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~ Try My Rye: It's Homemade in the Bread Machine ~

IMG_0399Rye bread is a staple of Eastern European cuisine, so, I grew up eating rye bread and loving it. We ate it toasted for breakfast, on sandwiches for lunch and as our bread course for dinner. Some of the best rye breads I have ever encountered have come out of the Jewish bakeries of New York and New Jersey.  I'm no innocent when it comes to knowing great rye bread.  My favorite rye breads are light ryes (as opposed to dark ryes) containing caraway seeds (a staple in the Eastern European pantry).  In fact, it is the nutty, pungent, slightly-musky flavor of the caraway seeds that I like even better than the slightly-tangy flavor of the rye flour.  In my opinion:

IMG_0348Light rye breads without the caraway seeds are pointless!

IMG_0422A bit about caraway seeds.  Feel free to tell me I'm wrong (or give it your best shot), but the moment you open a jar of caraway seeds you smell rye bread, and you should. They are not put in rye bread for texture or garnish, they are put in there for aroma and flavor.  They are a member of the the parsley family, which includes fennel, dill, cumin and coriander -- while they all may look sort of similar, they all have a very different, distinct flavor, and, once one has been added to a dish, you know it is in there.  When I walk into an American bakery that does not put caraway seeds in their light rye, I walk out the door!

IMG_0283A bit about rye flour.  Let me start by saying, rye bread made with rye flour alone, while palatable, is very very dense and heavy.  Rye flour is usually combined with whole wheat flour, white wheat flour, or occasionally, all-purpose flour, to produce a lighter loaf.  Why? Rye flour on its own, while it does contain gluten, does not contain enough to allow the bread to rise. When rye flour is combined with any type of wheat flour (proportions vary depending on the wheat flour and your texture preference), rye bread delivers all the complexity of heartier, whole-grain breads.

IMG_1761A bit about high-gluten/vital wheat gluten flour:  Made from a protein found in the wheat berry, this is an additive/gluten booster for all-purpose flour and weaker flours. Boosting the gluten content is important when baking certain types of bread:  rustic loaves, like French baguettes and Italian ciabatta, which require a long rising time in order to achieve the desired airy holes in their crumb and a chewy texture; breads made with coarse, whole grain flours and/or cereals, which contain little gluten on their own (rye flour is one of them), and; flat breads like focaccia and some pizza doughs.

Some rye breads are made with sourdough starter, and, I love a well-made loaf of sourdough rye too.  Alas, a sourdough rye starter can take weeks to produce, and when I'm wanting homebaked rye bread I don't usually have that kind of time.  THAT is the point of THIS post, and:

This post is about light rye, not black bread or pumpernickel!

IMG_0329Bread machine bread is rectangular or square in shape.  No matter what size loaf you elect (most machines give you three options:  1-pound, 1 1/2-pound, or 2-pound loaves), they all get baked in the shape of the loaf pan that came with the machine.  What is wrong with that? Technically nothing.  Visually:  Even though it rises and browns beautifully (thanks to the many options the bread machine offers), it "plainly" is not going to win any "bread beauty contests".  This is a give-and-take you'll forget the moment you taste the bread!

Note:  Because rye flour down-sizes the amount of rise, I always make and choose the 2-pound cycle.

IMG_02791  cup whole milk

5  tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

5  tablespoons sugar

2  teaspoons sea salt

2  extra-large eggs, preferably at room temperature, lightly beaten

3  cups unbleached all-purpose flour, or, unbleached white whole-wheat flour  (Note:  I use them interchangeably and I like the results I get from both.*)

1  cup rye flour, preferably all natural, stone ground, whole grain

1/4  cup vital wheat gluten

2  teaspoons granulated yeast, NOT rapid-rise (1 packet)

2  tablespoons caraway seeds

IMG_0462 IMG_0432* Note:  The rye loaf pictured above is made with unbleached, all-purpose flour.  The rye loaf pictured here is made with unbleached whole-wheat flour.

IMG_0485They both taste the same.  The loaf made with all-purpose flour is, however, lighter and closer in texture to white sandwich bread, while this one, made with white whole-wheat flour is denser and closer in texture to whole-grain bread.  Your choice!

IMG_7899 6a0120a8551282970b0133f466ce08970b~ Step 1. This is the rectangular-shaped bread pan that came with my machine.  The paddle (which will do the kneading) has been inserted. The instruction manual said to always start with the paddle in this position before adding any ingredients, so I do.

6a0120a8551282970b01348786d7d0970c 6a0120a8551282970b01348786d3e8970c~ Step 2. Cube the butter as directed.  In a 1-cup measuring container, heat the milk until it is steaming.  This is quickly done in the microwave.  Add the butter cubes, sugar and salt to the hot milk.  Using a fork, stir until butter is melted.  

Note:  If milk is steaming and butter is soft, this will only take a minute.  

Pour the mixture into the bread pan.

IMG_7948~ Step 3.  In the same measuring container, using the fork, whisk the eggs and add them to the milk mixture in the bread pan.

