Tuesday 20 March 2018

Potato & Rye Semi-Sourdough with Molasses

Potato and rye semi-sourdough
Potato and rye semi-sourdough

Valerie O'Connor

I love this bread – I love it so much that when I bake it I give it away in very small quantities; just a few slices here and there.

It's simply loaded with flavours, from the rye to the molasses, yet has the lightest feel and the mightiest, chewiest crust. Big claims for a simple loaf of bread? You just have to try it to find out.

It's a bit of a cheat's sourdough, using some rye starter as well as yeast so you don't have to take so long over it. If you're having spuds for dinner then cook a few extra and keep the potato water back to make the dough.

Makes one 2lb loaf


200g/7oz cooked potatoes, roughly chopped

300ml/10floz potato water

250g/9oz strong white flour

150g/5oz rye flour

50g/2oz rye starter

15g fresh yeast/7g sachet fast-action yeast

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp molasses or treacle

50g/2oz sunflower seeds that have been soaked in water for at least an hour


Set the oven to 220°C/430°F/Gas 7 and prepare a 2lb loaf tin by rubbing the inside with butter or oil.

Set aside a few sunflower seeds for sprinkling, then put everything into the mixing bowl of your mixer and, using the dough hook, mix it on a low setting for 10-12 minutes to make a sticky dough. If you don't have a free-standing mixer, mix everything in a large bowl and knead as normal, though your hands will get very sticky. Flour the dough and get it into a manageable ball.

Leave it in the bowl, covered, for at least an hour, or three hours maximum. Then give the dough a good stir with a dough scraper or large spoon until it deflates a bit; it will still be sticky. Tip it into your prepared tin and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds. Cover and leave to rise for another hour while your oven heats up.

Bake the loaf for 1 hour 20 minutes until you have a nice dark crust. This may seem like a long bake, but as the dough is wet, it needs the extra time to bake through.

This bread keeps well for a week and improves with age – enjoy every crumb!

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