Bread Baking: A Pair of Ryes

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It’s embarrassing how many types of rye flour I usually have on hand. I love rye.

Rye chops aren’t a type of flour, though. Essentially they’re roughly cut rye berries. They’re chunky bits, sort of like the steel cut oats of the rye world.

I love rye breads but rye doughs aren’t as easy to work with as all-white doughs. They tend to be sticky, which invites adding more flour. Then they become dense. They don’t have as much gluten so even when there’s just a portion of rye in a dough you need to knead a lot longer to get decently stretchy dough.

But in the end, it’s worth it. And did I mention that rye is a whole-grain product? (At least it is most of the time.) So if you want more whole grains in your diet, you can turn to rye instead of always going straight to whole wheat.

As far as all-rye breads, nah, I don’t do that very often. I like the structure that bread flour provides in a mixed dough. So that’s what you’re getting here. And it’s pretty darned good.

Whenever I’m working with a whole-grain or chunky grain product, I like to let that soak just a little bit, either just with water or along with the yeast. I think it helps soften the grain a bit. If you can’t find rye chops you can use a coarse-grained rye flour instead.

  • 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) rye chops
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Combine the rye chops, water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir to combine and set aside for 20 minutes. Add the bread flour and salt, and knead until the dough is elastic. Add the oil and continue kneading until it is completely incorporated.

  2. Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with olive oil, and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled, about an hour.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Form it into your preferred shape – round or oval. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Set aside until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.

  4. Slash the loaf as desired and bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack before slicing.

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