When making bread in a bread machine, always add the wet ingredients first!

IMG_7952~ Step 4. Add the wheat flour (or AP flour), the rye flour and the vital wheat gluten.

IMG_7964Spoon the flours right on top of the wet ingredients.  Do not mix or stir!

IMG_7958~ Step 5. Using your finger, make a well in the flour (but not so deep that it reaches the wet layer).  Add yeast to well. Note:  It's important to keep yeast away from wet layer until machine kneads them together because the warm liquid will activate the yeast.

Follow your instructions to operate your machine, these are mine:

IMG_8027~ Step 6.  Insert bread pan into the machine and press down until "clicked" into place.  Close lid and plug machine in.  Press "select" and choose "white bread".  Press the "loaf size" button to select "2-pound loaf".  Press the "crust control" button and select "light crust".  

IMG_0298Press the "extras" button and add caraway seeds to the IMG_0322basket on the top of the machine. Press "start".

Note:  Depending upon  your bread machine, a 2-pound loaf will take 3 hours to knead, rise and bake.

Walk away.  Do not lift the lid to check in on the process.  The moment the timer signals, the bread is done.  I broke this rule for this photo because you needed to see the lovely rise.

IMG_0367~ Step 7.  Open the lid.  Using a pair of pot holders, remove the bread pan from the machine, using the handle to lift it out.

Turn the bread pan to a 30-45 degree angle and gently slide the loaf out onto its side.  Turn the loaf upright and place it on a rack to cool completely.  If the paddle remains (stuck) in the loaf, which does happen occasionally, I find it best to cool the loaf before removing the paddle (when the loaf is hot, this damages the bread).

No matter how you slice it (I like mine sliced thinner rather than thicker):

IMG_0412My effortless-to-make caraway light-rye toast tastes "oh so good"!

IMG_0407Same goes for my caraway-rye grilled ham & Swiss cheese sandwich!

IMG_0213Try My Rye:  It's Homemade in the Bread Machine:  Recipe yields 1, 2-pound loaf caraway rye bread.

Special Equipment List:  bread machine; paring knife; 1-cup measuring container; fork; pot holders or oven mitts; cooling rack

6a0120a8551282970b01a511912fff970cCook's Note:  My recipe for ~ Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe ~, a sweetened yeast bread with milk, butter and eggs, can be found in Categories 2, 15, 18 & 20. It makes great grilled cheese sandwiches too -- and "to die for' French toast!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


Re: caraway seeds. A complaint I hear often is people with dentures, partials etc don't want caraway because the seeds will get underneath their dental stuff. While that may be true of commercial rye breads that always seem to be littered with seeds on top, I find in a bread machine the seeds are beat on so much when kneading that they end up much softened although mostly still intact.

Try it. Caraway seeds in a bread machine aren't a "dental problem." But the truly paranoid could always put the seeds in a pestle or spice grinder and have at it.

So no excuses. If it doesn't have caraway it isn't rye bread.

I made this rye bread today. I was determined to make a nice loaf of rye bread. I've tried 3 other recipes and the taste was OK, but they all had the caved in middle. This recipe resulted in the perfect loaf. No cave in. And the taste was sooo good. Definitely a keeper. I used the recipe with no changes. Definitely a winner.

My only problem was not with the bread, but trying to find a way to print out the directions. I finally did a cut and paste into at MS Word document. Reduced the size of the pictures. So was finally able to put printed recipe in the kitchen.

Txsassenach -- Thanks for the feedback (and the nice comment in general). I will try it as you suggest the next time I make it for myself! ~ Melanie

While I have made this bread several times, it has been a long time since my last effort. Today, I used 2 cups of rye flour and 2 cups of bread flour. (Everything else was the same as your recipe.) This change resulted in my best effort ever. Tastes very much like Jewish rye straight from the deli. Tonight, it gets served with our prime rib. Tomorrow, eith French toast or with leftovers for sandwiches. Thanks so much for sharing.

Karen -- Thank you for the five-star review, and, for all the additional information you provided. I am sure it will be helpful to other KE readers! ~ Mel.

Making my second loaf of this bread today. It's the best wheat/rye I've made yet. I used White Whole Wheat from King Arthur and Hodgson's Mill Stone ground rye flours. Perfect bread for sandwiches. I had tried one recipe that started with a sponge and used no wheat gluten and it was like a huge dense hockey puck. Also your recipe slices nicely. We're able to get nice thin slices. Three Diabetics in this house so we count our carbs and fiber content. With plugging in all ingredients on Sparks recipe calculator I got the total carb and fiber count for one loaf of bread. My finished loaf weighed about 35 ounces. I divided the total carbs and fiber by 35oz which gave me about 10.5 carbs and 1.6 fiber per ounce. Then we just weigh our bread slices to find the carb and fiber count per sandwich. I did use the dough cycle on my machine though and then let it rise again and baked it in the oven in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, just to get more regular sandwich size slices. Excellent recipe!

