Danish rye bread, rugbrød, is one of the best-known types of rye bread from Northern Europe. Looking like a brick, full of wholegrain goodness, Danish rye is ideal for making smørrebrød open sandwiches.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients for the sponge.
Cover and let it ferment for about 8 hours at room temperature.
If using rye flakes or berries, soak them in water for 8 hours, too.
To Make Final Dough
Add flours, salt and well-drained rye berries (if using) to the fermented sponge2.
Mix thoroughly using a sturdy spoon. The dough should have a consistency of a very thick porridge.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours. No stretch and fold needed.
Scrape the dough into a non-stick heavy-duty or baking paper lined 28x10x10 cm or 10.5x4x4 inch bread pan.
Smooth out the top and sprinkle with flour or seeds.
Let the loaf to rise for a further one hour in the baking pan.
Heat the oven to 200°C (395 F). Bake the loaf for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 180°C (355 F) and baking for a further 1-1½ hours. In the last half an hour, check the internal temperature of the loaf by sticking the thermometer tip in the middle. The bread is baked once the temperature reaches 98-100°C (208-212 F).
Remove the loaf from the pan and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the loaf in a tea towel or place it in a paper or cloth bag. Store the loaf in a bread box for at least 12 hours to set, or even better 24 hours before cutting and enjoying.
Molasses adds a touch of sweetness and deep brown colour to the rye bread that is otherwise gray. If you don't have molasses, substitute with liquid malt extract. The colour will be a bit lighter brown.
If using soaked rye berries, drain them well before adding them to the sponge. As they will add extra moisture, you can deduct some 50-60 ml of liquid required for the sponge. Also, increase salt to 21g if adding soaked rye berries.