The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America by Stanley Ginsberg

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Helsinki buttermilk rye (Sturenkadun piimälimppu)

    • MollyB on April 08, 2019

      Delicious and complex bread. As the notes in the book recommend, this was great with Havarti cheese.

    • dinnermints on July 18, 2022

      Lovely bread with a delightful and mild flavor. I over-proofed the dough, but the texture was still nice. Next time I’d try making it in loaf pans.

    • jenburkholder on August 07, 2021

      Quite delicious. I used honey instead of malt syrup. Contrary to what the headnotes say, it's a light and fluffy bread, good for sandwiches. Anise-forward, though, so be sure to like that flavor.

  • Hearty seeded rye (Saftig kerniges roggenbrot)

    • dinnermints on March 02, 2021

      This bread takes some planning in advance. There is a sponge, soaker, and scald, all of which need to be started the day prior in the afternoon; and the process of mixing, rising, and baking probably took around five hours the next day. BUT. It is delicious. Wonderful flavor, almost a little smoky, nutty with sunflower seeds, an overall rich-tasting bread. I'd be tempted to bake it in four smaller pans rather than one big one. I'd say this is one of my favorite recipes from this book so far.

  • "Archipelago" bread (Skärgårdslimpa)

    • dinnermints on February 23, 2019

      Surprised I neglected to write a note about this the first time I made it; it's fantastic. Nubbly and not too sweet, dark and chewy and raisiny and rich-tasting without being actually rich. This is a slow-baked quick bread that reminds me of Boston brown bread with more heft: you wouldn't want to drop it on your toe. I did not mix it by hand for a full 8-10 minutes; just mixed for the time it took to blend it into an even batter (mixed everything together well without baking soda first, then sifted in the soda and mixed a little more) and that didn't seem to have an adverse effect. The first time I made these loaves they blew out on the sides, so this time I scored them down the middle and that worked perfectly. 1.5 hours of baking time was the ticket.

  • Ammerland black bread (Ammerländer schwarzbrot)

    • dinnermints on July 18, 2018

      Finally, another winner out of this book. Mesmerizing flavor, and such heft (a 4 lb dense loaf, as advertised). The recipe says the dough would barely rise once in the pan, but mine rose an inch after two hours - because my starter was very active? because of the barley malt syrup? because of dumb luck? No idea. It was a bit easier than some of the other breads in this book, and very rewarding. Am sort of procrastinating right now on thinly slicing it, though, as it will be a workout.

    • kgmom on April 22, 2019

      I made this bread to contribute to a German breakfast. Our German guest thoroughly enjoyed it, as did the rest of us. My timing was off, so I placed in loaf pan and into fridge overnight. Worked great. Dough had risen about 1 inch over top of pan and baked up beautifully. Be sure to check out sponge during fermentation. It sings to you - sound like rice crisps ;)

  • Rye-raisin scones (Rågkakor med russin)

    • dinnermints on September 16, 2020

      I enjoyed these, but would not call them "scones" to anyone I was serving them to for fear one would be chucked at my head - the only resemblance to scones is the shape. They have no sweetener aside from raisins, and no fat (ate them smeared w/butter and drizzled with honey). I love the chew and flavor of rye meal, and added 1/2 cup walnuts along with the raisins. I'm not sure anyone in my family would appreciate them, though (well, maybe our toddler). I wouldn't likely make them for company, but would definitely make again for myself.

    • SpatulaClark on April 26, 2020

      Made this with rye flour instead of meal, and it still worked well! Swapped yeast for my rye sourdough, then added the balance of water and rye plus remaining ingredients. Just needed longer to rise.

  • Munich penny rolls (Münchner pfennigmuckerln)

    • dinnermints on May 05, 2022

      Delicious, nice chew. Takes a bit of planning. I might try making these flatter for more of a sandwich roll shape.

