Rye is a grass which is harvested as a grain and a member of the wheat family. Whereas wheat has a neutral flavor, rye contains a distinctive bitter and sourness which is present once baked. The unique flavor and many health benefits have caused a rise in interest for rye bread, as people move away from processed products and towards natural unprocessed alternatives.
What is Rye Flour
As an ancient grain rye was in use before modern agriculture which saw the popularization of wheat, most breads throughout Europe would have been baked with rye or barley. Rye products can be found throughout the world including rye beer, crispbread, whiskey and, of course, rye bread. Rye breads are denser and darker in general with the most common varieties being pumpernickel, dark rye, light rye, marbled rye and many regional variations.
Traditional rye breads use only rye flour however this produces a dense loaf. This is because rye contains almost no gluten which is the ingredient which helps dough to rise and creates the definable texture. For modern rye breads we use a combination of rye flour and wheat flour to take the benefits from both, a flavoured nutritious dough with structure and texture. The rye bread recipe below can be substituted with rye flour alone but still would not be suitable for coeliacs as rye bread still contains some presence of gluten. A benefit of 100% rye bread, also known as Black Bread is that, without the use of wheat, rye bread contains 20% less calories and four times more fiber than standard white bread. As a low calorie option rye bread is favorable providing only 201 kcal per 100g of product.
Benefits of Rye Flour
Rye flour and other whole grains have gained recent popularity as health foods. The healthiest form of rye flour is 100% whole-grain sprouted rye flour. Benefits of sprouted grains include a higher concentration of nutrients containing folates, iron, vitamin C, zinc, protein and magnesium. Sprouted grains also have a higher fibre content and are easier for the body to digest than other grains as they contain less starch.
Compared to wheat, rye flour contains many nutritious benefits. Rye bread leaves you feeling fuller which will prevent overeating providing antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. The vitamin E present in rye flour helps to regulate the nervous system and the grain has also causes an increase in insulin which regulates blood sugar. Rye bread has been linked to weight loss, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of disease, improved blood sugar and better heart and digestive health.
Rye Bread Recipe
Learn how to make rye bread from scratch following our rye bread recipe below. The caraway seed delivers a nutty sharpness paired with rich molasses for maximum flavour. The rye bread is constructed in a bread proofing basket creating a rustic artisan loaf which is beautifully decorative.
Servings: 2 loaves
Prep 15 minutes
1st Proof 1 hour
2nd Proof 30 mintes
Bake 30 minutes
Total 2 hours 15 minutes
Mixing bowl x 2
Banneton proofing basket x 2
Dough whisk mixer
2 packets active dry yeast (4 ½ tsp or 16g)
2 ½ cups warm water
⅔ cup molasses (unsulphured)
2 tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
1 tbsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups rye flour
5 cups bread flour
- Into a bowl add the yeast and warm water, stir together and allow the yeast to activate for 10 minutes.
- Once the yeast has formed light bubbles on the surface add the molasses, caraway seeds, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, rye flour and bread flour to the mixing bowl.
- Use a dough whisk to bring the ingredients together then tip out onto a work surface and knead for 5 minutes until a firm dough has formed.
- Transfer the dough into a clean mixing bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow the dough to proof for 1 hour in a warm space until doubled in size.
- Place the dough onto a work surface and divide into two using a dough scraper. Fold the individual loaves, stretching from the centre and folding inwards.
- Place the dough into a floured banneton proofing basket and allow to rise for 40 minutes until doubled in size.
- Preheat an oven to 425F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Tip the dough out onto a baking tray and shape to form rounded loaves. Use a bread lame or knife to cut a few slashes in the surface on the loaves.
- Bake the rye bread in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
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