The resurgence of rye bread

 rye bread

Rye is one of the ancient grains that is receiving renewed interest from chefs and home bakers alike. Recent cookbooks like The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America by Stanley Ginsberg explore the world of rye breads beyond the classic mild-flavored deli loaf. But that is just one example of rye's resurgence. You can learn more about its history at The New York Times, which reports on the renewed interest in this ancient grain.

Rye thrives in conditions that would spell ruin other grains like wheat, so for many in Europe it was the go-to grain for centuries. Rye bread requires a long fermentation period, which leads to its characteristic sour taste. In addition to that tang, all-rye breads like pumpernickel are usually dense and chewy. What the loaves lack in lightness, however, they make up in flavor. 

Recent renewed interest in Scandinavian food has led many back to traditional rye breads, which had been all but abandoned by chefs. They are also using whole rye grains (aka rye berries) in dishes beyond bread and pastry. Chef Kevin Adey, of the restaurant Faro in Brooklyn, New York, grinds the berries into fresh rye pasta to accompany hearty winter dishes. He likes the way that its complex flavor stands up in long cooking dishes like ragu. Adey doesn't label the pasta as rye on the menu, though, because many people think that they don't like rye and won't order it. The chef posits that they may not like caraway, which is often associated with rye. 

Photo of East Berlin malt rye (Malfabrot) from The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America  by Stanley Ginsberg

1 Comment

  • Rinshin  on  1/15/2017 at 12:45 PM

    I love rye breads. It's a taste I acquired when I lived briefly in PA Dutch area but find it hard to make good homemade rye breads. Tried several times but not happy with the results. I have to check this new book out.

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