Dark Rye Bread


Some time ago, I saw “whole grain” rye flour at a local grocery store and thought it might be fun to try my hand at rye bread. I have used rye flour in some multi-grain batches, but the flavor never really came through. Maybe this heartier version would be more like the rye bread I have bought in the past.
As I started to look for possible recipes to try, I discovered that what I was looking for was usually called “German Rye Bread.” I wanted something deep brown and solid.

It took me a few times to get the texture I wanted, so here are a few hints to try:

  • The dough generally seems more time to rise at each step than what you might be accustomed to with wheat and even other multi-grain breads, so allow plenty of time. I also find I like the texture best if I do punch down the dough an extra time in step 4.
  • While some of the sides I found on line talk about “folding” the dough rather than kneading, but I have had good success with kneading well. Try not to knead in too much flour. You can avoid this by adding just a little flour at a time. Stop kneading if the dough starts to have little “tears” in the side.
  • Recognize that the texture of the dough is going to be much more like play dough than the usual springy wheat bread, and that is okay. Note the hand prints on this dough ball:

  • Be sure to oil the dough when rising, as the dough can dry out quickly.
  • Slashing the dough here helps avoid “tears” on the sides of the loaves–plus it looks nicer.
  • While the caraway is optional, I happen to think that is part of the “real” rye bread experience.

Don’t be put off by all these “hints. This really isn’t all that hard to make , and it’s a wonderful foil for all kinds of sandwiches. Well worth trying if you like making breads. It’s a great way to vary your menus.

A couple more advantages:

This version is vegan too, so you can use this as the basis for your favorite no meat/dairy productions as well. Good for anyone with dairy or egg allergies too.

Dark Rye Bread

2 pkgs dry yeast

2 c warm water
¼ c brown sugar
2 T molasses
2 T vital wheat gluten
3 T cocoa powder
¼ c canola or other vegetable oil
2 t salt
1 T caraway seeds (optional)
3 ½ c whole grain rye flour
2 ½ to 3 ½ bread flour
1.         Combine all but the bread flour, beat well, and allow to sit until bubbly—about 20 minutes or so.
2.         Gradually add the bread flour until a soft dough is formed. Knead 8 to 10 minutes until smooth (it will feel like play dough). Place in oiled bowl, oil the top of the dough, and cover.
4.         Allow to raise at least an hour until doubled. If desired, punch down and let rise again. (It will probably look like this:)

5.         Divide in two pieces and shape into loaves. Slash tops and let raise another hour or so—probably won’t quite double.

6.         Bake at 376 about 25 minutes or until the crust is rich brown. You may want to lift one of the loaves off the pan to be sure the bottom is well browned.

Make into four smaller loaves–same length, just smaller diameter–for canapé style sandwiches. 

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