Russian Rye Bread with Coriander – Week 7

I am a lover of seeded bread and wholemeal bread but rye has never appealed to me (apart from in Ryvita or Rye flakes mixed into my breakfast oats) On finding a recipe for Russian rye I decided to pass. The thought of a dark brown, sludgy, sh***y coloured dough that was going to be hard to knead ending with a potentially brick like loaf that would see me through a long, hard, cold winter did not appeal in the least. Especially in the midst of a delightful English summer.

But….my challenge is to make a different loaf a week. How is it a challenge if I steer clear of the unusual or challenging? Still I remained unconvinced. No, I don’t want to ‘spoil’ my blog with an unappealing recipe. But…….

It was that one word that caught my eye. Coriander. OK maybe I will give it a go I thought. but then two words ‘black treacle‘. Ewwww…..I have clearly read too many stories of suffering, starving people travelling through the Russian steppes at -40° with naught but a solid, black loaf to last them three months. Being a person of African origin I cannot even comprehend any temperature below about -6° nor do I want to.

Who’s going to eat this loaf if I do make it? I know the ingredients are cheap but I have joined the war on waste. I am not going to throw my hard work away.

In the book that I have borrowed from the library called ‘All you knead is Bread’ by Jane Mason I read It’s odd that coriander seeds – both whole and ground – are a traditional cooking and baking ingredient all over northern Europe and Russia, when until recently the leaves and roots were not used at all. Where did all the seeds come from? Where did all the leaves go? They cannot all simply have stayed in Thailand.”

You see there was a kind of battle going on between the words ‘rye’ and ‘coriander’.

In the end as you can see, the coriander won me over and the loaf was


Here is a tip if you decide to make this bread. Don’t even think of cutting into it for the first two days. Trust me on this – and when you do you will be pleasantly surprised. It is really good! Spread with a little butter and eaten with a cup of cooked, freshly brewed coffee makes a very interesting, different and healthy breakfast!

Ingredients Rye bread 2

150g rye flour

150g wholemeal flour

¾tsp instant yeast

¾ cup water

¾ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons dark treacle

2½ teaspoons ground coriander

coriander seeds to sprinkle.

Put all the ingredients (except the coriander seeds) into a large bowl and mix them together with a large wooden spoon.

The dough will be stiff and very sticky. You can use your hands but you may find most of it will be on your hands and very little will stay in the bowl. Rye flour has quite a weak gluten content which isn’t very stretchy so does not need kneading too much. If you use all Rye flour then it needs very little handling.

For a mixture of flours the dough will require kneading. For this loaf I used the dough hook on my machine and left it running for about 8 minutes. Add more water if needed as you want a soft dough the texture of a mud pie.

Grease a small loaf pan and sprinkle some coriander seeds liberally over the base and sides.

Working with thoroughly wet hands gather the dough into a ball. Pass it from one hand to the other to form and smooth it into a shape that will fit the pan.

Place the dough into the pan. It should only come up to about two thirds of the way up the sides.

Don’t try to press the loaf in or tidy it up – the dough will find its own level and settle as you prove it. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave it for about 2 hours.

When the dough has risen to the top of the pan and there are air bubbles on the surface of the pan it will be ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400° F/ Gas mark 6.

Spray or sprinkle some water onto the surface of the loaf and sprinkle with more coriander seeds.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and leave it to cool.

Remember not to cut it for a couple of days!




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