The Danes are known for their rye breads, of which there are dozens of variations, all of which are called “Rugbrød.” Most are sweet and dense, loaded with seeds and coarse rye meal to provide both richness and a satisfyingly rustic coarse mouth feel.
by John Melngailis – Partner, Black Rooster Food, LLC
NOTE: I first met John Melngailis at Bread Furst, James Beard winner Mark Furstenburg’s Washington DC bakery. Mark had been kind enough to arrange for me to appear at the bakery to publicize The Rye Baker, and invited John, whose love of his native Latvian rye breads prompted him to found Black Rooster Food and start baking them commercially. Needless to say, John and I hit it off immediately, spending a good part of the morning talking about the marvels of Baltic rye. He was also kind enough to bring me a loaf of each of his breads — dense, sweet-sour rupjmaize, and a triangular loaf of his fruit-and-nut holiday bread, both of which were extraordinary. So when John sent me this essay on his relationship with the bread he loves, I simply had to share; it’s a fascinating read.Keep Reading
I’d been meaning to make Vitebsk Rye for some time – ever since I found it in Mike Zhuravel’s magnificent Russian-language bread blog, O Khlebye. The result made me wonder why I’d waited so long: this is a truly splendid Belarusian rye bread.
Note: This article first appeared in the Fall, 2017 issue of Bread Lines, the quarterly newsletter of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America.
When I buy a bag of wheat flour, I pretty much know what I’m getting. We’re a wheat-eating nation, and although there are no formal standards for wheat flour grading, the milling industry has reached a marketing consensus that puts everyone on the same page. So no matter who milled it, I can be confident that my bag of bread flour will contain 12-13% protein and 0.50-0.53%ash, my H&R/AP flour will come in at10.5-12% protein and 0.52-0.53% ash, my soft wheat cake flour will measure at 8.0-9.5 percent protein and 0.42-0.45% ash, and so on down the line for any other flour I might need. There are few, if any, surprises.
2-stage rye sponge, Wheat sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Rye sour culture
Start to Finish:
Two 28 oz/800 g loaves
If there’s a rye bread equivalent of the Perfect Storm – that is, when all the ideal conditions come together at the same time – this bread is it. Start with the formula for a classic South Tyrolean Merano Rye from Austrian master baker/blogger Dietmar Kappl, then use it to showcase two spectacular artisan flours – California-grown Abruzzi rye from Grist & Toll and organic heritage emmer from Maine Grains – and you come up with a bread that’s very, very special. Keep Reading
These Anise-Fennel Loaves were a nice surprise that showed up while I was surfing the web for easy rye recipes. My wife and I were going out that evening, planning to get together with several friends who are regular fans of my rye breads. I didn’t want to disappoint them, but didn’t have the time to produce a full-blown sourdough bread, and this one filled the bill beautifully. Keep Reading
Deli rye – that light, open-crumbed, caraway-fragrant New York classic – is what most Americans think of when they hear “rye bread.” Without getting into the rightness or wrongness of that fact, deli rye is without question the bread to wrap around a thick layer of pastrami, corned beef or pickled tongue – with or without Swiss cheese, cole slaw, sauerkraut, mustard and/or Russian dressing. So when my wife went shopping one morning and came back with a package of heavily peppered, deep pink pastrami, there was no question about how we were going to eat it. Keep Reading
For a bread that many Germans consider to be a best of breed Lower Saxony rye, recipes for Oldenburg Rye are surprisingly scarce; in fact, it took me several months, plus the help of a German baking friend, to locate this recipe on the website of a large north German baking ingredients company.
The search was worth the hassle: this is a bread that combines the robust flavors and mouth-feel of coarse rye meal with the moist crumb of a stale-bread soaker and the intense sour of an 18-24 hour sponge. Keep Reading
I recently was able to get hold of a couple of kilos of Russian rye flour, and so what better bread to try it out on than a Russian rye bread that specifically calls for this type of flour? The recipe comes from O Khlebe, the Russian-language blog that’s my go-to source for all breads Russian. Its name comes from its origin, Podmoskva, the region surrounding Moscow — so a northern bread with the lighter color and milder flavor associated with Russia’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban center. Keep Reading
I found this flavorful, crusty rye bread in one of the first German baking books I acquired, Rustikale Brote aus deutschen Landen (Rustic Breads from the German Countryside) by Gerhard Kellner, a well-known German bread blogger who goes by the nickname “Ketex.” It intrigued me for a couple of reasons. Keep Reading