Light rye bread, deli style which means it’s divine for sandwiches and makes wicked toast. All made within a few hours.
Why are best ryes sourdough?
Rye breads with a high percentage of rye flour are commonly leavened with a sourdough starter, rather than yeast.
Rye contains far less gluten than wheat and so it refuses to expand as much, the lazy sod that it is. Rye dough will not rise high and proud, forming gluten steeples inside the crust but prefers to sprawl and spread, and just chill while producing lots of sugars.
In order to give it a kick up the backside and make it work to resemble a proper loaf, we usually sour it. It truly does like to ferment a lot, what with all the sugars it produces.
So in order to make one of those proper, East or North European rye breads with a considerable content of rye flour, you need to go for sourdough. I’ve learnt a lot about rye breads from the enlightening rye notes on The Fresh Loaf.
Semi-rye, full taste
This bread, however, isn’t full-on rye. I call it rye, deli style, but in fact it only has a relatively small addition of rye flour, for the taste.
And so it rises quite nicely on baker’s yeast and it’s friendlier towards those baking newbies who are a bit scared of sour starters.
It makes the most beautiful cold beef sandwiches and toasts like heaven. And don’t skip the glaze – crusty, salty and glossy.
Making the dough
This is a one-day bread, mixed, proofed and baked all within a few hours.
You can mix the dough by hand, using a wooden spoon or in a standing mixer, but once you obtain shaggy dough with no dry flour discernible, let it stand for twenty minutes to hydrate.
After that time knead as usual, by hand or machine. It aims to be smooth and elastic, bouncy and springy, and not sticky.
Rising in bulk, in a bowl, should take about one to one and a half hours in a warm corner of the kitchen, to double in size.
Shaping the loaf
You can bake this bread in a large loaf tin but it will hold its shape just as well when baked on a tray, lined with parchment in anticipation of the messy glazing post-baking.
If you have your tested loaf shaping method, go for it.
Otherwise a simple way is to fold the flattened dough in half lengthwise, fold over corners like ears, then give it a half-turn and do the same on the other side. When folded in half and sealed, the outside of the dough will be taut and smooth.
The second rise of the shaped loaf should take about forty minutes.
Baking and glazing
This bread bakes in an oven preheated to maximum, then gradually cooling to moderately hot.
Shiny and salty cornflour glaze is the finishing touch: messy to apply but satisfying. And the extra sprinkling of coarse sea salt and caraway seeds is what makes the bread.
An occasional salty crunch stuck to the glossy crust is a quiet, simple pleasure in a buttered slice of freshly baked bread.
More rye bread recipes
Black treacle rye bread with seeds, sultanas, barley and oats is rustic and easy to make. A gorgeous, knobbly loaf from Nigel Slater's recipe.
Scalded rye and honey loaf with a hint of cinnamon. Scalding flour works as dough enhancer, softening the crumb and prolonging the life of a loaf.
Malt vinegar rye bread with coriander and caraway seeds, nearly as exquisitely tasty as rye sourdough which it pretends to be, with a fraction of the toil.
More easy bread recipes
This is an easy recipe for pita bread. It's called pita or pitta, depending on the geolocation. Reasonably healthy, especially if you mix in some wholemeal flour, but of course it all depends on what you fill it with.
Wholemeal seeded bloomer made with a mix of white and whole wheat flour and plenty of seeds. Jim Lahey's no knead bread recipe is adapted here to make a seeded bloomer.
Light granary bread made with half and half malthouse (malted grain) flour and white bread flour. Commonly known as the bread 'with bits', it's as tasty as it's healthy.