A loaf of rye bread

Rye Sandwich Bread/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

What has surprised me most about all my breads using non-wheat grains is how richly flavored they are.  Far more than anything you can find at the grocery store.  And they all feel so satisfying to eat, the intriguing flavors and the solid bite they give.

Here is a classic, deli-style rye that would be perfect for some homemade corned beef or pastrami.  But you don’t need much to enjoy this bread.  One of my favorite ways to eat is to toast a slice, then rub it with a halved clove of garlic, then butter it.  So good.

The following recipe can be shaped into a loaf, into a boule or even a baguette (if you wanted small slices for canapes or small sandwiches for instance).  The caraway seeds can be omitted if you wish, but I love the added flavor they bring. The ratio here is 3 parts bread flour and 2 parts rye. If you want to use a sourdough starter, an excellent idea if you have starter on hand, use equal parts bread flour, rye, regular starter, and water.

Classic Rye Bread

  • 12 ounces/340 grams bread flour
  • 8 ounces/230 grams rye flour
  • 12 ounces/340 grams water
  • 1 teaspoon/3 grams active dry yeast (if you need a fast rise, you can double this)
  • 1 tablespoon/7 grams caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons/10 grams kosher salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer (or any bowl if you’re mixing by hand). Mix and knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You should be able to stretch the dough to translucency without tearing it.
  2. Let the dough rise in the bowl, covered, till it’s doubled in size, at least two hours and as many as four.
  3. Knead the dough to force out gas and redistribute the yeast and shape it into a rectangle about an inch thick. Let it rest for ten minutes covered with a towel.
  4. Prepare a loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, oil or butter.
  5. Shape the dough: Starting at the top of the rectangle, fold the dough over on itself and pound it down to seal it. Keep folding and pounding until you have a squat, tubular shape. Roll it back and for the tighten the interior.
  6. Put the dough top side up into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  8. When the second rise is done, slash it lengthwise down it the center, and bake for a half hour. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. and continue baking till done, another 15 to 30 minutes. (If you’re unsure about doneness, use a thermometer and remove the dough when its internal temperature is 200 degrees.

Yield: one 2-pound loaf