The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Finnish Rye

proth5's picture

Finnish Rye

My neighbor, who is from Finland, is craving rye bread.

And not just the 70% Detmolder stuff that I am working to master (yeah, after I master bread at all...) - Finnish rye.

This is a flat bread shaped in a rectangle or a round bread with a hole in the middle.

I was wondering if the collected wisdom of the TFL'ers could help deliver a taste of the homeland...


suave's picture

Beatrice Ojakangas has a recipe for Finnish wheel bread called ruisleipa in her Scandinavian Baking Book, but all her recipes are converted to yeast, so I have my doubts about autenticity of her breads . 


proth5's picture

I'm not up on any Scandanavian languages - but I'd prefer to stay with sourdough, so I will keep this in the "get to it later"  file.

But thanks for the reply.

suave's picture

The book is in English, but I hear you - it not being a sourdough is what stops me from trying it.


pmccool's picture

Beatrice Ojakangas includes a recipe for Finnish Sour Rye Bread in her Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand book.  All measurements are by volume.


0.5 cup water

1 cup sourdough starter [Ms. Ojakangas starter is equal volumes of water and flour]

1.5 teaspoons salt

2.25 cups dark rye flour

0.75 cup bread flour

4 teaspoons gluten

1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast

To mix by hand:

Heat the water until warm, between 105 dF and 115 dF; pour it into a large warmed bowl.  Add the sourdough starter (at room temperature) and the yeast.  Let stand 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble.  Stir in the rye flour and salt.  Beat until smooth. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Slowly add the bread flour and gluten, then beat until a smooth dough forms.  Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured board and knead, adding flour if necessary, until smooth and springy.  Wash the bowl and grease it; place the dough back into the bowl and turn it over to grease the top.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.  For a more intense sourdough flavor, place the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

To mix by machine:

All directions are the same, up to the point of kneading the dough.  Knead the dough in the mixer with the dough hook, adding flour as necessary, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and springy but still soft to the touch.  Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.  For a more intense sourdough flavor, place the dough in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.


To shape and bake:

If the dough was refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature; as it does so, it will rise again.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or a lightly oiled surface.  Punch the dough down and shape it into a smooth round loaf.  To make the Finnish-style country loaf with a hole in the center, flatten the dough into a disc about 12 inches in diameter.  With floured fingers, make a hole in the center of the loaf, then stretch and pull that hole to about 3 inches in diameter.  It will fill in a little as the loaf rises and bakes.  

Ms. Ojakangas recommends that the loaf with the hole in the center be shaped on a greased piece of foil to simplify transferring it to the oven for baking on a stone.  The foil is then removed immediately after baking.  Seems to me that parchment paper might work as well.

Let the loaf rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.  After rising and before baking, pierce the loaf with a fork.  (a picture is shown in the lower portion of the book's cover, as seen here:

Preheat the oven and a steam pan to 450 dF for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer the loaf to the baking stone with a peel or a rimless baking sheet.  Immediately pour 1 cup of water into the steam pan.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until loaf is golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

A couple of notes:

1. I have not yet tried this recipe, so can't offer any personal observations

2. Ms. Ojakangas' starter is really more of a poolish, since it uses a small amount of commercial yeast; rather than a naturally-yeasted sourdough starter.


proth5's picture

for the recipe.  I am trying to analyze the many kind responses and come up with the "right" mixture.

The recipe is much sppreciated.


hansjoakim's picture

there is a recipe for finnish rye bread in one of my norwegian bread books, but there's no mention of any hole in the middle, however.

i could try to type up the recipe if you want, just let me know.

hans joakim.

proth5's picture

If you could type up the recipe, I'd love to see it (English, please!)

Thanks again!

hansjoakim's picture

Note that I haven't tried the recipe myself, so I'm just writing up a direct translation here. We can discuss later if anything's not clear in the recipe. Also, the recipe is given in metric units, and yields two loaves.

Day 1:

  • 800 g cold water
  • 450 g whole rye flour
  • 50 g rye starter

Mix all ingredients by hand. Cover the bowl with plastic, and leave at room temperature overnight.

Day 2:

Step 1: 

  • 350 g rye flour

Mix in the rye flour by hand. Cover the bowl, and let rest for approx. 2 hours, until it's starting rise.

Step 2:

  • 200 g rye flour
  • 4 tsp. salt

Mix flour and salt into the dough. If using a mixer, mix at slow speed for approx. 12 minutes. Cover the bowl, and let rest for approx. 2 hours. Cut into two round pieces, cover them in rye flour, and proof. Let the pieces proof until small holes are visible in the surface.

Bake at 230 C for approx. 60 minutes, until dark brown.


That's it. I hope that makes sense! 

proth5's picture

Makes sense.  I have many things to think about.  This formula is similar, with its progression through two sours to the Detmolder method.

Thanks for your work in typing out the recipe!

rxcsyrus's picture


im not sure but if you cant find a good recipe maybe you can try to find a recipe for a rye miche its also a kinda flat dense rye with a hole in the center im kinda a novice baker but where i work we used to make a miche and it kind sounds like thats what your talking about.  good luck

proth5's picture

I have had a lot of good suggestions and am trying to bring them all together.

Thanks for the good wishes!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Snow or flaked ice is used in the recipe.  The fine air pockets or foam that the addition of ice gives to the loaf raises it.  Worth experimenting!  It is worth noting that this technique pops up with Swedish recipes.  Be careful where you collect your snow!  Page 212, bottom right corner under knackerbrot.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not to mention all the info at that link.  Check out the rye info in that same general chapter!   page 211  

I forgot all about that info when I was playing in the snow...  But the pages will be handy for the rye testing coming up.   Interesting that if the falling number FN 90- 110 on Rye can be processed into acceptable bread to compensate for the effects of sprout damage.   Lower pH, use 2 % salt or 1.3 % gelantanized flour  


SCruz's picture

Did you ever find the right recipe? My partner is coming home from Finland tomorrow and has been raving about the rye bread. Her return travel instructions were to bring bread, discard clothes.