Today is World Bread Day 2009, finally!
Of course I baked something special for this special day, namely a Walliser Roggenbrot mit Nüssen (Valais Rye Bread with Walnuts) from my old home country. Wallis (Valais) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country. The canton of Valais is probably best known for the Matterhorn and ski resorts such as Zermatt, Verbier or Crans Montana and of course for its Walliser Roggenbrot (Valais Rye Bread).
Valais Rye bread is the only bread in Switzerland that is the proud bearer of an AOC label. This in turn carries an obligation: only rye that has been grown, milled and processed in the Valais may be used to make Valais Rye Bread AOC. Rye is the preeminent cereal in mountain valleys and in Valais, rye bread was long considered a food for poor people. It is now difficult to find the original version based on pure rye bran and sourdough. Compact, dark brown, aromatic and with a marked flavor due to the sourdough, this bread keeps for several months. This property was at one time significant: in mountain villages the communal oven would be lit two or three times a year to stock up with supplies of bread.
As we have no communal oven here in Andalucia, I had to bake my Valais Rye Bread in my own oven. ;-) Rye is also not a common cereal in Southern countries. Fortunately I can buy rye flour and grains in my Herboristera.
I made the original version with sourdough and 100% rye and was scared. My first pure rye bread! Only later I saw there is an official specification sheet (pdf) where it’s stated that you can use a small amount of wheat and yeast or even a poolish. Anyway I made it like the farmer ladies used to make since 100 of years. The only adoption to modern times is the addition of walnuts.
As I have no rye sourdough starter I had to turn my wheat sourdough to a rye starter. This is easy, just mix 10 g of active wheat sourdough with 10 g rye flour and 10 g water, cover and let at 24 C for about 4 hours. How to make the final sourdough is described below. Also I have no rye meal, but a grain mill for my food processor, so I ground 300 g rye grains to rye meal.
Once I had all the ingredients together I started:
Valais Rye Bread with Walnuts
makes 2 loaves of about 600 g
Rye starter **
30 g active rye sourdough (how to make see above)
60 g whole rye flour
60 g water
150 g rye starter **
200 g rye meal (ground on position 0,8 of 6)
200 g water
500 g whole rye flour
~ 270 g water
15 g salt
150 g walnuts, coarsely chopped
Rye starter: Mix all ingredients cover and let ferment over at room temperature (24 C).
Final dough: Mix rye meal with 200 g water. Soak for 30 minutes. Dissolve rye starter with 270 g water, add all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor. Knead on low speed (1.5) for 5 minutes and another 10 minutes on medium speed (2). Don’t worry the dough is shaggy and very heavy. Cover and let ferment for 3 hours at 24 C. The dough will rise but not as much as a wheat dough.
Divide dough into 2 balls and shape into pointy cones – I just formed 2 rounds.
Turn cones in rye meal, cover and let rise for about 2 1/2 hours or until you see cracks on the surface.
Before baking press the top of the loaves a bit down.
Preheat oven to 230 C. Once the loaves are in the oven reduce heat to 220 C, bake for 40 minutes, than reduce heat to 200 C bake another 20 Minutes, then reduce heat to 180 and bake 10 minutes leave oven door slightly ajar.
Let loaves cool and rest for at least 12 hours before slicing. The rustic sourdough bread tastes best when it has been kept for two or three days.
Enjoy the healthy taste for yourself!