Rye has a bad reputation. People think is is heavy and dense, “brick like” and black. It need not be any of those things. It can be very light and almost airy in texture, and it certainly does not need to be black or have seeds. “Black bread” like pumpernickel or Danish Rye is black because of the added molasses (treacle), not because rye flour is black. In fact, rye flour is rather “greige” (that is to say, greyish-beige) and comes in two varieties – “dark rye” which is the whole grain flour – it has the bran and the germ in it and “light rye” which is sieved to make a lighter flour. Light rye makes a slightly higher and lighter loaf than dark rye – just like white wheat flour makes a lighter and higher loaf than whole wheat flour.
Rye has a different kind of gluten than that found in the family of wheat flours (spelt, emmer, einkorn, kamut). 100% bread will never have domed top like a wheat loaf and it will never have an open texture, with lots of big holes. It just does not do that. On the other hand, because the gluten is not stretchy, you don’t need to stretch it to get it to perform and this means no kneading! Stir, tin or basket, rise and bake – it could not be easier. As a final plug, rye is a slow release carbohydrate (low GI) so is a very good carb for diabetics or people who are slimming. Without further ado, here is an easy recipe for delicious rye bread.
Easy recipe for 100% rye bread
- 300 grams dark or light rye flour or a mixture
- 250 grams water from the tap
- 6 grams salt
- 1.5 grams instant yeast or 3 grams dry yeast or 6 g fresh yeast
- 1 tsp ground coriander Optional
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin Optional
- 2 handfuls sunflower or pumpkin or flax seeds (or a mixture) soaked overnight in water Optional
- 2-3 tbs honey or molasses or malt syrup Optional
- Measure the water into a big bowl and add the yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes to dissolve.
- Add the flour and the salt and any of the other ingredients you are using.
- Stir together until it is well mixed.
- Grease a bread tin with a hard fat (butter or lard work best).
- Wet your hand thoroughly and pick up the dough. Shape it into a sausage shape the size of the tin. Pick up the tin and place the sausage in the tin gently. Don't push down! Just place it in and leave it. The dough will fill the tin itself and does not need to be squashed into the corners. See below for a video on how to do that.
- You can sprinkle some rye flour on the surface of the dough if you like. Cover the tin with a shower hat – raise the surface of the hat above the dough so that when the dough rises, it does not stick to the hat. Leave it for 2-5 hours – it depends on the heat in the kitchen. Don't try to speed it up by placing it in an overly warm place as rye does not like to be too warm. Check it every once in a while. Rye is ready for the oven when there are little holes all over the surface. Keep your nerve and wait for that point.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. You can decorate the top of the loaf with seeds or a sprinkle of flour. Pop it in and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and remove from tin. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Rye is best eaten the next day and will certainly last for 3-4 days.
- Eat. Yum.