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Carrot-Potato Tarts/Sklandrauši (Latvia)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: None
Start to Finish: 1 hour
Hands-on Time: 40 minutes
Yield: About 1½ dozen three-inch tarts

During my first full day in Riga, I had lunch with Ieva, who helped me plan the 2018 Baltic Rye Tour. We met at a traditional Latvian restaurant nestled by a cobblestoned street and surrounded by 18th century buildings in the Old City. As we discussed the itinerary, which centered on Riga and southeastern Latvia, she said, “You should really go to Kurzeme (Latvia’s western province). They make these wonderful rye tarts filled with carrots.” I sipped my beer and filed the thought away for further consideration. Keep Reading

Finnish Malt Bread/Mallas Leipää

Rye %: 51%
Stages: Scald, Final dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 4-4½ hours
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Three 1¾ lb/800 g loaves

One of the breads I discovered on Baltic Rye Tour 2018 was this simple and lovely Finnish malt bread. I first tasted it at the Wi-Box Bakery in Raseborg, on Finland’s southwestern coast, where Swedish influence is very strong. It was an immediate hit, not just with me, but with all 18 members of our jolly band of bread nerds. Keep Reading

Palanga Rye/Ruginė Duona iš Palangos (Lithuania)

Rye %: 90%
Stages: Sourdough sponge, Scald, Scald-sponge (Opara), Yeast sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 24-30 hours
Hands-on Time: 45-50 minutes
Yield: One 3¼ lb/1.46 kg loaf

My weakness for Baltic rye breads took over when I found this recipe in a Polish blog. Just to set the scene, Palanga is a coastal resort in western Lithuania, on the shores of the Baltic whose white sand beaches attract tourists from all over Europe, especially Poles and Germans. I suspect that this bread, which is lighter in both color and flavor that the other Baltic ryes I’ve encountered, is intended to appeal to the tastes of the town’s economically important summer visitors. Instead of the wholegrain rye flour that’s commonly used in Baltic breads, this one uses Type 1150, a much lighter blend that can be approximated by mixing 2/3 medium rye and 1/3 white rye. Keep Reading

Sourdough Danish Rye/Rugbrød på surdej (Denmark)

Rye %: 84%
Stages: Stage 1 sponge, Stage 2 sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 26-30 hours
Hands-on Time: 35-45 minutes
Yield: Two 2¾ lb./1.25 kg loaves

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.

This one is a different. Keep Reading

Vitebsk Rye/Vitebskiy Chleb (Belarus)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, Scald, Scald-sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 11 hours
Hands-on Time: 40-50 minutes
Yield: One 2¼ lb/1.0 kg loaf

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.

Keep Reading

A Coast-to-Coast South Tyrolean (Merano) Rye/Meraner Striezl

Rye %: 61%
Stages: 2-stage rye sponge, Wheat sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 26-30 hours
Hands-on Time: 45-60 minutes
Yield: 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

Anise-Fennel Loaves/Rågkakor (Sweden)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: Under 2 hours
Hands-on Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Four 10½ oz/300 g loaves, plus centers

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

8-Hour Quick Sponge Deli Rye

Rye %: 40%
Stages: 2-Stage quick sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 7-8 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb/700 g loaves

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

Oldenburg Rye/Oldenburger Landbrot (Germany)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sponge, Soaker, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 22-28 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 3 lb./1.36 kg loaf

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