  • "Lifted" country boule (Ausgehobenes bauernbrot)

    • dinnermints on May 07, 2019

      This is one of those meta breads that has stale bread in it = great depth of flavor. I was afraid it would be a no-daylight kind of crumb, but while it's close, it still has a nice amount of sponge to it. It's a tad on the salty side, but then I also used salted butter. It's not clear from the recipe how long the shaped boules are supposed to rise, so I let them sit as long as it took the oven to preheat, maybe a little less than 30min. I scored two and left the third one plain, and would score all three next time. The baker's percentages at the end of the recipe are incorrect for the rye flours.

  • Normandy apple cider rye (Pain au cidre)

    • dinnermints on November 20, 2018

      Possibly the easiest bread I've made out of this book so far, and delicious. This bread has a tender, close crumb, caramel coloring, and a light apple fragrance/flavor due to the hard apple cider that provides the only liquid in the recipe. Usually when I see 18-20 minutes of mixing in Ginsberg's recipes, it translates into 30-40 minutes due to needing to scrape down the bowl every 30 seconds, but this dough whopped around in the bowl just fine by itself up until 12 minutes. Looking forward to some grilled sandwiches on this bread.

    • jenburkholder on September 03, 2021

      I concur with everything dinnermints said. Easy, tender, and tasty. Even got a thumbs-up from a rye disliker. Would make again.

  • Provençal rye (Pain de seigle Sisteron)

    • dinnermints on October 25, 2020

      I think the author mixed up his header notes for this recipe. "Dense, strong tasting, the color of dark coffee" - what?? This bread is almost half white flour and the rest medium rye; there is nothing in it to make it dark, and even the crust baked up pale-looking. It is also not strong tasting, nor it is it dense (that much white flour will un-dense a bread right up). Altogether an unremarkable bread. The dough was very loose, and never did gather around the bread hook per author's description. I wouldn't bother making this again.

  • Pumpkinseed rye (Kürbiskernbrot)

    • dinnermints on October 15, 2018

      Excellent. Lovely crumb, lovely flavor, overall a delightful bread. It took about at least 30min to mix the dough for 10-12 minutes, since the bowl had to be scraped down 2-3 times every minute. Well worth it, though - would make again.

    • jenburkholder on November 10, 2021

      This one didn't turn out for me, although I'll put it mostly down to personal error - bread stuck horribly to its bowl (very sticky dough), which didn't give it much of a chance going into the oven. Oven spring was nonexistent, and overall it didn't rise fast or well, despite the double leavening. The flavor was fine, however, it's a bit too rich of a bread for everyday given all of the seeds. May make again and remedy my errors, may not.

  • Frisian black bread (Fries swartbrood)

    • dinnermints on March 21, 2020

      This was a lovely and easy dough to work with. The bread has a lot of flavor, a moist crumb, and a noticeable sourness to it, which I really like. The crust is quite dark and a little on the dry side (eating the end piece took considerable chomping), but has a satisfying chew to it on a non-end piece. I did get an air pocket just under the top crust, which means I overproofed it. I followed the instructions and baked it when the dough was about 1/2" or so from the rim; next time would do 3/4" or so from the rim.

    • jenburkholder on November 23, 2021

      This was very nice. Good, sour flavor and a nice crumb; makes a good open-faced sandwich. Didn't proof a whole lot in the oven (nowhere near 1/2 inch from rim), but rose nicely once the heat was on. Would definitely make again.

  • East Berlin malt rye (Malfabrot)

    • dinnermints on February 08, 2021

      Wonderful malty flavor to this bread. The dough was easy to work with (as opposed to many rye doughs) and the crust is nice and crisp. Before baking, Ginsberg says to wait until the dough shows "cracking," but in other recipes, he says to look for pinhole pricks, and I think that would have been better instructions for this bread - in waiting for the cracks (which never appeared), I over-proofed it a little. I would definitely make this again.

    • jenburkholder on January 01, 2022

      Very nice bread. I agree on the proofing comments from u/dinnermints: pinpricks are the way to go (although I actually think I could have proofed mine a bit longer). Definitely malt-forward, but in a good way. Would make a great sandwich. Easy enough to work with and not too many ingredients, would make again.

