Katrine Kirk's Rugbroed

Katrine Kirk's Rugbroed (was Re: Whole-wheat or rye sourdough bread)

In article <900igg$rj6$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <al...@sergey.com> wrote:

> I am desperately looking for a recipe that would have only whole-wheat > and rye flours, the more rye the better, and so far was not able to > find any good rye recipes (that don't have ANY bread flour)

This recipe "requires little work and no kneading at all" according to Katrine. You may wish to try it. It used to be one could just refer you to Deja for this recipe for Danish Rugbroed. But since Deja have hidden all their pre-May/99 archives one can't do that. So on the grounds that others may be interested, and also this will give me an operating URL for this recipe, here is Katrine Kirk's Rugbroed recipe.


Darrell Greenwood


RUGBROED: Danish Rye Bread

The virtues of rugbroed are many. The taste & texture are wonderful. It's cheap and simple to make (although you must allow for some trial & error). It's extremely healthy - very low fat, very fibrous, and very good for your digestive system. It's the one thing I missed the most when I lived in the States for a year and didn't have an oven. Delicious! What more can I say? Except that I'm biased, of course.

The following recipe was given to me by my Aunt Fro. It's a "modern" version of the ancient staple food of Denmark: Rugbroed (=Ryebread). Traditionally, rugbroed was made only from sourdough, rye flour and water, and the process involved a lot of hard work with kneading. My grandmother still makes rugbroed that way, and the results are delicious, but very different from the recipe below.

This bread is very easy to make, in that it requires little work and no kneading at all. The finished bread is extremely heavy, very dark brown, and keeps well for about a week at room temperature. It's not very sour, but has a "dense" flavour that compliments good cheese superbly. We eat it with all kinds of toppings, and rugbroed is the only appropriate bread to have with pickled herrings or pate or cold-cut meats in this country. Rugbroed is very similar to German Schwarzbrot (not pumpernickel), also a pure rye bread.

Making rugbroed is quite different from making any other kind of bread. You can't rely on your intuitions about texture or baking times. I've tried to make careful notes during my own baking process to assist first-time rugbroed bakers, but you should be prepared to attempt this a couple of times before giving up. The "difficult" element is getting the baking time and temperature right, and no two ovens are the same. (After moving to a new apartment this summer, I had to make rugbroed 4 times before I got it "right" again, simply because I had switched from an electric oven to a gas oven.)

If you haven't already got a sourdough starter, you need to allocate a week or so from your start till you are actually eating rugbroed. With a starter on hand it will take three days. (But I think it's worth it.)

Note: I'm including metric measures. I know they don't correspond exactly to the Amercian units, but if you follow all the metric units consistently, the proportions will be correct.

I'm unsure about some of the ingredients. If you can't find malt beer, use any dark beer (NOT Budweiser) or even just water and some malt powder. When I say "cracked rye" I mean rye kernels that are not whole, but chopped up into about 3-4 pieces on average. You could use whole rye kernels/berries, but then you must allow for at least 8 hours rising time before baking (to soften the kernels). "Rye flour" in the recipe is a rather coarsely ground 100% rye flour - with little bits of grain clearly visible in it. "Graham flour" is 100 % wheat with the texture of corn meal; it's probably called something else in other countries. You could omit it and just use rye flour in its place. The same goes for the cracked wheat (wheat grains chopped coarsely) - replace with cracked rye. But I must say that the presence of a little wheat considerably improves the flavour of the bread.


Fro's Rugbroed - recipe for one 2-quart size loaf =================================================

Day 1 Make the sourdough (5 minutes work)

Day 5 Make the sponge (15 minutes work)

Day 6 Make the dough (10 minutes work) ... 3 - 9 hours to rise... Bake the bread (5 minutes work) ... 2 hours to bake ... Cover (2 minutes work)

Day 7 Begin to eat.

I find it's not a problem to find time to do all this if I make the sponge on an afternoon or in the evening, make the dough next morning before going to work, and bake it in the early evening.

Sourdough starter:

1 cup buttermilk (2 1/2 dl)

1/2 cup rye flour (1 1/4 dl)

1/2 tsp salt

Mix buttermilk, rye flour and salt in a bowl, leave to stand uncovered on the counter. (The amounts are approximate - the mixture should be quite fluid. Add more buttermilk or water if the starter thickens too much.) You can also use a good plain yoghurt instead of buttermilk, but add some water if you do. Stir the starter with a spoon at least once a day. Keep it loosely covered with paper or foil from the second day. Don't refrigerate.

From the second or third day, you should see little air bubbles forming in the starter, and it will probably have a more grayish colour than it did at first. It should begin to smell slightly sour, but the smell disappears upon stirring.

Usually the starter takes about 5 days to make. It's ready when it has swollen somewhat in volume and the air bubbles are plentiful after resting for 6 hours or so. The quality of the starter is not terribly crucial; rugbroed doesn't (and shouldn't) rise very much during baking, especially not the no-knead type. With the many grains and very little flour, a high yeast activity would produce a much too crumbly result.

