Swedish Beer Limpa/Vortlimpa

VortSliced

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 2½-3 hours
Hands-on Time 30-35 minutes
Yield: Two 1¾lb. (800 g.) loaves

Western Scandinavians like their rye breads sweet and fragrant, and this one is a perfect example of a yeast-leavened Swedish 100% rye. Its hydrating liquid is beer – another feature of northern European breads – and it’s sweetened with raisins and light molasses and perfumed with anise, fennel and orange zest. Keep Reading

Pinzgau Country Loaf/Pinzgauer Bauernbrot

PinzSlice

Rye %: 60%
Stages: Monheimer Salt Sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish 16-18 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-4o minutes
Yield: Two 34 oz. (965 g.) loaves

Pinzgau is in western Austria, bordered by Bavaria to the north, Switzerland to the west and alpine Italy to the south. Like most of the Alpine regions, its breads are typically mixed wheat and rye, and the rye flours are lighter than those in the north. Here, too, the use of bread spice (brotgewürz) – a 10-6-6-2 blend of caraway, anise, fennel and coriander, toasted and ground fine – is common, adding subtle notes of astringent, sweet and citrus to the breads. Keep Reading

In Defense of First Clear

FirstclearSide by side: Unbleached first clear (left) and unbleached high-gluten.

When I first started baking with rye, the breads I made – mainly the Jewish deli ryes and pumpernickels of my youth – called for first clear flour. And back in those early days, I had no idea what clear flour was, other than a very high-protein, high-fiber kind of wheat flour that had the “strength” to support up to 40% white rye flour and 30% medium rye – in other words, that the rye was an addition to what basically was a wheat bread that still depended on gluten to give it structure.
How little I knew!!! Keep Reading

Berlin Rye/Berliner Landbrot

BerlinerSlice

Rye %: 90%
Stages: Sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour, yeast
Start to Finish: 12-14 hours
Hands-on Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: One 38 oz. (1.10 kg.) loaf

After a week’s vacation with my mother, children and grandkids in Florida, my wife, daughter and I returned to San Diego refreshed and relaxed — except for my advanced case of rye baker cold turkey. Understandable, then, that the bread I chose for this week’s bake was (relatively speaking) quick and uncomplicated: I needed my rye fix and Berlin Rye was a great way to get it.

Berliner Landbrot is one of those classic loaves with many variations whose high standing in German bread culture is well-deserved. Keep Reading

On Retarding Rye Doughs

For the first time since I began baking rye breads eight or nine years ago, I recently — like yesterday — learned of bakers whose rye bread recipes call for retardation — Andrew Whitley (Bread Matters) and Charel Scheele (Old World Breads).  That surprised me, because no traditional recipe I’ve ever come across — and I’ve seen upwards of 200 — calls for refrigerating the dough, especially in high-percentage ryes. Keep Reading

Heavy Country Loaf/Schweres Bauernbrot

Schweres_cut

Rye %: 65%
Stages: Sponge, final dough
Leaven: Sour culture, yeast
Start to Finish: 14-16 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: One 4 lb. (1.8 kg.) loaf

I find myself drawn to heavy, rustic rye breads, and this one, which I adapted from the formula of a north German baker named Albert Schäfer, really lives up to its name. This is a coarse, chewy, quintessenial rye bread with a moist and tender crumb, great mouth feel – thanks to the seeds and coarse rye meal – and an intensely tangy finish that provides a lovely counterpoint to the sweetness of the spelt or wheat. Keep Reading

Why Rye Bread?

 

Jewish-Rye

I grew up eating rye bread — or at least what I thought of as rye bread — as the grandchild of eastern European Jewish immigrants. However, I didn’t start baking with rye until I began exploring my culinary roots, an exploration that ultimately came to fruition in Inside the Jewish Bakery.

During my research, I encountered the dense, dark rye breads that my grandparents’ generation subsisted on, but which had already disappeared from the Jewish bakeries of my childhood. I was hooked: My quest led me to the rye breads of northern, central and eastern Europe — largely unknown in the U.S. — where I found flavors, textures and baking challenges I never imagined existed. Keep Reading