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Anglo-Saxon Rye Bread

Page history last edited by Chuck Ehlschlaeger 12 years, 7 months ago

This recipe is adapted from AElfwine's Theoretical Anglo-Saxon Bread in `Just for a Hlaf...'. Her recipe had barley instead of rye and olive oil which I replaced with butter. I also added milled flax seed to the recipe as it was difficult to keep crops homogeneous in that time period.

Yeast Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp dry yeast

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1.5 cups less 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
    • plus a little more whole wheat flour to place on kneading surface
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp milled flax seed
  • 1.5 cups wheat bread flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    • plus a little more butter for greasing the bowl & baking sheet

Final Ingredient

  • 1 egg


  • Stir together `yeast ingredients'
  • Allow yeast to develop until bubbly, about 10-15 minutes
  • While yeast developing, mix together `dry ingredients' in large bowl
  • Combine boiling water and butter, mixing until butter is melted
  • Mix in other `wet ingredients' and yeast liquid together
  • Slowly pour wet mixture into dry mix stirring regularly until liquid is absorbed
  • Add the egg to dough and continue to mix
  • Place the dough on a floured surface and knead until dough holds shape when left sitting. Feel free to add more flour if dough is too wet and won't hold shape or is too sticky
  • Grease the inside of a large bowl with butter
  • Put dough in bowl, covering with damp cloth, and place bowl in warm place for one hour
  • Move dough from bowl to floured surface, and cut into four pieces
  • Round each piece and place on buttered baking sheet
  • Allow dough to rise again for a half hour
  • Place baking sheet in oven heated to 400 degrees
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes


  • As with any bread recipe, you will have to experiment with cooking times and temperatures.
  • This recipe is only a little more than 1/3 bread flour to 2/3rd denser flours. Most modern recipes will recommend at least 50% bread flour when making rye, whole wheat, barley, or other `darker' breads. Ergo, use two cups of bread flour with one cup each rye and whole wheat (or two cups rye) if you want a lighter bread.
  • If the recipe is doubled, eight 6-8" round loafs about 2" tall can be baked in a single large (modern) oven on two racks. 
  • On 28 August 2010, Dianne and I made five loaves of "whiter" rye bread for a 10th Century Anglo-Saxon SCA feast. (Personally, I prefer the heavier bread but didn't want get too far from modern day bread.) The proportions of that bread was:
    • 4.5 tbsp hot water
    • 0.75 tbsp honey
    • 1.25 tbsp yeast
    • 2 Cups rye flour
    • 1.5 Cups whole wheat flour
    • 2.5 Cups Bread flour
    • 3 tbsp flax
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • 1.5 Cups milk
    • 3/4 Cup boiling water
    • 3/4 stick butter
    • 1.5 eggs (if you double this recipe, use three eggs; otherwise an egg and an egg white) 

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