I’ve been playing with sourdough since last June when a friend inspired me to try it anew. My previous attempts had failed and left me disheartened. Now, we natter on about the lively and unexpected behavior of starter, the amount of moisture we used for the last loaf of bread, if we put it in the refrigerator overnight, and so on and so forth.
Up until this month, all of my loaves have been a simple white sourdough. This month, however, something changed, shifted. I found myself wanting rye bread. Maybe this was due to the longer days, the brighter mornings, or the vernal equinox, but I missed rye bread. I missed the heartiness of rye breads and their delightful flavors. Mostly, I missed Swedish Limpa Bread, a tradition of the winter months that I skipped entirely the last two years.
I found myself wanting to make a sourdough rye, just to see how it turned out, and came across this recipe called Bohemian Rye at the Sourdough Home website. This I used as a basis for my Swedish Limpa recipe. I examined it closely and made substitutions haphazardly, all to good effect. I made no changes to the dry ingredients except adding caraway, fennel, and anise seeds as well as rehydrated dried orange peel. I made copious changes to the wet, which I think of as including the starter, water, and butter. To the wet, I made the changes of a little less starter, buttermilk and water instead of just water, molasses, and a 1/2 cup of melted butter instead of the 2 tablespoons.
The resulting bread was a delightful, light and sweet rye bread, which was much less dense than that I’ve made with commercial yeast. This weekend, I tried my hand at Onion Caraway Sourdough Rye Bread. I kept a few of the adaptation made for the Swedish Limpa but used mostly caraway seeds, a touch of fennel, and sauteed onion instead of orange. I did make some mistakes and tried baking it differently, which I am not entirely pleased by, but the bread is still very edible and enjoyable.