The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What do you use rye berries for?

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teenbaker's picture
teenbaker

What do you use rye berries for?

What do you use rye berries for?  I got them once randomly at the store and put them in some bread I was baking, but they were far too crunchy.  If I food processed them to make them tiny, do you think they would make a good topping on a whole wheat loaf?  What else could I use them for?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I grind them up to make whole meal rye flour. I've seen recipes that add a small quantity of soaked rye berries to the final dough. You soak them overnight in water to soften them and so that they don't break your teeth.


--Pamela

mhjoseph's picture
mhjoseph

They are used after a long hot soak in pumpernickle and volkornbrot.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 Two "L's"  :)

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

And I won't mention Volkenbrot again, I promise.

teenbaker's picture
teenbaker

thanks

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

If you're making a sourdough starter from scratch (flour & water - lots of posts on TFL on how to do this), it helps to use rye flour (especially organic rye flour) in the very beginning.


If you don't own a grain mill, you could probably make a rye meal (or at least rye grits) using a blender with a strong motor and doing about 1/4 cup at a time. Rye is a softer grain than wheat.


Rye is not suitable as a topping for bread. Rye flour / meal / grits are better used as an ingredient in the bread dough than as a topping on the outside.


Use a small percentage of rye flour to substitute for white bread flour in any "lean" bread recipe (eg: mostly water, flour, salt and yeast). This works for bread made with commercial yeast or your own sourdough starter. It works for loaves baked in a loaf pan or baked "freeform" on a baking stone or (heavy) baking sheet.


If you are only using a relatively small amount of rye flour (as a % of your total flour) it will help your bread if you presoak your rye flour or rye grits in room temperature water for at least 4 hours. By presoaking, I mean adding some of the total water in your recipe to the rye and letting it sit out at room temperature to absorb the water.


Search TFL for additional tips on using rye flour or rye grits in your bread.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Rye is softer than wheat. I never thought about that before. Weird thing is that my Nutrimill has a hard time (takes longer) to grind rye than wheat, and yet rye is softer. Puzzling to me.


--Pamela

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

xaipete on June 30 2009 wrote:
Rye is softer than wheat. I never thought about that before. Weird thing is that my Nutrimill has a hard time (takes longer) to grind rye than wheat, and yet rye is softer. Puzzling to me.

Totally puzzling to me why it takes longer for your Nutrimll to grind rye vs. hard wheat.


I usually don't use a large amount of rye at a time, so I do not use my Nutrimill for rye flour (I use a different mill). However, if you try chewing a few grains of rye and a few grains of hard wheat, the rye is definitely softer.


Sounds like a great topic for the Grains and Milling forum. Would you want to start a thread on that forum?

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Just a wild guess here -- if any grains sit around a long time they will lose some moisture.  Maybe they get harder?   Do your rye berries sit in dry storage longer than your wheat berries before milling?


Of course we know that the protein content in wheat is what makes one variety harder than another, but wheat berries are soaked in water (tempered) to make the bran come away more easily during the milling process for white flours.  I don't know if they do the same for whole wheat flour,  or if wheat distributors who sell grain in whole berries for the retail market commonly do the same thing.  They're limited by law when soaking the berries to create a 14% moisture level in the resulting flour from milling, but, again, maybe they're allowed to soak longer and get a higher moisture level in grains that are not being used immediately to mill commercially-made flour.


When I used to mill whole wheat for Great Harvest, we did keep around a 5 or 6 week supply of berries on hand, but I never thought to do a moisture comparison between the new delivery and the last bags used.  I'll ask Thom Leonard at the Guild to answer this one.


--Dan DiMuzio

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

dghdctr on July 1, 2009 wrote:
When I used to mill whole wheat for Great Harvest, we did keep around a 5 or 6 week supply of berries on hand, but I never thought to do a moisture comparison between the new delivery and the last bags used. I'll ask Thom Leonard at the Guild to answer this one.

I am fascinated by this segue into the milling properties of rye for the home miller. I do, however, feel that this more appropriately belongs in the Grains and Milling forum.


Would someone want to take responsibility for starting a thread on the topic of home milling rye vs  wheat? xaipete? dghdctr?


===============


to dghdctr


Please do ask Thom Leonard about this. I would be very interested in the response.


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Maybe the Nutrimill has a harder time with the rye because it is softer. My grain hasn't been around for long (3 months--ordered from Bob's Red Mill).


Maybe the Nutrimill expects a harder grain. The rye grind is very fine. I usually do it (actually always) outside because of the fine powder. Our JRT is wild about the powder too--runs all over the place licking the grass.


I could start another thread. Do you think it is worth it?


--Pamela

proth5's picture
proth5

I always temper my rye when I mill it (you should not do this) and measure the moisture content.


I'm kind of interested in the topic and have both a moisture meter and a mill to do testing...

Susan's picture
Susan

And add them to your dough, or dry the sprouted berries and grind them into "sprouted rye flour."


Susan from San Diego

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I use rye berries all the time but I only grind enough to use in my sourdough starter.  Most of the time I use rye berries for sprouting.  I love the unique flavor and the crunch in my salad.  Lovely!


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

Most of my bread is 10% whole rye flour which I grind myself from rye berries.

fsu1mikeg's picture
fsu1mikeg

I grind them to make my own whole rye flour/meal/chops, etc. (ps., I know technically you can't make "chops" in a grinder.  It's just my best approximation).


I have tried to soak whole rye berries in boiling water, but they were still way too hard for my taste.  However, ground into pieces they soften in even cold water very nicely.