Danish Rugbrød

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Definition: The best bread in the world.

Pronunciation: Something like “roogbra” or “roobru”.

Uses: Eating with butter, salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, shrimp salad, boiled eggs, cheese & pickles, basically anything. Now that it has stuff on it, it’s called smørrebrød. You could also use it as a weapon when it’s in full-loaf form because it’s heeeaaaaaavy.

Where to get it: Your oven via the recipe below.

Before we get started I must say… This recipe is a bit of a commitment. It seems so complicated and time consuming, but I promise it isn’t. After you do it once, have all the ingredients and see how delicious and nutritious it is, it’ll seem like a breeze. I make a loaf once a week. It’s really helpful to use a scale. I know that can be a deterrent but it’s worth it. I was going to convert it all to cups, but I didn’t know if it would be UK cups or US cups, it was all too much so…. here it is:

First… You need to make a starter. This takes 5 days.

You’ll need:

+ water, 10 oz

+ active dry yeast, 2 tsps

+ dark rye flour, 6.2 oz (175 grams)

+ a container designated for your starter (make sure it’ll fit in your fridge and be able to stay there. I bought the one in the photos from my local dollar store)

Day 1: Boil the water and put in your container. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and give it a stir. Let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 mins, stir in the rye flour until it’s combined. Put on the lid, and let it sit on your counter.

Day 2: Stir 2 oz (60 grams) of dark rye flour into the mixture.

Day 3 & 4: Stir

Day 5: It’s ready to go! If you don’t feel like baking your bread this day, then put it in the fridge.

Maintaining your starter: Right after you use half your starter for your first loaf of bread, stir in 3 oz of rye flour, and 5 oz of water.  Let it sit at room temp until it starts to rise and bubble. Then you can place it in the fridge. Once a week you’ll need to feed your starter by simply stirring in 3 oz of rye flour and 5 oz of water. Stir it well, then leave out until you notice it start to rise and bubble. Basically, until it’s room temperature. Then put it back in the fridge and repeat in 7 days. Obviously, if you aren’t going to make this bread once a week, then you don’t have to feed it once a week. 

I’ve been helping some friends make their starters and given them a bit of mine to add to theirs.

It makes it friendship bread!

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When you are ready to bake your bread, you’ll need:

+ half of your starter, approx 7 oz

+ dark rye flour, 275 grams

+ cracked rye, 330 grams (this was really hard for me to find, so I bought it on Amazon)

+ whole wheat flour, 300 grams

+ flaxseeds, 80 grams

+ cold water, 24 oz

+ molasses, 1 tbsp

+ sea salt, 1.5 tbsp

What you do:

+ Oil your pan. I use a silicon brush and avocado or olive oil for this. My pan is the standard 9×5. The MDK recipe calls for a bigger pan, so if you have it, use it. I’ve used 2 smaller pans, but I like my overflowing 9×5 pan better. In the future I will be buying this one.

+ In a big bowl, combine all the above ingredients. I recommend stirring it by hand with a big wooden spoon. Using a mixer with the dough hook is actually more difficult. 

+ Pour (more like scoop – it’s thick) the dough into your oiled pan and even it out.

+ Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 -12 hours.

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Yes, 10 -12 hours… I always do this at night, so when I wake up the next morning it’s ready to bake. You could also make the dough in the morning, and bake it when you get home from work that evening. Whatever works.

10 – 12 hours later…

+ Preheat your oven to 400 F.

+ Remove plastic wrap & poke about 20 holes in the loaf with a skewer/toothpick. This is to let steam out while it bakes.

+ Brush the top of the loaf with oil/water. Again, I use a silicon brush and avo or olive oil.

+ Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 mins at 400 F.

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When the bread comes out of the oven…

+ Keep it in the pan and let it cool off for a few minutes.

+ While the bread is still pretty warm, take it out of the pan, put it in a plastic bag and make sure it’s sealed. I use thin, clear bags you put produce in at the grocery store. Just grab a few off the roll and stuff them in your pocket. No one cares. I seal it shut with a bag clip.

** You put it in the bag while it’s hot so the the steam & condensation soften the super hard crust.**

+ Let the bread totally cool. This will take a couple hours. Then slice into thin pieces. This bread is filling so thin slices are best. The bread is hard so slicing is a workout…. You can probs skip arm day at the gym.

+ Once it’s sliced, wipe the water out of the bag and reuse it. You can keep your bread in the fridge, freezer or in your bread basket. It freezes really well. 

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It seems like a lot of steps but once you make it, you’ll see it’s actually so easy. And, there’s room to play! One time I made it normal, one time I added raw, unsalted sunflower seeds and next time I’m going to crust the top of the loaf in 1 billion sesame seeds.

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My absolute, favourite way to eat rugbrød is toasted and then topped with a slice of havarti and a red or orange sliced bell pepper. It’s the best.

My boyfriend is Faroese so I spend a lot of time in the Faroe Islands and Denmark (the Faroe Islands are part of Denmark). I love many things about life over there but the rugbrød tops the charts. I was so happy when I found this recipe on My Danish Kitchen because it tastes exactly like the loaves I buy when I’m over there. I’m almost mad I know how to make it now. Will it stay being special to me? Probably not. Oh well. It’s too good for me to not have it in my kitchen all the time, no matter what country I’m in.

I hope you like it. If you like sourdough or pumpernickel bread then you probably will. And please, if you have any questions, just comment below!

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