Rye Bread (redeemed)

March 15, 2012

Last year in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, I corned my first beef brisket.  It was a smashing success, but the loaf of rye I made to sandwich the leftovers failed miserably.  It took an entire year to return to this challenge, but when Caroline at Grow It , Cook It, Can It suggested baking bread for Cook It, 2012, I knew this was the loaf for me.  So this year, with the beef corning in the fridge, I tried a new recipe for rye bread that turned out just as I hoped.

After scouring my many cookbooks, I settled on this recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. This bread is moist and chewy with a pronounced flavor of rye and caraway.   It includes two types of flour in perfect proportion to achieve the signature flavor of the rye and all purpose flour to supply the required gluten and keep it light. My family loved these loaves so much that they were devoured before I had a chance to stick one in the freezer for this upcoming weekend.  This weekend, when I bake another batch, I will roll the dough into shorter loaves to make larger slices more appropriate for sandwiches.  I also plan to toss in a cup of minced onion to flavor the bread.

This bread is perfect for sandwiches or to serve alongside soup, such as Irish Watercress Soup.

Find a link to this post and a number of other yummy baked goods at Yeastspotting!

Rye Bread (redeemed)

adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

makes two loaves

the Sponge

2 3/4 cups water, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons honey

3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water in the bowl of the mixer.  Mix in the flour.  Beat until mixture is smooth.  Cover and allow to sit for 2 1/2 hours.  Sponge should be very bubbly when you return.

the Dough

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour

3 1/2 cups rye flour

2 tablespoons caraway seeds (toasted in a dry pan until fragrant)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup minced onion (optional)

Cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet

the Glaze

1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

Add the all purpose flour, 3 1/4 cups rye flour, toasted caraway seeds, vegetable oil, salt, and onion (if using) to the sponge.  Knead with a dough hook until the dough is thoroughly mixed and gathers into a ball.  Add the last 1/4 cup of rye flour, knead for two more minutes.  Remove from the mixer and knead for a few minutes by hand on a well floured board until the dough forms a smooth,  elastic ball.

First rise:

Place dough ball in an oiled bowl.  Flip the dough ball so that the top of the dough is coated with oil as well.  Cover bowl and place in a warm place.  Let dough rise until doubled, about 1 1/4 to 2 hours.

Final rise:

Divide dough into 2 even portions.  Press one dough ball into an 9 x 7 inch rectangle.  Roll along the long side to form a log.  Pinch off the seam to seal. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, seam down.  Repeat with the other portion of dough.  Cover loosely with a floured towel or plastic wrap.  Allow to rise 1 to 1/2 hours until dough looks bloated and starts to spread.


Half an hour before you plan to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Beat egg white with 1 tablespoon milk.  Brush over the top of the loaves. Make several 1/2 inch slashes into the tops of the loaves to allow for further rising in the oven.  Bake loaves in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake until top is nicely browned, about 15-20 additional minutes.  Place loaves on a cooling rack and allow to cool.   Slice and serve.  Store any leftover bread in a tightly sealed bag on counter or in the freezer.

Print this recipeRye Bread

You may also like:

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Irish Watercress Soup

Corning Beef at Home


7 Responses to “Rye Bread (redeemed)”

  1. Simply Tia Says:

    Nicely done! It looks fabulous.

  2. Annie R. Says:

    Yay! I was wondering when you’d find the perfect rye bread recipe so I didn’t have to. ;) Thanks Karen. Did you make the butter too?

  3. […] Rye Bread from My Pantry Shelf:  Reubens on homemade rye bread sound like something we need to be eating, asap.  That watercress soup sounds pretty elegant, too.  Basically, I need to make rye bread. […]

  4. Ok, I’m going to try rye this way. I have been doing the 5/min-day way for rye as well…and it is really good. But I’m ready to branch out. And, as you read, the sourdough isn’t working out so great for me. I’m not sure why I am so reluctant to try something with multiple stages/rise times…but, well, there you have it…I’m stubborn I guess.
    This looks great!

    • Give it a try, the multiple rises doesn’t actually mean any more work. I just make it when I am around the house anyway. The recipe works well, I made another batch yesterday and it turned out even better than the first!

  5. Hannah Says:

    What a gorgeous loaf of rye! I’m printing this as soon as I’m done typing. I’ve been on a bread baking binge (I’m a proud parent of my new sourdough starter) and I’ve had rye bread on my list to make. It’s been fun to learn about all the flours (I didn’t realize rye is low in gluten, so when I randomly tossed some in to a loaf it turned out very flat – not enough high gluten flour to balance it out). Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ll bet you enjoyed some delicious sandwiches!

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