Coming Through the Rye

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    Mike Nolan

      I'm starting a major project here on My Nebraska Kitchen, my goal is to bake every recipe in Stanley Ginsberg's book The Rye Baker, which will often be abbreviated as TRB. I think there are 78 full recipes, plus variations that I probably won't do all of. My original goal was to finish in 2020, but now I figure it'll take me 4-5 years.

      I will be posting pictures and assessments of the breads as I make them in this topic, though some work-in-progress comments may go in the weekly 'What are you Baking' topic. If so, I'll try to cross-link them.

      Here are the recipes in The Rye Baker by chapter, as I make them I'll turn these into links to the post reviewing that bread.

      Immigrant Bread: America

      Old School Deli Rye (39% rye flour)
      Dakota Norwegian Rye (29% rye flour)
      New York Corn Rye (35% rye flour)
      Boston Brown Bread (40% rye flour)
      Jewish Bakery Pumpernickel (42% rye flour)
      Old Milwaukee Rye (45% rye flour)

      The Essential Loaf: France and Spain

      Breton Folded Rye (64% rye flour)
      Galician Rye Bread (44% rye flour)
      Avergne Rye-Wheat Boule (50% rye flour)
      Normandy Apple Cider Rye (71% rye flour)
      Spiced Honey Rye (33% rye flour)
      Provençal Rye (54% rye flour)

      Robust and Complex: Holland, Denmark and Northern Germany

      Dithmarsch Cabbage Rye (29% rye flour)
      Danish Rye Bread (75% rye flour)
      Pumpkinseed Rye (69% rye flour)
      Frisian Black Bread (50% rye flour)
      Scorched Crust Sour Rye (79% rye flour)
      Salty Rye Rolls (56% rye flour)
      East Berlin Malt Rye (75% rye flour)
      Frisian Gingerbread (100% rye flour)
      Ammerland Black Bread (80% rye flour)
      Slow Baked Frisian Rye (100% rye flour)
      Hearty Seeded Rye (100% rye flour)
      Berlin Cobbler Boys (100% rye flour)

      Sweet and Crisp: Sweden, Finland and Iceland

      'Archipelago' Bread (21% rye flour)
      Honey Flaxseed Crispbread (75% rye flour)
      Helsinki Buttermilk Rye (50 rye flour)
      Rye Biscuits (100% rye flour)
      Gotland Rye (50% rye flour)
      Rye Tortillas (100% rye flour)
      Sour Rising Bread (100% rye flour)
      Sweet Limpa (100% rye flour)
      Rye Raisin Scones (53% rye flour)
      Slow-Baked Finnish Rye (73% rye flour)
      Buttery Crispbread (100% rye flour)

      Aromatic and Flavorful: Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria and Italy

      Munich Penny Rolls (43% rye flour)
      Swabian Rye Blossom (51% rye flour)
      South Tyrolean Christmas Zelten (60% rye flour)
      Sauerkraut Bread (63% rye flour)
      "Lifted" Country Boule (75% rye flour)
      Bavarian Rye (63% rye flour)
      Black Bread of Val d'Aosta (67% rye flour)
      Rye Bites (67% rye flour)
      Austrian Country Boule (70% rye flour)
      Caraway Beer Bread (50% rye flour)
      Valais Rye (90% rye flour)
      Franconia Crusty Boule (87% rye flour)
      Vinschgau Twins (58%)

      Dark and Intense: Russia and the Baltics

      Sweet Sour Rye Bread (74% rye flour)
      GOST Borodinsky (81% rye flour)
      Christmas Bread (100% rye flour)
      Riga Rye (89% rye flour)
      Minsk Rye (90% rye flour)
      Vilnius Rye Bread (100% rye flour)
      Raisin Orange Rye (100% rye flour)
      Belarusian Sweet Rye (94% rye flour)
      Spiced Honey Squares (100% rye flour)
      Lithuanian Potato Rye (100% rye flour)
      Scalded Rye Bread (100% rye flour)

      Tender and Piquant: Southern Poland

      Cumin Rye (70% rye flour)
      Yogurt Rye (50% rye flour)
      Mountain Oat Rye (49% rye flour)
      Zakopane Buttermilk Rye (50% rye flour)
      Polish-Ukrainian Rye (59% rye flour)
      Sunflower Seed Rolls (57% rye flour)
      Milk Rye (61% rye flour)

      Rich and Varied: Central and Southwestern Germany

      Rhineland Black Bread (33% rye flour)
      Rye Sticks (36% rye flour)
      Weinheim Carrot Rye (39% rye flour)
      Münster Country Boule (45% rye flour)
      Ham and Dark Beer Rye (54% rye flour)
      Kassel Rye (60% rye flour)
      Westphalian Pumpernickel (100% rye flour)
      Ginger-Plum Bread (60% rye flour)
      Paderborn Rye (75% rye flour)
      Sauerland Black Bread (100% rye flour)

      Spread the word
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Mike Nolan.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Mike Nolan.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Mike Nolan.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Mike Nolan.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Mike Nolan.

