At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ganache-Elf goes continental :p Rye Bread!!!

I dedicate this post to one of my lovely readers <3 : she was telling me about traditional Russian cuisine and the fact that the Russians love their fresh bread, and that one of her particular favourites was rye bread and a little butter. I have never had this kind of bread before and I was immediately tempted...and at the moment, what with one thing and another, the theraputic effects I associate inextricably with bread-making were very attractrive indeed. And so that's what I did. The sleeves were rolled up to the elbow, the ocoa-stained apron was once again hastily pulled from the drawer, and the recently bought bag of flour which I had purchased in Tesco the other week was tentatively opened. An aura of mystery surrounded that very was rye flour, and Ganache Elf has certainly never baked with rye flour before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. And you might laugh but as I tore the paper seal, I was enchatnted - instantly. Why? because of the aroma that wafted free from that bag as I opened it. Earthy, is how I would best describe it to you. It was divine. A curious sense of excitement overcame me and I immediatly set about transforming that gorgeous-smelling flour into a beautiful load of bread.

And did magic happen? Yes, of course it did. :)
(Ehee...can you see the little gap in the neat piece I cut from the bread? Looks like a little mouse had a nibble at it. That mouse was me, by the way. I was just so excited when I took this from the oven I had to try it straight away! :) )

It was as wonderful as it smelled...a dense, crumbly kind of texture, with a distinctive, almost nutty sort of flavour, with a hint of sweetness lent by the addition of one of my favourite ever baking ingredients...that extremely decadent concoction known as black treacle. ;) And so now I find myself in as much awe of Russian baking as much as I am for the French. And now  find myself torn between the light and airy baguette and this more unusual but equally delicious cousin...well anyway, I think you all can tell what my protein-snack was today ;) rye bread slathered in peanut butter....yummyyyyyy <3

And so here is my recipe...and can I take this opportunity to say a bigggg thank you to my special reader <3 she is AMAZING and I dedicate this whole post to her <3 <3 <3 
  • 350 g wholegrain rye flour
  • 100 g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 1 tsp instant yeast (or a 7g satchet should do grand. :)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light brown soft sugar
  • About 300 ml warm water
  • About 2 tbsp olive oil + a little extra
  1. Sieve the white flourand salt into a bowl and add the rye flour. (i didn't bother sieving the rye flour because there are bits in it anyway that wont go through the sieve.)
  2. Stir in sugar and yeast. Add the treacle to the warm water. (Tip: use a heated tablespoon to measure out the treacle, it makes it alot easier to handle. :)
  3. make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Add in the 2 tbsp olive oil. 
  4. Mix together with your hands to form a soft ball of dough. It shouldn't be too moist, but it shouldn't be too dry either: just soft and slightly smooth to the touch, though because of the rye flour it won't feel as smooth as ordinary bread dough. Anyway, if it feels to dry add a little more water, and if it's a little too much on the sticky side add a little more flour.
  5. Pour a little oil on your worktop. Spread it out with your hand, and then turn the dough out onto the greased surface. 
  6. Knead for about 8-10 minutes. Don't worry if it doesn't feel quite so elasticy as normal bread dough. Grease a clean bowl and place the dough in it, and cover with greased clingfilm.
  7. Place the bowl in a warm, draught-free place to rise. because the dough is denser and heavier than other doughs, this might take much longer than you might expect: about 2 or 3 hours at least, maybe even four if it's not particularly warm. It was cold here in Ireland today, hence my dough took about three and a half hours to rise!
  8. Line a baking tray with baking paper, or if it's non-stick you might just want to grease it. Give the dough a punch to knock out the air, and then turn onto the work surface again. Knead briefly for a few minutes.
  9. Shape the dough into a smooth-sided, oval-shaped round. Do this by rolling it gently back and forth on the worktop into a rugby ball shape before gently pressing it down with the palms of your hands. Place the round on the baking tray. If you like, mark a deep ridge in the top of the load using the blade of a very sharp knife.
  10. Cover with greased clingfilm one more and leave to rise for a second time. Again this will take longer than normal bread dough...about 2 hours, or even longer if it's a cold day. Mine took roughly 2 and a half.
  11. Preheat the oven to 210c/190 c fan.
  12. Remove cling film and bake your loaf for about 20-30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to make sure if isn't getting too dark. test for doneness by tapping on the base of the loaf - it should sound hollow. 
  13. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. If you like a lovely soft crust like I do, then wrap securely in a clean tea towel while it cools.
  14. It is gorgeous eaten warm...serve it as an accompaniment to soup or with cheese, or perhaps with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for a posh lunch. Or, alternatively you might prefer to eat it on its own, with a little jam or honey or peanut butter..or, as my dear reader suggested, with a thin slice of butter as they do in Russia. I would suggest the best way to cut this bread would be first to slice off the top and bottom edges, and then cut the loaf in half. 
  15. Then, slice off even sized-pieces off the shorter cut side of each half, as thick or as thin as you like. :) Any leftover pieces can be frozen and taken out as required, heated in the oven or the microwave if you like to eat your bread warm. :)

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