The Fresh Loaf

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Another use for rye bread...

audra36274's picture

Another use for rye bread...

   I was looking over old issues of cooking magazines yesterday and a recipe in Cook's Country ( a Cook's Illustrated sister mag. ) for Swedish Meatballs caught my eye. They listed the secret ingredient as 4 slices of rye bread. Noting that the caraway seed gave the meatballs a definite Swedish inspired flavor. Well I don't know about all that, but I do often have a few slices of rye left over, and what a nice usage. It's not like I was going to make french toast out of it, and I hate to waste it or just feed it to the chickens.  For anyone who has finished the corned beef and has a few slices left, here's the recipe.

   Swedish Meatballs

6 T. butter (unsalted)                                                2 onions, minced

4 slices rye bread, crust removed and torn into bits       3 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth

1 cup sour cream                                                       2 large egg yolks

1/2 tsp. allspice                                                         1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt                                                               1/2 tsp. pepper

1 lb. lean ground beef                                                 1 lb. ground pork

1/2 cup A P flour                                                         2 T. soy sauce

2 tsp. minced fresh dill


1. Adjust oven rack to middle and heat to 475. Melt 1 T. butter in large skillet and cook onion till soft. Transfer to a large bowl. Add bread, 1/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup sour cream, yolks, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and mix well with the onion, mashing with a fork as necessary till smooth. Add beef and pork, and mix well.

2. Form into balls ( 1 1/4" should net you about 60 balls , 2 " should make about 35) . Arrange on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned ( about 15 min, or so) Transfer to a slow cooker.

3. Melt remaining butter in large skillet ( I'd use the same one- I hate dirty dishes!). Whisk in flour and cook for about 3 minutes till just beginning to brown. Slowly whisk in broth, bring to a boil and transfer to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low till meatballs are tender, about 4-5 hours.

4. Transfer 1/2 cup sauce from slow cooker to a bowl. Whisk in soy sauce,sour cream, and dill; gently stir into the sauce in the slow cooker. Serve.

This can be held in the slow cooker up to 2 hours and used as needed just stir carefully occasionally, and add water as needed.


Now if you'll excuse me, I have some rye bread to crumble and meatball to shape!

Oldcampcook's picture

Since that makes 60 meataballas and there are only two of us in my household, I wonder how they would freeze.

The recipe sounds good.  I keep old rye bread in my freezer to add to my new rye bread, anyway.


audra36274's picture

  the recipe, also. The bread we make is so good you hate to waste it, and for the life of me I can never seem to use up the rye. It's a fav of mine and my husband, but not the kids. I was very happy to find this recipe. This was in the Dec. 08 issue. I save all those and Cook's Ill. and it's a good thing. I look them over ever once and a while and notice something new each time. When the issue came out I didn't see this. Hope you like it! Happy Baking!


pattycakes's picture

A friend of mine who makes the best meatballs-juicy and tender-adds water to the mix and beats it in the stand-up mixer for a minute or two. The mix is pretty gloppy, but the meatballs roll fine if you wet your hands. You might give it a whirl if you feel daring. I always add water to my meatballs now, and they come out great. I noticed that the famous Rao's meatballs recipe calls for water, too...


audra36274's picture

   I use water on my hands when I shape sense it helps the meat to not stick to your hands anyway. I like the mixer idea. I started using it or sometimes my food processor when I make meatloaf and the texture is better. Not the big grains. very smooth.


Julie J's picture
Julie J


My Finnish mother inlaw makes rye croutons fried in butter and makes potato soup with leftover mashed potatoes, then adds the croutons to the soup...she just adds a lot of milk to make it really thin so the soup doesn't get too thick from the rye croutons absorbing and making it a lot thicker.  My family likes this a lot too!  She also taught me how to make Finnish meatballs too, if you want to know I will do it tomorrow, since it is so late tonight!   She doesn't use rye bread in her meatballs!  The finnish meatballs are braised in water and onion after you fry them in butter, or you can make a cream gravy too...Take care! 

Julie J

audra36274's picture

   I didn't think the recipe would be very authentic, but it just sounded good. And the soup and rye croutons- yum!  We fry pumpernickle croutons and the kids love them! I make potato soup about once a month, and I'd love to add your croutons.