Classic Norwegian Grovbrød dark rye bread with syrup

Until I started baking myself, I was completely unaware that my favorite bread as a kid was indeed a rye bread. All I knew was that the deep flavors, the super soft interior, and that dark, crunchy crust was utterly irresistible to me.

And it still is. This bread that was invented around 1900 and became one of the most popular breads on the west coast of Norway, is still one of the most popular breads around, and you will find them in every store, all over the country.

But of course, what you’ll find in the stores is the industrialized version. What I’m sharing here is the home made, and absolutely superior version, with more of everything that’s good; More syrup, more rye, and last but not least: I always bake this using my sourdough starter.

But if you don’t have a sourdough starter, you can bake it all the same by simply removing the 100 grams sourdough starter, and replace it with 50 g wheat flour and 50 g water, plus 2 grams dry yeast, and then ferment overnight in the fridge.

If you are in a hurry, use 12 g dry yeast, and ferment the bread in a few hours at room temperature – but be warned – the quality of the bread will suffer; time is your most important ingredient when baking any bread.

Ingredients

  • 250 g Wheat flour
  • 125 g Rye flour, coarse (sammalt grov)
  • 125 g Rye flour, white (siktet rug)
  • 15 g Fine sea salt
  • 300 g Water
  • 100 g Dark syrup (we used Dansukker Dark Syrup)*
  • 30 g Butter
  • 100 g Sourdough starter (mine is 100 % hydration)

*If you can’t source the dark syrup, molasses would very likely be a decent substitute (I haven’t tried).

Method

Melt the butter in a small pot. When melted, add the water and set aside.

In your baking bowl, mix all the dry ingredients well. Tip the pot with the water, then the syrup and sourdough starter and mix everything thoroughly. Let sit for 30 minutes to let everything fully hydrate.

I always use stretch and fold when baking. 4 times with 30-60 mins pause in between is sufficient for this bread. Alternatively, use your dough mixer at the lowest speed.

This dough will be sticky because of all the rye, but it’s easy enough to work with cause it’s not insanely high in hydration.

Bulk ferment until double in size, then shape into a loaf, a batard, and let proof either in a form or proofing basket.

This bread is normally baked along with 4-5 others in a pan so that they stick together in the sides, and only get a crust on the top. But I bake for two people most of the time, so I make a simple batard, and get all the more crust 😀

Score the bread if you like, brush or spray with water if you like, or leave it as it is for a more rustic look. Bake at 230 C for 30 minutes, 100 % steam the first 10 minutes.

If you don’t have a steamer oven, you can put a pan with boiling water in the bottom of your oven, and remove that after 10 minutes – it works just like a real steamer oven 🙂

This bread keeps very well for 3 days.

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