Rye Bread

Rye bread is made of—what else?—rye flour and can be light, dark (think pumpernickel) or both (called a marble rye). Because the gluten in rye isn't as elastic as it is in wheat, rye breads tend to rise less, making them compact and dense. The bread is popular is Scandanavia, Finland, Russia, Germany and many of the surrounding countries. According to Finnish-born baker Simo Kuusisto, “In Finland, bakers traditionally use wheat flour only for cookies and cakes. Because rye is hardy and strong-flavored, bakers use it for bread. Whole-grain rye is part of our identity.” Nutty, hearty rye breads can stand up to complex flavors, which is why they are the perfect vehicle for toppings like smoked meats, strong cheeses and pickled vegetables. F&W's guide helps you make rye bread step by step, offers delicious recipes and explores the cultures that love rye bread.

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Food & Wine: How to Make Scandinavian Rye Bread
How to Make Scandinavian Rye Bread
Master baker Lionel Vatinet is French, but the bread he’s most proud of is as far from an airy baguette as you can get. It’s a dense, aromatic rye loaf, the kind of bread that’s practically a religion in Scandinavia. Vatinet jokes that he created it to curry favor with his Norwegian father-in-law: “If I please him, I please everybody!” But the truth is that Vatinet, who runs North Carolina’s La Farm Bakery, is in love with grains, and this bread shows off one of his favorites: heirloom rye. The crusty loaf is both delicious and wholesome thanks to that rye, which a study found can reduce body weight. To this, Vatinet heaves a Gallic shrug. “I am not a doctor; I am a baker,” he says. Here, Vatinet's step-by-step instructions for the ultra-crusty, extra-flavorful, Scandi-style rye bread his family loves.—Sarah DiGregorio


Rye Bread Recipes