Everyone has their favorite type of bread, right? It’s the choice you always have at a restaurant. It could be sourdough or wheat for me it’s always rye. I’m constantly playing with and trying to perfect a homemade rye bread recipe.
Caraway Seeds or Not?
I believe that many folks who are not fans of rye bread are truly not fans of caraway seeds more than the rye flour. I could, of course, be wrong but with that in mind this bread can easily be made with or without the caraway seeds. I’ve grown to enjoy caraway seeds but for many it is an acquired taste. If you’re inclined to use this bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, skip the caraway seeds. If you’re going to use it for savory sandwiches and enjoy the flavor be sure to add them.
Dark or Light Rye
There are dark and light rye flours. The difference has to do with how much of the bran and germ is removed from the flour. Pumpernickel flour is supposed to leave all that bran and germ in tact. I have a very hard time find pumpernickel flour locally. Dark rye flour will result in a denser bread with more rye flavor. Light rye will be lighter in color and taste. Use whatever you prefer. If you’re new to rye bread, start with the light and work up to the dark, perhaps.
Many dark rye breads actually get their darker color from the addition of molasses and cocoa powder. Those ingredients also add a slightly darker, bitter flavor. I often skip the cocoa powder simply because the color doesn’t matter all that much to me. Maple syrup or honey will also work instead of molasses if there isn’t any in the pantry.
New to baking bread? Be sure to check out my primer: How to Bake a Basic Loaf of Bread
- 1 Tablespoon Dry, Active Yeast
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 1 teaspoon Molasses
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- ½ Cup Wheat Bran
- 1 Cup Dark Rye Flour
- 3 ½ - 4 ½ Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds, optional
- Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let sit until foamy. About 5 minutes.
- Add the molasses and salt to the yeast mixture, whisk together.
- Mix the wheat bran and rye flour into the water. Mixing until incorporated.
- Add 2 Cups of the unbleached flour and incorporate. Add more flour as necessary until a dough begins to form.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
- Oil a bowl and turn the dough around inside the bowl to coat. Cover with a tea towel.
- Let rise until doubled about 90 minutes.
- Sprinkle cornmeal onto a baking sheet (or simply oil it well).
- Punch down the dough and turn out onto the floured surface.
- Knead the dough a few times. Then split in half. (Use a kitchen scale to get the loaves to the same weight.)
- Knead the halves and form each into a round loaf.
- Place loaves on the baking sheet leaving a good bit of room between them.
- Let rise until doubled about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slash the bread with the sharp razor.
- Bake the loaves in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. They'll sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire racks.