’t have any today), and – trust me on this – an Italian Herb mixture.

Hey, salty, sweet, floral. Go figure. Italian Herbs belong on pasta you say? Pfft! They belong on my toast.

Dark Rye 35% with Raisins and Walnuts

As usual, rye is tricky. I would suggest using an electric dough mixer, or a bread machine to mix the dough. The recipe has only been tweaked in this one, but the results are incredible.

Equipment: Metal bench scraper (your best friend), stand mixer, plastic container with a lid/large bowl covered with plastic wrap.

Makes: 3 large loaves or 4 medium

For the Fermented White Dough:

  • 300g bread flour
  • 210g water
  • 5g salt
  • A pinch of instant yeast


1. Mix all the ingredients for the fermented white dough together in a bowl.

2. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead briefly to combine most of the ingredients together. Don’t worry about dry lumps.

3. Place the dough into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rest at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to 48 hours (bring out to warm up for at least an hour before using if you have placed it in the fridge).

For the Dark Rye Dough:

  • 300g Dark Rye Flour
  • 204g Bread Flour
  • 515g Fermented White Dough (all of it)
  • 11g Salt
  • 398g Water
  • 1.5 tsp Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tsp Ground Coffee (not instant coffee)
  • 100g Raisins
  • 100g Walnuts, roughly chopped


1. Combine all the ingredients together, except the raisins, in the bowl of your stand-mixer (or a large bowl if you’re doing it by hand). The dough will be very sticky, but it’s normal. Mix the dough for 8-10 minutes. Add the raisins and mix till well-distributed.

2. Flour/oil a large bowl or plastic container and place dough inside. Cover and leave to rest for 1 hour.

3. With wet hands (to prevent sticking), fold the dough from left to middle, right to middle, top to middle, and bottom to middle. Cover container and leave to rest for 1 hour.

4. Repeat step 3.

5. Lightly flour your work surface, turn out the dough and divide into 3 or 4 medium loaves with your bench scraper. Tuck each piece of dough in onto itself, rolling it into a tight ball or oblong shape (whichever you prefer). Use flour to prevent sticking.

6. Place shaped doughs onto a liberally floured couche (cloth), at least 10cm apart. Cover with another couche and let rest for 1.5 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 250C, misting the oven with a water spray. Sprinkle your peel with semolina or normal white flour and gently transfer your loaves from the couche onto the peel by slipping your hand under the couche and carefully tipping the loaf over onto the peel. Be as gentle as possible to retain the air in the dough.

8. Slash the doughs if you wish. Open oven door, slide the loaves in. Mist the oven if you know how to (not recommended if you’re unsure). Bake at 250C for 5 minutes, misting the oven every minute during this period, before turning the heat down to 210C for the next 20 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom after baking.

9. Turn off the oven and leave the loaves inside for another 10 minutes. This will produce a good, thick crust.

10. Remove loaves from the oven, and let the bread cool completely. Store the loaves in a ziplock bag in the fridge if they are not consumed within 3 days. They will keep for a few weeks in the fridge, longer in the freezer.

6 responses to “Dark Rye 35% with Raisins and Walnuts

  1. oysterdiaries February 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Sigh I’m never good at baking bread! The cross section looks beautiful by the way (:

  2. Serene March 13, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Beautiful crumb! Looks nice n soft!

    • Serene March 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

      I wish I can bake like you – I can hardly find breads like this here. May I know where can I find those caraway seeds?

      • Christine Leow March 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm

        You can get caraway seeds at Redman/Phoon Huat. =) And it is true that it’s so hard to find good bread, which is why I started making my own, really. Haha.

  3. Serene March 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks a lot Christine! You are awesome! 🙂

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