Serious Eats: Recipes

Bread Baking: Rye Chop Bread

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

It's embarrassing how many types of rye flour I usually have on hand. I love rye.

Rye chops aren't a type of flour, though. Essentially they're roughly cut rye berries. They're chunky bits, sort of like the steel cut oats of the rye world.

I love rye breads but rye doughs aren't as easy to work with as all-white doughs. They tend to be sticky, which invites adding more flour. Then they become dense. They don't have as much gluten so even when there's just a portion of rye in a dough you need to knead a lot longer to get decently stretchy dough.

But in the end, it's worth it. And did I mention that rye is a whole-grain product? (At least it is most of the time.) So if you want more whole grains in your diet, you can turn to rye instead of always going straight to whole wheat.

As far as all-rye breads, nah, I don't do that very often. I like the structure that bread flour provides in a mixed dough. So that's what you're getting here. And it's pretty darned good.

Whenever I'm working with a whole-grain or chunky grain product, I like to let that soak just a little bit, either just with water or along with the yeast. I think it helps soften the grain a bit. If you can't find rye chops you can use a coarse-grained rye flour instead.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.

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