Black treacle adds a rich sweetness to this rye loaf. Perfect for posh picnic sandwiches.
Equipment and preparation: You will need a large, round proving basket for this recipe.
Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the treacle and three-quarters of the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers.
Continue to add the remaining water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
Coat a clean work surface with a little olive oil, then tip the dough onto it and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft skin. You will find the dough feels different from conventional wheat flour dough – less smooth and stretchy.
Form the dough into a smooth, round cob shape by turning it on the surface and tucking the edges underneath until the top is smooth and tight. Generously dust the inside of a large, round proving basket with rye flour. Put the dough into it, placing the smooth top-side down. Cover with a tea towel to protect the dough and prevent a skin forming on the top.
Leave to prove for about eight hours or ideally overnight. The dough will double in size eventually, but will take considerable longer than wheat-flour breads.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and put a roasting tray in the bottom to heat up. Line a baking tray with parchment or silicone paper.
When the roasting tray is hot, half fill it with boiling water and return it to the bottom of the oven (this will create steam and help form a good crust).
When the loaf is risen, invert it carefully onto the prepared tray. The basket should have left a pattern on the surface of the dough. Slash a deep crosshatch pattern on the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 30 minutes. To test, tap the base of the loaf – it should sound hollow.
Remove from the oven to cool and serve in slices.
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