  • Vilnius rye bread (Ruginé duona Vilniuje)

    • dinnermints on February 08, 2018

      This bread turned out well, although the flavor wasn't as deep as I'd hoped (then again, I have no sense of smell right now, so take that with a grain of salt). I increased the hydration by 10% since I was using freshly ground flour, but next time I'd try the original hydration as the bread was quite moist. Also, I'd bake it in Pullman pans, since the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pans were already within 1" of the rim of the pans when I first put in the dough (and they were supposed to only get there after 1-2 hours of proofing). I did follow the Ginsberg's instructions to only use 850g of dough per loaf pan, and that meant I had a little bit of dough left over, just enough to make one rye puck in a ramekin. Since I baked it off in the early evening, I double-wrapped it later that night and then sliced & froze it the next day.

  • Scalded rye bread (Rzhannoye chleb s zavarku)

    • dinnermints on July 01, 2018

      Good, but not fabulous. I used the suggested size for Pullman loaf pans, and the loaves were smallish, short, and close-crumbed. Maybe my starter wasn't lively enough, or perhaps I let the sponge & scald sit too long (it was a bit over 12 hours). And maybe it would be better as one big loaf. The flavor was good.

  • Yogurt rye (Chleb misezany)

    • dinnermints on August 21, 2017

      This bread reminds me of the doorstops I used to make when I first started baking whole wheat bread. There is a mistake in the first step - somehow adding 150g of water to 500g of flour is supposed to "form a slurry" - impossible. The finished product is very dense, and there isn't enough time for the bread to develop enough flavor. A shame, since it's one of only two recipes in this book that call for dark rye. I rated it two stars since it is edible, but I definitely won't be making it again. So far this is the only recipe I've tried from this book that has been a total dud, though.

  • Zakopane buttermilk rye (Chleb zakopiański z czarnuskza)

    • dinnermints on March 23, 2018

      Only giving this two stars because my husband did manage to take sandwiches on this bread. Otherwise, way too dense and not very flavorful. I shouldn't be surprised since hydration was 64%; am thinking it might be best to avoid low hydration breads in this book.

  • Rhineland black bread (Rheinländer schwarzbrot)

    • dinnermints on April 24, 2019

      This is a yeasted loaf with lots of rye meal and cracked wheat soaked in buttermilk overnight. Nubbly texture, great flavor, although I was expecting a darker loaf. Wonder if a 24-hour soak would be better than 12-18; seemed like the cracked wheat could've been hydrated a bit more. It was a tad bit gummy even though its internal temp was 210 degrees when I pulled it out. Next time I'd try 290 degrees for the full 2.5 hours (or 2.25 hours). It definitely needs to be scored, as it blew way out on one side. Otherwise, this was a pretty easy bread to make.

  • Weinheim carrot rye (Weinheimer möhrenbrot)

    • dinnermints on June 14, 2022

      This is a pretty bread with oats covering the outside and a crumb flecked with seeds and carrot - a good bread to bring as a gift/host offering. With this bread being mostly white rye and bread flour, it's a good loaf for people who aren't huge fans of a strong rye flavor. This was a fairly easy loaf to make as the dough came together quickly and there weren't as many steps as some of the other breads in this book.

  • Vinschgau twins (Pagnotte venostane / Vinschger paarlen)

    • dinnermints on August 13, 2017

      Very good rolls. I would increase the water in the sour wheat sponge to 45g. I saw once on the author's blog that he recommended increasing hydration by 10-15% if using freshly ground flour, and that's served me well in other recipes from this book that I've made, but in this case the dough seemed a bit wet - next time I'd try the original hydration amount with the above exception. Since it was so sticky, I didn't end up turning out the dough to knead. Instead, I transferred it to another bowl to weigh it, then scooped out big spoonfuls and barely worked the dough at all while shaping. I made 20 rolls instead of 16, and they were still pretty big. There was not enough pan room to make "twins," so most were triplets and there was a quintuplet in there. Guests loved them.

