Bread. Such a hot topic these days isn’t it? Since the gluten free craze has started, bread seems to be the number one food to be avoided. I take food intolerances very seriously, but with all due respect to those who have allergic reactions to to gluten, I think we’ve gone way too far with this issue.
I love bread, I really do. I don’t eat bread everyday but I eat it very often. And since this whole discussion around gluten has begun, I decided that instead of cutting it out from my diet (which, quite honestly, wouldn’t work), I would make more sensible choices towards the bread I eat. And that’s when I learnt about sourdough. I’ve had sourdough bread during my time in Holland and I’ve always loved its tangy and characteristic taste.
Unfortunately, here in Portugal we don’t have a tradition of sourdough bread, which left me with the only decision of trying to make my own. I’ve made a starter following this guide, and for the last 6 months I’ve been baking my own bread. Sourdough bread is more easily digested than loaves made with commercial yeast, tastes incredibly good, and also keeps longer.
Back to when I was in Holland, I used to go to a whole foods store close to where I lived almost every day to buy their delicious raisin and sesame sourdough buns. Now, I’ve finally found a way to make my own version and, modesty aside, I think they taste pretty close to the original. If you’re intimidated by the idea of making your own sourdough bread, fear not and give it a try. If I knew it was that easy, I would have made it a long time ago. You can make your own starter like I did, or ask a friend who has one to give you some of it. Dear readers from Porto who want to venture into sourdough bread baking: I’ll happily give away some of my starter if you want to. (:
Sourdough Rye Buns with Raisins and Sesame Seeds
Recipe inspired by How to Make Bread, by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, published in 2011 by Ryland Peters & Small
makes 12 buns
210 g rye flour
90 g whole wheat flour
5 g salt
150 g sourdough starter
240 g warm water
80 g toasted sesame seeds, plus more to coat the buns
150 g raisins
Put the raisins in a medium sized bowl and pour enough boiling water to cover them. Let it sit for ten minutes. After that time, drain the raisins, squeeze them to release the extra moisture and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the rye and whole wheat flours, the salt and toasted sesame seeds.
In another large bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter in the water. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the (dissolved) starter and mix until a dough comes together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into 12 portions. Put a reasonable amount of sesame seeds in a large plate. Shape each portion into a bun, brush the buns with a little water, and roll them into the sesame seeds.
Put the buns in a large tray lined with parchment paper, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours. In the meantime, pre heat the oven to 240c and place a baking tray in its lowest third. As soon as the oven reaches the right temperature, place the tray with the buns in the middle third of it. Add a few ice cubes to the baking tray in the lowest part of the oven and close the door. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool the buns on a wire rack for at least one hour before eating.