This dark, slightly chewy, raisin and Chinese date-studded bread has a subtle earthy flavours of dark rye, and mild sweetness of Chinese red dates and sultanas. It's a great combination with butter and tea in the morning or for the afternoon snack with a glass of milk.
- Combine together wholegrain rye flour and 120 ml water in a small pot until the mixture is well blended and lump free. Cook the mixture over the medium heat, frequently stirring, until it has turned into a thick paste and the thermometer reads about 65C/150F. It takes about 2-3 minutes. Cool the mixture to the room temperature and cover with a plastic wrap while you prepare other ingredients.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, place in the bread flour, wholewheat flour, rye flour, brown sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center, add in water, 20 grams walnut oil and crumbled fresh yeast. Mix on slow speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle with chopped red dates and sultanas and knead with your hands until they are just incorporated. Grease the mixing bowl lightly with the rest of walnut oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise until doubled in size.
- Dust an 8-inch round proofing basket with rye flour and set aside. Turn the dough out onto work surface, kneading briefly, and shape into a round. Place the dough, seam side up, into the floured basket. Cover with a towel and let dough rise again until it reaches the top of the basket.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Turn the proofed bread onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Use a very sharp knife to cut a decorative pattern on the top of the boule. Bake the bread in the center of hot oven for 35 minutes until nicely golden brown.