If mold forms on the starter just scrape it off. It's not of a dangerous kind. (So sayeth Fro, my all-purpose reference cookbook and my bread cookbook.) If you can remember to do it, discard a little of the sourdough and feed it with water and rye flour a couple of times per month. Make sure it is fairly thick, though, to inhibit yeast activity and make it less vulnerable to forgetfulness (I'm guessing here, but my thick sourdough starters seem to survive well for long periods in the refrigerator.)

If you are using an old starter for making this bread, it's a good idea to take it out of the refrigerator a day before making the sponge. Stir it up with water or buttermilk to a wet dough and let it rest covered at room temperature. This will revive the yeast activity and give you a better rise in the final bread. It's also possible to use a near-dead sourdough starter and add a little commercial yeast to the dough (cheating is allowed.) However, this will introduce commercial yeast to your subsequent batches of dough. Beer yeast is another possibility.

If you don't plan to use a freshly made starter immediately, cover tightly and refrigerate. It keeps for about a week. If you want to keep it longer, feed it with rye flour to make a somewhat thicker dough. That will keep for several weeks.

Making the sponge:

sourdough starter (all of it, min. 1/2 cup) (1 - 2 dl)

3 cups lukewarm water (7.5 dl)

3/4 cup packed "graham flour" = coarse wheat flour (125 gr.)

3/4 cup packed all purpose flour (125 gr.)

1/2 cup flax seeds (75 gr.)

1/2 cup plain raw sunflower seeds (75 gr.)

1 cup cracked rye grains (175 gr.)

1 1/4 cup cracked wheat grains (200 gr.)

2 tsp. kosher or sea salt (if table salt, use less) (2 tsp)

Note: when making this a second time, omit salt, since it has already been sprinkled on your starter.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, cover with wet towel, and let stand at warm room temperature until next day. (At least 12 hours, but up to 36 hours is fine. Sourness increases with standing, but won't be very predominant in the final result anyway.) Dampen towel when dry to prevent moisture loss from the sponge - which could affect the final result.

(The sponge is very thin and liquid when just mixed, but will quickly become quite thick from the grains absorbing liquid.)

Making the dough:

1 cup malt beer (or water + 1 tbsp. malt powder) (2.5 dl)

1 tbsp. packed brown sugar (or dark syrup) (15 ml.)

1 tsp. ground caraway seeds (optional) (5 ml.)

3 cups cracked rye grains (500 gr.)

Stir all ingredients together with the starter and pour into a greased loaf pan that will hold 2 quarts (2 liters). If you think you'd like to make this bread again, save 1 cup of dough to use as a starter next time. Put this in a jar, sprinkle with 2 tsp. coarse salt, cover tightly and refrigerate. The dough should be wet and just barely liquid, like a very thick porridge.

Let the bread rise in the loaf pan, covered with a damp towel, for at least 3 hours, or even the whole day, at room temperature. (Warmer if you take the shorter rising time.) The longer the proof, the more sour the taste. This recipe is not very sour in itself (not as much as Schwarzbrot, for instance).

The bread won't rise very much, perhaps only an inch or so.

Paint the top of the bread with melted butter or cold water. Put it in a cold oven and set the temperature at 390 F (200 C).

>From the time the oven is warm, the baking time is about 90 minutes. If the top looks like it's blackening, cover with tin foil.

It's very difficult to tell when the bread is done. Take it out of the loaf pan and give it a knock on the bottom with your fist. If it doesn't resonate hollowly, it certainly isn't done. If it sounds hollow, insert a bamboo skewer into the middle. If the tip comes out clean, it's _probably_ done. The crust should feel quite hard. If in doubt, leave the bread in the oven as the oven cools.

Don't attempt to slice the bread for at least 10 hours after baking. It's actually best 2 or 3 days old.

Place the bread on a rack and cover with a towel (unless you are leaving it in the oven). Leave it till next day.

Slice rugbroed very thinly (1/4 inch, 0.5 - 0.75 cm) and serve with butter and/or cheese.

>From the day after it's baked, store rugbroed in a bread box or plastic bag at cool room temperature. It freezes quite well, but tends to become a little crumbly after thawing. Rugbroed stays fresh for about a week.

If you have problems:

If the bread seems very wet inside upon slicing, try putting it back in the oven to be warmed through at a fairly low temperature. I think about 1/2 hour at 100 C / 210 F would be appropriate. Even a perfectly baked loaf will be a little sticky the day after it's baked, but it improves over another day or two. If the crust stays extremely hard on the second day, try lowering the oven temperature a little and extending baking time the next time you attempt. Much depends on the shape of your loaf pan (wide & flat or short & tall make a world of difference) and on the actual moistness of the dough. I can only recommend that you make careful notes about what you are doing so you know what to adjust a second or third time.

If you like the _taste_ of the bread, but not its crust or wetness the first time, please try making it again. It really is a learning process.

And if you happen to _really_ like this recipe, I think it would be fun if you sent my aunt a postcard. She has no idea what Internet is, but does understand English. (She doesn't even know I've published her recipe here.) Her address is:

Fro Galskov Praestemosevej 24 DK-3480 Fredensborg Denmark

Thanks to Bill (aa...@po.cwru.edu) and Barnaby (bar...@world.std.com) for help in figuring out how to "internationalise" my ingredients.