        I'm looking forward to reading about your rye experiments, Mike. I'm also interested in what you think of the flours you bought, as I've considered buying from that place.

        I've baked two straight dough recipes from the book. The Rye Bites (pp. 225-226) I've baked twice. I've learned that when he says to use an upper oven rack when baking, I should do it. When kneading with my Cuisnart mixer, I did have to stop and adjust the dough, but that may be the result of a 7-qt. mixer.

        I've also baked the Salty Rye Rolls (pp. 141-142). Again, baking in the upper third of the oven is essential to avoid burned bottoms.

        I have his Yogurt Rye Recipe (pp293-294) marked to try, so maybe I'll make that my next bread. I'd need to substitute buttermilk for the yogurt, as I can only get good Greek yogurt or full-fat Stoneyfield in this area.

        I'm a big fan of his pumpkin bread recipe on his site, which I've baked three times. It is a pretty wet bread, and I think that the loaf came out with the most height the first time that I bake it, but that may be due to the variations in water in pumpkin.

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by BakerAunt.
        Mike Nolan

          I ordered two assortments of rye flour from NY Bakers and they arrived yesterday. (I’m glad it came yesterday, we got an inch and a half of snow overnight.)

          It was a bit of a challenge to find containers to hold 8 different three-pound bags of flour, but we managed, losing about half my open counter space in the process, at least for a little while. I now have about as many containers of rye flour as I do wheat flour.

          I’m starting the process of building a rye starter, I’ll be using some of the discards from that to make some rye breads in Ginsberg’s book that use commercial yeast.

          Aaron, have you made many of his recipes yet? A BBGA member told me he thinks some of those recipe are too wet/gummy or not baked long enough. From what I’ve read about rye, in Ginsberg’s book and elsewhere, I know there are challenges ahead, but I’m hoping to produce some eastern European black bread, as well as some other interesting rye breads.

          Locally the only rye flours I can find are the Bob's Red Mill dark rye and some bulk rye flour at the Open Harvest Coop and Hy-Vee that both appear to also be a dark rye flour (and may be from the same source), it looks similar to several of the ones I got from NY Bakers.

          Ideal Grocery, a Lincoln fixture since 1919, carried bags of medium rye that they were repackaging, but it burned down several years ago and wasn't rebuilt. The people who run Leons bought Ideal about 8 years ago but Leons doesn't carry everything that Ideal did, and I don't really shop there much. They do carry a mustard from France that I like.

          I also still have some of the pumpernickel flour I was getting from the Mennonite store in TN, though none of the ones I got from NY Bakers appears to be the same flour. When I was buying whole rye berries and grinding them up in my flour mill at the coarsest settings, that flour looked fairly similar to the pumpernickel flour.

          It kind of hard to tell some of the 8 types of rye flour apart, there's one that's really coarse, almost like rye chops. There's one that appears to be really fine, several of the others appear fairly similar, time will tell whether I can detect much difference.

          The total price from NY Bakers, with shipping, was in the $3.60 per pound range, a bit more expensive than the local options, but not that different from KAF and other online sources, and now I've got a lot of options to try. I doubt I'll use enough rye flour to justify buying a 25 or 50 pound bag of any one flour.

          I ordered it on the 8th, it came on the 16th, that's not too bad. I didn't get a tracking number from them (it came Fedex), but I don't think KAF sends them, either. I'm spoiled by Amazon, which not only gives you detailed tracking information but if it is coming via an Amazon truck they'll tell you how many stops away the truck is on delivery day. They've definitely raised the bar for online ordering.

          Looking through the recipes in Ginsberg's Rye Baker book, I didn't see any that use first clear flour. Maybe its just too hard to get. (I don't think NY Bakers stocks it.)

          Followup: There are a few recipes in TRB that mention clear flour as an alternative to bread flour.

          • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Mike Nolan.

            I have my doubts about FedEx. KAF has used FedEx Smart Post, and it seems to take a long time for packages to move. An order from another place suddenly disappeared from the tracking. I inquired from the seller, and it turned re-appeared on the tracking--apparently sent back from Michigan to Ohio (or never sent in the first place), and then sent back to the same place in Michigan, where it finally was dropped off with the post office, who got it to me quickly. I had a similar problem with a book from Barnes & Noble last year.

