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Old World Rye Bread

Updated on August 21, 2017
Carb Diva profile image

Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

Rye bread and split pea soup. Peasant food at its finest.

Recently I posted a recipe for my mom's split pea soup (Mama's Split Pea Soup Recipe). If you were a member of my family you would vow that you can't eat Mom's split pea soup without a slice (or two or three) of her rye bread.

Mom didn't bake rye bread very often because rye flour is more expensive than wheat. But in our family we always knew that if split pea soup was simmering on the stove there would be a loaf of rye bread in the oven as well.

Mom's rye bread wasn't the traditional dark loaf studded with caraway seed. (I don't think we even had caraway seeds in our house). Her bread was dense and earthy, and I'm sure it's exactly the way her mom made rye bread in their village near the Caspian Sea, and her mother before her, and so on, and so on.

Cast your vote for Old World Rye Bread

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour 20 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: 2 loaves

Equipment You Will Need

  • Microwave-safe measuring cup
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Stand mixer with dough hook OR sturdy spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Large baking sheet
  • Silicone mat or parchment paper


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk, whole or 2%
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast, (not quick rise)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose white flour


  1. Place water and milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave at full-power for 45-60 seconds or until warm (NOT hot) to the touch. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over liquid in bowl, stir to moisten, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt, sugar, shortening and flours. Knead on well-floured surface for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl with shortening or cooking oil. Place dough in bowl, turn to coat on all sides. Cover with waxed paper and set in a warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 1 hour. (Here's a hint--the dough is doubled and ready to shape if, when you gently press two fingertips quickly into the dough 1/2 inch, the indentation remains).
  3. Gently punch dough down. Divide in half and form each half into a round ball. Place on a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan that has been lined with parchment paper or a silocone mat; let rise till doubled in size again (about 1 hour).
  4. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

How to Knead Dough

Fold the dough over and push down with the heels of your hands. Give the dough a quarter turn, then fold and push again. Repeat until the dough is smooth and elastic.


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      HI thefedorows - I have been able to find rye flour at Fred Meyer in the nutrition section. Any store that sells products by Bob's Red Mill should also have it. However, I'm guessing that neither of those are available to you in Penn. I would give a try. They sell groceries and specialty items.

    • thefedorows profile image

      thefedorows 3 years ago from the Midwest

      My husband loves rye bread! I recently tried to buy rye flour...but I couldn't find it! I thought it would be easy enough to find at Walmart...but it wasn't there! Where do you usually buy your rye bread?

    • Sugahware profile image

      Robyn D Bera 4 years ago from California

      This sounds amazing. I love rye bread. I don't eat shortening but maybe I'll try a version with coconut oil. Thanks for sharing!