There are two basically different approaches to making rye bread. You can either make a traditional regular dough that needs kneading, or a rather thick porridge using whole grains that are left to set via water absorption. The following recipe is of the kneaded sort.

The sourdough we use for rye bread is made from buttermilk and rye flour left uncovered for a day or two, then loosely covered and stirred regularly for another 3-5 days until it smells right. 3/4 cup is enough for a large loaf.

Use water, sourdough, salt and rye flour. Replace some of the water with dark beer for better flavor, or add some malt. Make a dough that is somewhat wetter than for white bread, and let it rest a good half hour or more. On my grandmothers advice:

1/2 to 1 cup rye sourdough

1/2 to 1 Tbsp. sea salt (or Kosher salt)

3 cups lukewarm water

Stir these together until well mixed. Add the following:

1 1/2 pound rye flour (a fairly coarse grind) (For those who don't mind wheat: replace slightly under 1/2 pound of the rye with regular all-purpose flour. This will produce a chewier bread with a slightly lighter texture.)

Hold back a little of the rye to see if you need it all. You might need more. Rye flour takes longer to absorb water than wheat flour, and that is why it needs to seem "wet" just after mixing.

Leave it in a large, flat bowl to rest (to prevent "oozing"). Then knead the dough on your counter top or in the bowl by punching the middle thin and folding the sides over the middle repeatedly. My grandmother does this for about 10 minutes, and the dough becomes smoother and more elastic as she works it. Don't expect it to achieve the texture of of white bread dough. If you are using pure rye flour the texture will be somewhat like wet clay.

Save a 3/4 cup lump of dough at this stage, if you plan to make the bread again. Put it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, sprinkle salt on top, and refrigerate for up to a month.

Shape the rest of the dough into an elongated loaf and press it into a well-greased 2 to 2 1/4 quart loaf tin. (If using anything smaller, the baking times below will be off.) Run a wet hand over the top, cover with a damp towel, and leave to rise to near double size, typically 4-6 hours, in a warm place.

Run a wet hand over the top of the bread again before placing in heated oven. Bake at a much lower temperature than you would for wheat. 1/2 hour at 200 C (390F) followed by 1 1/2 hour at 175 Celsius (350F) is probably about right. A bamboo skewer inserted into the middle should come out free of large bits of dough, but slightly sticky to the touch. Take it out of the oven, sprinkle a little cold water on the crust if it seems very hard, and leave to cool on a rack covered by a slightly damp towel.

This traditional bread is supposed to be a little sticky on the inside when it is freshly baked. It is also supposed to be sliced very thinly, revealing a thick, dark crust (which frankly is a little hard on your teeth) and a moist brown bread with many, many little air bubbles. It should taste distinctly sour.

This bread is best at least a day after it is baked. It will keep for a week or so. Slice it 1/2 centimeter or 1/5 inch thick, butter lightly, and make open-face sandwiches.


The following toppings are traditional in Denmark:

Liver pate, garnished with cucumber, pickled cucumbers or pickled beets

Pork fat, liver pate, aspic, thinly sliced salt meat, raw onion rings, and cress or water cress. For this fancy sandwich, the liver pate is warmed a little first.

Salami, with "remoulade" (a yellow mayonnaise-based sauce with capers & pickles) and crisp fried onion bits or fresh onion rings

Hot mustard, cold ham and mayonnaise stirred with peas & carrot bits (frozen), garnish with a little tomato and/or cress or mustard sprouts.

Cold sliced "frikadeller" (fried meat balls) with red cabbage slaw (red cabbage boiled with vinegar, apple, sugar and red currant juice, served hot or cold).

A lettuce leaf with hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise and prawns. Dill or cress.

Pickled herrings in all kinds of sauces (don't even think about eating pickled herrings on white bread. ;-) urgh!)

White herrings are served with slices of onion, capers, and perhaps half a hard-boiled egg on the side.

Kids often eat rye bread spread with butter and topped with slices of banana. (Or Nutella or chocolate thins!)

And of course, it almost goes without saying: cheese, cheese, cheese.

Back to baking... If you have problems, I can only suggest that you try again. In other words, experiment, take notes of what you do, and change baking times, temperatures, or wetness of dough next time if you aren't satisfied. Good luck doesn't hurt either. Best wishes...

Katrine Kirk email: k...@cbs.dk

P.S. Like I said in the other recipe for Danish rye bread, I think it would tremendous fun if you have success with the recipe to send it's creator a postcard. My grandmother would be thrilled. She originally came from the Faroe Islands in the 1930's, taking this recipe with her. I don't know where it originated, but she received it from her older sister with a lump of sourdough before my grandmother set sail for Denmark. Her address is as follows:

Brynhild Kirk Peder Gydes Vej 57 6700 Esbjerg Denmark

No obligations, of course. :)

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Edited 10/14/16 by Sourdough@CarlsFriends.net (Mary Buckingham) format html file, corrected spelling

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