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Finnish Rye Bread Revisited: Ruispala/Reissumies style bread

April 14, 2011

I notice a lot of American-Finns request this type of bread on different forums, asking for one of several different product or brand names which are all basically very similar things. Maybe one will have more Rye, Wheat or Potato flour than another, or one will be more or less soured, but this is the general idea for how to make the gamut of these breads . If it is the squared or rounded small loaves of quite crunchy chewy bread that you are after, you are in luck. In terms of makeup, it is not at all dissimilar to my previous Reikäleipä  recipe, apart from the fact that it has a longer proofing time and slightly more Wheat Flour.

– Recipe –

Makes 6-14 small rectangular loaves 

– Sourdough starter –

– 1/2 cup milk, room temperature

– 1/2 cup rye flour

  1. Mix the two and then let stand uncovered in a glass or bowl until it begins to bubble and has a sour smell (2 – 6 days).
  2. The longer you keep it and feed it, the better and more vigorous it should be, mine only started to really come alive after a month or so in the fridge with me pouring half away (or using it!) and replacing with a 50/50 Water/Rye Flour mix . So if making the starter from scratch, make sure you let the bread rise for a few hours longer the first couple of times, unless the starter is really vigorously bubbling.

– The Bread itself –

– 1/2 cup sour bread starter

– 2 cups warm water

– 3 cups rye flour

– 2 teaspoons salt

– 4 cups sifted white flour (or a White and Potato Flour mix)

  1. In a bowl, mix the sourdough starter with 2 cups warm water then slowly add in 1 cup rye flour. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand 20-40 hours, the longer you leave it the sourer the taste.
  2. When it has been left standing long enough, add the salt and mix in the rest of the Rye Flour. Then add the White Flour beating thoroughly. When a dough has been formed let stand 20 minutes then kneed on a floured surface till smooth.
  3. Place in a greased bowl and let rise several hours in a warm place, preferably overnight.
  4. Divide into roughly golf ball sized rolls and place on the baking tray/s you are going to use. Then using your hands, shape and squash the balls into roughly 2″-5″ rectangles.
  5. Dust the tops with sieved Flour, then prick the surface in a pattern of your choice (decorative and helps it to bake evenly), I use a chopstick for this. After that, use a knife to score around the edge, it will make cutting the bread in half much easier after it cools and hardens somewhat, and then cover and let rise till doubled or slightly more.
  6. Bake at Gas Mark 5 (190 C, 375 F) for 45 minutes until browned and hollow sounding when tapped.
  7. If you think you will make this again at some point either keep a small jar of the starter in the fridge, replacing half of it every week or so with a 50 / 50 rye flour and water mix, or make a small ball at stage 4 and freeze this to give a boost to any starters you make in the future.



From → Breads, Finnish, Sourdough

  1. Angus permalink

    Made some of these this week: adapted it a bit to use my own (white) sourdough starter. I also added a big teaspoon of molasses (maybe next time I’ll put in some malt extract as well?). I found I didn’t need so much of the white flour as in the recipe, and I made them as flat round buns (like the ones you get in bags in Finland), and I had to adjust the cooking time a bit to fit with my oven – but they are absolutely delicious! Thank you!

  2. Kiviaho permalink

    Thank you for this recipe. My Finnish grandmother did a lot of baking but didn’t leave any recipes. Does anyone have an authentic recipe for Pulla (or Bulla)? This is a cardamom-flavoured coffee bun which she cooked for special occasions.

  3. John Aksel Slørdal permalink

    Thank you very much for sharing the receipe of this delicious bread 👍👍

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