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The Hirshon Finnish Rye Bread - Ruisleipä

Finnish Rye Bread – Ruisleipä

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • Starter – you need to start this recipe 2 days before baking
  • 34 slices wholegrain rye bread or 6-7 slices Finn crisps (‘hapankorppu’ (sour rye crisp bread) is sold as “Finn Crisp”. Look for bread that contains over 90% wholegrain rye)
  • Finnish sourdough starter
  • 1 liter warm (25C) room-temperature non-chlorinated water
  • 1 liter (about 400g) wholegrain (dark) rye flour – TFD prefers King Arthur Pumpernickel flour
  • ***
  • Dough:
  • 25g fresh yeast
  • 100ml warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • approximately 1 1/2 liters (about 600g) wholegrain (dark) rye flour + extra for kneading


  1. To make the starter, pour the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Break in the bread slices (or Finn crisps) and mix in the rye flour plus the Finnish starter. Stir well to combine. Cover the bowl and leave for 2 days or until the starter is clearly bubbling and smells fresh but ‘sour’.
  2. For this to happen, stir the starter every now and then (a couple of times each day), and keep the bowl covered with tea towels at a steady room temperature.
  3. After two days, ‘revitalize’ the starter by adding a cupful of flour (from the whole amount of flour needed for the dough) and stirring it through. After that, leave the starter, covered, for 3 more hours.
  4. Dissolve the fresh yeast in 100 ml of warm water and add the mixture into the starter. Add in the salt, then knead the flour into the dough bit by bit until the dough starts to unstick your hand.
  5. At this point, take a piece of the dough to use as a starter for next time. Wrap the piece in plastic wrap and freeze it or store it in the fridge if you are using it again in the near future.
  6. Leave the rest of the dough to rise, covered, until doubled in size. This can take a good couple of hours or more, depending on the conditions. Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 2-3 portions and knead into loaves.
  7. You can use loaf tins or make free-form loaves, both will work just as fine. Try not to use too much rye flour, however, as this can toughen the bread. Place the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper, rub a bit of rye flour on each loaf, and cover the tray with a tea towel.
  8. Leave the loaves to rise for a further 30-40 minutes.Preheat the oven to 200C.Prick the loaves before baking. Bake the bread in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until the base of the bread sound ‘hollow’ when tapped with fingers. Leave the loaves to cool (covered with a tea towel) on a wire rack. This bread keeps well in room temperature, but if you want to freeze it, you should only do so the following day. Serve with good butter and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

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