Sunshine Rye Bread
This rye-based sunshine bread makes a great table centrepiece and will brighten up any party!
Makes: 1 large loaf
For the sponge
  • 100 g (3½ oz) strong white flour
  • 4 tbsp lukewarm milk
  • 4 tbsp lukewarm water
  • ½ tsp dried yeast
For the dough
  • 500 g (17½ fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 450 g (16 oz) rye flour
  • 450 g (16 oz) strong white flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
For the decoration
  • Milk
  • Caraway or sunflower seeds
Prepare the sponge
  1. Place the milk and water in a large bowl. Add the yeast, stir and leave for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  2. Gradually mix in the flour to achieve a thick-ish batter. Cover and leave in a warm place for 3-4 hours.
Make the dough
  1. Add the water to the sponge and mix well. Gradually add the rye flour and mix well to a thick batter.
  2. Cover and leave in a warm place for 2 hours.
  3. Add the salt and half of the white flour to the batter and mix well.
  4. Add in the remaining white flour and mix to a soft, smooth dough.
  5. Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the dough in a large lightly-greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to allow the dough to double in size.
  7. Turn the dough out, knock it back and cut into 5 equal pieces.
  8. Take a piece of dough and roll it into a sausage 40 cm (16") long. Cut the sausage in the middle. Place the pieces on a lightly-greased baking tray like 2 opposing spokes of a wheel. Leave a 5 cm (2 ") gap in the middle. Curl the outer ends around in the same direction (either clockwise or anti-clockwise). Repeat with 3 of the remaining 4 pieces of dough.
  9. Take the last piece of dough and roll out to 50 cm (20") long. Curl into a spiral shape and place in the middle of the loaf.
  10. Place the whole lot in a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to prove.
  11. Brush with milk and sprinkle on some seeds. Bake at 210°C/410°F fan oven, 230°C/450°F conventional oven for around 25 minutes or until the loaf is lightly browned.
  12. Place the loaf on a wire rack to cool.
This makes quite a large loaf, so halve the ingredients if you want a smaller loaf. Like most rye breads this goes well with meats and cheeses and makes a great centrepiece for a party.

You don't need to use rye flour in this recipe. You could replace it with wholemeal flour, white flour or even spelt flour.