            Mike Nolan

              Small towns might not get the same level of service from Fedex that bigger ones get.

              I've not been impressed with smartpost, either, as it seems like once the package is handed over to the post office you can't track it any further.


                You can sign up for text notifications with USPS. When I have a smart post shipment I always get notified when ever the package hits an arrival and shipment point.


                  Hi Mike. I have not used any recipes from Ginsberg. I have used recipes from George Greenstein Secrets of a Jewish Baker (which is really 90% bread) and Marcy Goldman's Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking which has been my go-to Jewish recipe book for about 20 years. After trying things from both I combined them and then modified it based on some advice from Ginsberg's blog. So I make a caraway rye with about %35-40 first clear and the rest bread flower. I use a starter which I remake every time as I don't really have a place to keep a sourdough starter that I keep going.

                  Ms. Goldman's recipes produce good results and are simpler and less fussy than many others. It was a great place for me to start learning when I was starting out on my own. She is Canadian and, sadly, is not very well known in the US.

                  I am also now traveling four days a week for work so I don't know if I could maintain a starter. I will need to train my kids. I am going to teach them to make pizza dough so they can make when I am on the road.

                  Both FedEx and UPS rely very heavily on USPS for moving many of their packages handling the last mile themselves. This is true too for Amazon although less true in places where they offer two hour delivery.


                    Beware of text messages with package notifications. Looks like the scammers have already caught on!

                    Mike Nolan

                      My rye sour starter is starting to smell decidedly sour, not sure how much wild yeast it has picked up, though. I'm saving the discards and will be using it for some of the first few breads I try, because at $3 or so a pound for rye flour I'm not just throwing it away!

                      My plan is to see if I can make all the recipes in Ginsberg's The Rye Baker during 2020. (Not counting variants and add-ins I think there are 78 recipes.) Trying to figure out how much of the discards I can use up will likely influence the order in which I do the first few breads, I'll start with ones that either use commercial yeast or a combination of rye sour and commercial yeast.

                      I'm going to start on the sauerkraut rye bread first, by popular choice here.


                        That's an ambitious project, Mike! I'll be reading avidly. Maybe it will tempt me to consider making a rye starter. I wish that I had tried the crispbread recipe before I learned that I have cholesterol issues. Sigh.

                        On Monday, I baked Yogurt Rye (Chleb Misezany) from Stanley Ginsberg’s The Rye Baker (pp.293-294), a recipe from Poland. I do not have regular yogurt in the house, so I used an equal weight of buttermilk. The recipe is for a single loaf, and as has been the case for small recipes that use rye, my 7-qt. Cuisinart dough hook tends to drill down into the dough, which sticks to the sides of the bowl, and I must keep stopping the mixer and repositioning it to assure even kneading. When kneading for a long time, as these recipes require, that gets old quickly. If we like this bread, I plan to try the dough in the bread machine (the Zo) next time. Instructions for the second rise are to let it rise “well over the top” of the 8x4-inch loaf pan. Sigh—I do not find such instructions all that useful. In the end, it was about 3 ¾ inches above when I put it into the oven, and as I suspected with this kind of bread, there is not much if any oven spring. The bread needed the full 50 minutes to bake. There is an unusual direction to let the bread cool completely in the pan before removing it to cut. (In checking the internal temperature, I put the thermometer in from the side instead of in the bottom of the loaf as I usually do.) The aroma is very nice, so I look forward to slicing into it tomorrow.

                        Mike Nolan

                          Sour cream might have worked well, too, the cultured stuff is a lot like yogurt for cooking purposes.


                            I'm not sure why Ginsberg says to cool the bread in the pan. It was an unusual instruction, so I followed it. However, when I pulled the loaf out after it had cooled, there was condensation all over the pan, and especially on the bottom of the loaf. Of course, I then had one of those "Duh!" moments. I've put the loaf on a rack to dry out. Next time, I would take it out after 10-15 minutes.

                            Mike Nolan

                              In the front matter, he says to unpan breads immediately, odd that this one doesn't follow that.


                                We had the bread for sandwiches. We both find it rather "blah," with not particular stand out taste. I don't know if the substitution of buttermilk for yogurt made that much of a difference--and the recipe was not specific as to what kind of yogurt. It is a nicely firm bread and holds sandwich filling well, but it does not seem to stand on its own in terms of taste.


                                  BA, perhaps that is the strong point of that bread, being the backbone of the sandwich and letting the filling shine.

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