How to bake bread the Estonian way … without yeast

In this workshop we will learn about Estonian food and culture, find out, why our dark bread is so good for health, learn a little about technology and chemstry of bread.

Every participatior will beak his own bread – we start with making dough and finish with hot fresh Estonian bread.


 For 2 kg  of bread (3 loaves) you need:

  • a handful of levain (= a piece of dough left from the previous breadbaking)
  • ca 1,5 kg  rye flour (preferably whole grain)
  • ca 1 liter  lukewarm water
  • some sea salt (for example 6 teaspoonful, according to personal taste)
  • some sugar (for example 2 dl, again according to personal taste)
  • optional ingredients (like seeds, raisins, nuts, herbs, etc )

1.  Fermenting

Dissolve the levain in 1 liter of lukewarm water (ca 37…38°C). Whisk in the flour (ca 0,5…0,7 kg). The mixture should have a similar thickness as the dough for pancakes/crepes.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it ferment for 6…12 hours in a warm draught-free place.

2. Working the dough

As soon as the dough has developed thick foam, it is fermented enough and you can go on with working the dough. Mix in more flour, salt and sugar. You can use a big wooden spoon in the beginning, as long as you can.

NB! Put aside a piece of dough (the levain) for the next time!

Now it’s time for kneading.  TIP: You might need to use wet hands, so fill some bowl with water where you can put your hand in every now and then.

Add the rest of the flour and other ingredients (if you like) and keep kneading until the dough is properly mixed.

Prepare your forms – they need to be buttered or covered with baking paper. Put the dough into the forms, leaving enough room for expanding – the form should be only 2/3…3/4 filled. Punch some holes into the dough with your finger – they will show you later when the dough has expanded enough.

Put the forms in a warm draught-free place, cover them with a tea towel and give them time for proving. It can take 2…5 hours until the dough has expanded enough. Look at the holes – as soon as they look like navels it’s time to preheat the oven.

3.  Baking

Most of us don’t have a special bread oven. Still it is possible to bake the bread in a normal kitchen oven (with conventional top and bottom heat or with circulating hot air) just by regulating the temperature:

  • 250°C – 20 minutes by conventional heat or 225°C by hot air
  • 220°C – 15 minutes by conventional heat or 205°C by hot air
  • 200°C – 15 minutes by conventional heat or 180°C by hot air
  • 180°C – 20 minutes by conventional heat or 160°C by hot air

Take one loaf out of the form and knock on the bottom of the loaf.   If the crust is not crispy yet, put it back and bake 5…10 more minutes.

4. Cooling

Take the loaves out of the forms (and baking paper).

  1. put them next to each other on a tea towel and cover them with a damp tea towel.
  2. OR brush them with some water (or butter) and wrap them into baking paper AND a tea towel.

Let them cool properly  - at least 2 hours. Don’t slice your loaves when they’re still warm! Waiting will improve the texture.

Fee: 20.- €

+372 53081188,