  • Sweet-sour rye bread (Saldskāba maize)

    • dinnermints on January 08, 2018

      This turned out very dry, dense, and undersalted. The density was probably helped along by my decrepit instant yeast, but the lack of salt is on the author. If I ever tried this again, I'd also increase the amount of cider. Next time I'd use wet hands and a wet surface to shape it rather than floury.

  • Ginger-plum bread (Zwetschgen-ingwer brot)

    • dinnermints on June 14, 2022

      I think a more apt name for this bread would be "Cracked Wheat Rye Bread with Hints of Ginger and Plum," as the ginger and plum flavors are very muted. That being said, this is a hearty and dense bread with great flavor and I'd make it again. The dough is very sludgy and sticky, so 6-8 minutes of mixing the final dough turns into around 1/2 hour what with having to scrape down the bowl every 20 seconds or so.

  • Sauerland black bread (Sauerländer schwarzbrot)

    • dinnermints on April 12, 2018

      Excellent flavor, would make this again. It turned out a bit gummy. I let the last rise go on for 1.5 hours, and perhaps should've ended it at 60min. I used wet hands/countertop to shape it instead of flour...this is much easier with rye bread, but maybe contributed to the gumminess? I also docked it, though it wasn't called for.

  • Old-school deli rye

    • blumietunes on September 25, 2019

      Excellent flavor, nice texture. My only gripe is that after glazing, the crust was soft, and the glaze wasn't that noticeable. I think I would have preferred it without...

  • Sweet limpa (Siraplimpa)

    • blumietunes on September 25, 2019

      Very dense, but pleasant. Not too sweet. The spices are more balanced than you'd think.

  • Westphalian pumpernickel (Westfälischer pumpernickel)

    • blumietunes on September 25, 2019

      Quintessential rye flavor, but the texture is tough, practically ruined my mixer. Too dense. I kneaded by hand for a while, until it practically ruined me. But great flavor.

  • Sauerkraut bread (Sauerkrautbrot)

    • jenburkholder on March 09, 2022

      Surprisingly mild in taste, but a very pleasant, light crumb and good flavor. The parts with sauerkraut did end up a bit mushy after sitting - might be better to dry the sauerkraut before adding. Didn’t rise much, but overall a pleasant bread.

  • Riga rye (Rudzu maise)

    • jenburkholder on September 17, 2022

      Very good, and very time-intensive. Rich flavor and a surprisingly soft texture come at the expense of many hours of your life dedicated to checking proofing temperatures and pulling leaden doughs. On the bright side, the loaf is enormous. Will probably make again (although not for a while!)

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Reviews about this book

  • Eat the Love

    For those who love baking bread or want to explore other flours beyond wheat and whole wheat, The Rye Baker is the book for you.

    Full review
  • Leite's Culinaria

    ...divides its recipes by region...Not only are we presented with great recipes...we are also supplied with a bit of history, some legend, and insightful technical information...

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 0393245217
  • ISBN 13 9780393245219
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Sep 27 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 416
  • Language English
  • Edition 1
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher W. W. Norton & Company

Publishers Text

“A must-have for all serious bread bakers; an instant classic.” Peter Reinhart, author of Bread Revolution

To many Americans, rye bread is a bland, store-bought loaf with an oval cross-section and, sometimes, a sprinkling of caraway. But true rye bread--the kind that stands at the center of northern and eastern European food culture--is so much more. In The Rye Baker, Stanley Ginsberg brings this overlooked grain into the culinary limelight, introducing readers to the rich and unimaginably diverse world of rye bread.

Readers will find more than 70 classic recipes that span rye’s regions and terroir, from dark, intense Russian Borodinsky and orange-infused Swedish Gotland Rye to near-black Westphalian Pumpernickel (which gets its musky sweetness from a 24-hour bake), Spiced Honey Rye from France’s Auvergne, and the rye breads of America’s melting-pot, such as Boston Brown Bread and Old Milwaukee Rye. Chapters detailing rye’s history, unique chemistry, and centuries-old baking methods round out The Rye Baker, making it the definitive resource for professional and home bakers alike. 42 color photographs.


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