The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My "dream book" on rye bread

bshuval's picture

My "dream book" on rye bread

I love making bread. I also love learning about breads. There are many books on French-style, Italian-style, and American-style breads. In fact, the theory of making wheat-based breads can be found in many baking books. I have yet to see, though, a book dedicated to making rye breads. Most of my books (and I have many) have a couple of recipes, sometimes even a chapter, on rye breads. But that is it. The advice in the various recipes varies wildly: Glezer instructs that a very long knead is required, whereas Whitley claims that kneading rye breads is futile. 

I don't think that any one author is "wrong"; I believe that there are many styles of rye bread making (Russian-style, German-style, Scandinavian-style, American-style, French-style, and in each family there are many different breads). What I would like to see is a book dedicated to rye breads. This book will contain various recipes from the different families of rye breads. It should also go into the special techniques required for rye bread making. 

What had prompted this for me was a recent trip down the bread aisle of the supermarket. I don't usually visit the bread aisle -- after all, I don't buy bread -- but I was curious to see what they had. Usually, when I see the endless lists of ingredients in commercial breads ("pillows" is a more fitting term for these breads), I am all the more glad that I bake my own bread (although the main reason I bake my own bread is because it is fun). Anyhow, I visited the bread aisle. I notice a huge array of Russian ryes. There were maybe 15 different breads, from 2 different bakeries. The lists of ingredients were surprisingly short; save for malt, I had all the other ingredients on hand. I was almost tempted to buy a loaf! These breads looked divine. 

This got me thinking that I would like recipes for these. The only places I found Russian ryes was Whitley's book and Linda Collister's "Country Bread" (where Whitley's recipe appears as well). But there are so many more. I am sure there are other styles of Russian ryes. I opened some other books. Jan Hedh, for instance, advocates adding some gelatinized rye. I haven't tried that yet. Other books bring further methods.

The bottom line is that I am fascinated with rye bread, but I am missing a book that is all about rye breads. Perhaps someone can make it happen! 

FoodFascist's picture

Sorry can't help you with a book, but Andy has a few rye recipes here. I make Borodinsky to his formula, it's one of the best Russian ryes and it's divine! The lengthy 3-stage process may put you off a bit, but honestly, it's not complicated at all. In fact, there's very little effort required on your part, no kneading or even developing, most of the time you just let it sit there and do its job.

Hope this helps!

Noor13's picture

I am not sure if I can really help you out

I do know a book which is just about Rye breads, but there is a catch to it- it is in German. It is a very good book for professionals as well as amateur bakers. And it is not really cheap either. It's out there for 80 Euros.

Here is a link for the other German speakers beside me, if anyone is interested

bshuval's picture

Thanks! I do have a few bread books in German, but I haven't seen that one yet.

It is indeed quite expensive. I now have some food for thought...


copyu's picture

You could have MORE than a book if you searched 'dmsnyder'; 'minioven'; 'ananda' and many, many others here on TFL. [Search bar is at the top left of the page...]

They post great tips and formulae for all manner of rye breads (and everything else as well!) and they are also familiar with whatever the great 'experts' say, or have said in the past about rye baking. Three great starting points from people who REALLY CARE about your issue (and mine!)

These are just some very helpful, prolific and friendly (sometimes, even very witty!) TFLers, who will go the extra 100 metres to help you achieve your rye-baking goals...with Science, experimentation and sincerity. Once you find their 'rye posts', you'll discover a mass of other folks with good ideas here on TFL. I'd bet London to a brick that they are all familiar with Hamelman's book, "Bread" and have tweaked their own methods to improve J-H's excellent formulae, as well as done a lot of the 'extensive research' for you. Save your money, for now and invest a little time searching here and collect the common wisdom of this great forum. If you don't find what you want, I'd be amazed, but would recommend saving up for the book to buy for a Xmas present for yourself.

I'd like to buy that book, as well; it might be economical for me to do so, with the strong Yen, as I'm in Japan...however, the posts here have been more than helpful! The only reason I mess around with sourdough starters is because I want to bake good rye breads periodically...but consistently! I've learned more on this forum than from any book(s)!

Fond regards to you and all rye-bread bakers!