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Stanley Ginsberg

Stanley Ginsberg, author of the upcoming The Rye Baker (W.W. Norton & Co., Sept. 2015), is owner-proprietor of The New York Bakers (www.nybakers.com), an online purveyor of professional baking ingredients, supplies and equipment to home and hobbyist bakers. His first book, Inside the Jewish Bakery, received the IACP's 2012 Jane Grigson Award. A native New Yorker, he and his wife, Sylvia Spieler Ginsberg, live in San Diego.

Latgalian Rye/Latgaliešu Maize (Latvia)

 

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, Scald, 2-Stage sponge-scald
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 28-32 hours
Hands-on Time: 45-50 minutes
Yield: One 3.15 lb/1.40 kg loaf

Latgalian Rye is one of those complex Baltic breads I’d been meaning to make for some time, but life, as usual, got in the way. Finally, having found the time to devote to this flavorful, technically interesting Baltic rye, I took the plunge.

Like other Latvian rye breads I’ve eaten, this one features a dark, chewy crust, close yet tender crumb and distinctive sweet-sour flavor profile. Likewise, the use of multiple pre-doughs, including not just a sponge, but also a scald and two sour-scalds, produce enormously complex and nuanced flavors. Keep Reading

Sourdough Auvergne Rye Loaf/Tourte de Seigle (France)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Stage 1 sponge, Stage 2 sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 14-16 hours
Hands-on Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: Two 1¾ lb/800 g loaves

A couple of months ago, I posted a recipe for this Auvergne classic that used both a rye sour sponge and a yeasted rye sponge. Then I came across a video from the École internationale de boulangerie for this same bread, but built on a sour sponge only. Of course, me being me, I had to bake it as well – both for my own curiosity and also because I was teaching a rye baking workshop for the Bread Bakers Guild of America and needed about 2 lb/900g of stale rye bread, which I didn’t have on hand. This bread, being 100% rye and devoid of flavoring agents outside of salt, was the perfect candidate for staling (with enough left over for comparison tasting with my earlier loaf). Keep Reading

Tavastian Rye Rusks/Hämäläiset Ruiskorput (Finland)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 4 hours
Hands-on Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Two dozen 1¼ oz./35 g rusks

Someone recently asked me if I had a good recipe for rye rusks and this one immediately came to mind. Rusks – that is, bread that’s purposely dried for long storage – are not common in the US: biscotti and zwieback perhaps come closest. In northern Europe especially, however, they’re far more common.

This recipe comes from the central Finnish region historically known as Tavastia (Hämä in Finnish), and was a bread traditionally baked and eaten at the talvennapa – a pagan feast that took place in mid-January to mark the end of the joulu (Christmas) observance and to welcome the sun, Pälvätär, back into the sky after the long, dark days of midwinter.
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Applesauce-Buttermilk Rye/Omenalimppuja (Finland)

Rye %: 50%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 3½ hours
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb/725 g loaves

In terms of rye baking, it can be said that Finland is where East and West meet: The breads of eastern Finland are dense, dark and sour, much like the breads of their immediate neighbors, Russia and the Baltics. To the west, the breads have more in common with the sweet, fragrantly spiced mixed-grain breads of Sweden. Keep Reading

The “Juicy One”/Das Saftige (Germany)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sour sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 13-15 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: One 3-lb/1.35 kb loaf

Odd name for a bread, The “Juicy One,” especially since this close-crumbed, rustic north German bread is anything but “saftig,” German, for “juicy. But if you consider its broader meaning (which survives in the Yiddish word zoftig) of “ripe,” “luscious” and “mouth watering,” then the description is spot-on, for this bread has a rich, mouth-filling texture and subdued sweet spiciness that showcases rye in all its glory. Keep Reading

Auvergne Rye Loaf/Tourte de Seigle (France)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sour sponge, Yeasted sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 15-17 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb/700 g loaves.

Considering that Tourte de Seigle is one of France’s classic rye loaves, I felt that at some point it was a must-bake, and our plans for a New Year’s Eve gathering offered the perfect excuse. Most of the recipes I’ve seen for this traditional 100% rye bread from France’s Auvergne region are built exclusively on a sour rye sponge. This version, which comes from Christian Maurice, bread instructor at Paris’ Ferrandi Culinary Academy, uses both a sour sponge and a yeasted rye sponge, which moderates the acidity of the finished loaf and lets the sweet spiciness of the rye shine through. Keep Reading

Hazelnut-Fig Loaf/Hasselpähkinä-Viikunalimppu (Finland)

Rye %: 36%
Stages: Scald, Final dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 4½-5 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: Two 2¾ lb/785 g loaves

Thinking about my third and final holiday bread for 2016, I decided that I wanted something halfway between the savory Christmas Crispbread and sweet Bavarian Ketzapiren I’d already posted. This Hazelnut-Fig Loaf immediately came to mind. Like many Finnish Christmas loaves, this one is based on a mixed wheat-rye dough, sweetened with syrup and enhanced with the sweet-bitter notes of roasted barley malt. What sets this one apart is its use of chopped figs and hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and coarse rye meal. All of these combine to produce a coarse, complex mouth feel that plays beautifully against an equally complex flavor profile of understated sweetness, nuttiness, coffee and subtle sour. Keep Reading

Tegernsee Christmas Loaf/Tegernseer Ketzapiren

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Baking powder
Start to Finish: 1½-2 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: One 2 lb./900 g loaf

Marking religious holidays and life events by enhancing everyday bread with rare delicacies goes back a long way in Europe. The tradition survives most clearly in the stollen of Germany, the panettones of Italy, Lithuania’s Kaledu Pyragas (Christmas Bread), the zelten of South Tyrol and in this richly fruited Ketzapiren, which comes from Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps, not far from the Austrian border. Keep Reading

Christmas Crispbread/Juligt Knäckebröd (Sweden)

Rye %: 57%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 3 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: Eight 4 oz./115 g breads

Just about all of the Christmas breads I’ve seen are sweet and typically feature spices, fruits and/or nuts in great profusion. This Christmas crispbread from Sweden, however, goes against the tide: it’s an austere bread whose characteristics lead me to view it as a relic of life in Sweden’s frigid north, where the living was hard and the only luxuries available were modest at best. Keep Reading