Susan -- Thank-you for the feedback, AND, thank-you for not tinkering before you tried the recipe as written. Millions of food bloggers all over the world appreciate cooks like yourself. ~ Melanie

I made this bread several times. It is excellent! I am not a fan of caraway seeds but I like to make the recipes as written before tinkering. I am glad that I did. The caraway seeds are perfect in this bread. Thanks for an awesome recipe.

Sharon -- If you do not have the instruction manual for your machine, I suggest you go on-line (to the site that sells your machine). Most companies have the instruction manuals in a form that can be read on-line and printed out (I recently did this with an older camera). The instructions will tell you how large your bread pan is. That said, if you are in doubt, do the math, cut my recipe in half, and make a 1-pound loaf (all machines have at least that capacity). If your machine does not have a trough for "add-ins", sprinkle the seeds in atop the flour before starting the machine. I hope this helps. ~ Melanie

How do I know the size of my bucket? What if I don't have an extra button? When do I add the seeds? Thanks

Tara -- Put the vital wheat gluten in. It's in there for a BIG reason -- to keep the loaf from turning into a brick.

I so wanted this to work. I have a bread machine and I've never gotten a bread I like from it and have considered just getting rid of it. They always come out pretty hard even when I select light crust. It seems the right size like it rose right and all but always so thick and crispy crust :( I did a cup of rye, two cups of whole wheat and one of white. Any suggestions???

Dave -- It never occurred to me to make French toast with rye bread, but, the more I think about it, the more I want to try it. It would pair well with a few strips of crisp bacon or a sausage link or two. ~ Mel.

Just made French toast with this recipe, A very delicious twist with the rye flavor,
Cut it Texas toast width, let it really soak up.
I will definitely make it again.

Thank you,

Dave -- thanks for the feedback. You made my day! PS: A lot of people don't like caraway seeds.

Great recipe! Just made it this morning for the first time , no problem with the the rise, this is fool proof, thank you, this is a keeper...........Note: I did not put in the caraway seeds, never liked them :)

David -- While I can't guarantee the results, I would try the obvious. Substitute almond, coconut or soy milk for cows milk, margarine for butter, and, egg substitute for eggs (if eggs apply to your diet too). If you try it, let me know how it turns out and tastes.

This looks like a great rye recipe! Could you please show how you'd modify it to be dairy-free?


Jill -- I would simply substitute some juice for a portion of the milk, making sure you keep the total amount of liquid limited to 1 cup. Example: 3/4 cup of milk + 1/4 cup pickle juice = 1 total cup liquid. Hope this helps.

Love this bread recipe but would like to incorporate some dill pickle juice into it. Any sugesstions?

Betsy -- Believe it or not, I have a loaf in my bread machine as I type this. To answer your question, you can use whole wheat flour, but, you MIGHT need to adjust the liquid a bit, meaning, you might need an extra tablespoon or two, as, whole wheat flour is coarser and dryer. Also, you are correct: add the vital wheat gluten with the flours (I amended Step 4). Thanks for catching that!

Mel, the rye bread came out delicious!! I bought white whole wheat to try in it next time. Can you use regular whole wheat flour, as well? P.S. I think you forgot when to add the gluten in your recipe -- I assume it is added in with the flour. Brioche is next!

Betsy -- great to hear from you again! You are correct, if you have a "beep" for extras, add the caraway seeds then, not, with the ingredients in the beginning. I experimented with doing that once (adding them in the beginning) and the seeds ended up all over the exterior of the bread instead of being mixed through it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving -- gobble, gobble!!!

I am going to make your rye bread today! My bread machine (Breadman) does not have am "extras dispenser", so I assume I add the caraway seeds at the "beep" for extras, not at the beginning with the other dry ingredients??

I wrote you recently about your brioche recipe -- can't wait to try that one, too! What a lovely website you have! Happy Thanksgiving!

Great to know Teresa! I might give it a whirl in the food processor too!

It turned out AWESOME! I made it in the food processor too. Woot woot! Thanks, Mel! :)

You KNOW I wish you luck. Heck, I rely upon you for your professional skills. Keep me posted.

~ May the force be with you!!!

Thanks, Mel! I haven't worked with rye flour since my professional baking days, but as I remember the food science, it was those darn rye pentosan fibers that inhibited the glutenin and gliadin and made rye tricky to work with. I can't find the recipes I developed in my restaurant work, but I remember adding bread flour to provide the gluten, so I'm gonna give it a shot by tweaking your recipe. Wish me luck!

Good Morning Teresa! This is a great question. My brioche recipe works made manually, so, I have no reason to believe the rye wouldn't too. That said, it wasn't until I started adding the vital wheat gluten to it that I got the rise and the texture I was looking for. Bread flour would/should help the rye flour (which has no gluten) achieve a better rise. I'm sorry I don't have a more definitive answer. If you try it, and it works (or doesn't), I'd sure appreciate it if you posted your results here!

Mel, I want to try your rye bread recipe, but I don't have a bread machine. Do you think I would need to adjust anything to make it manually? Also, I don't have gluten so I'm thinking I could substitute bread flour for all-purpose?

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