A Loaf, Some Rolls… and Many Flavours – Ready for Parties

Rye is more than a flavorful ingredient in baking: it is the chameleon of the grain world.  The humble grain, apart from packing a serious nutritional punch, contributing to cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and management of diabetes, rye is an important addition to the diet. Not only is this grain healthy, but it also has been found to promote weight control and digestive health. Rye is a grass that is a close relative to wheat and barley. It grows in poor soils and cold conditions which makes it an important staple food for Europeans. Rye flour has a far lower gluten content than wheat and is excellent for use with a sourdough starter.

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In this study conducted at Lund University in Sweden, mice were fed whole grain diets based on either wheat or rye, for 22 weeks. Body weight, glucose tolerance, and several other parameters were measured during the study. The researchers concluded that whole grain rye “evokes a different metabolic profile compared with whole grain wheat.” Specifically, mice consuming the whole grain rye had reduced body weight, slightly improved insulin sensitivity, and lower total cholesterol.

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Rye is a chameleon grain: a skilled and creative baker can find many uses for rye flour, although it can be tricky to work with because its carbohydrates reduce the ability of the gluten proteins to form stretchy, hollow areas which help trap the gas in bread, but are themselves responsible for trapping water and building the crumb “scaffold”. Starches in the flour help this scaffolding hold together and create a bread that does not crumble. Rye breads can provide a very distinctive range of flavours, colours and textures, especially when made using a sourdough and allowing the longer fermentation process to enhance the unique characteristics of these breads. Typically heavier than wheat breads, rye bread is as rich in fibre. Rye is used to produce a wide variety of breads.  Recipes often include ground spices such as fennel, coriander, aniseed, cardamom, or citrus peel as well as ingredients such as caramel, molasses, coffee and cocoa.

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A Basic Rye Bread recipe

Ingredients
30 g fresh yeast
100 ml warm water
350 ml yoghurt
1 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
100 g treacle
30 g oil
350 g rye flour
350 g flour

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Method
Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl combine milk, honey and salt. Beat in treacle, oil, yeast mixture and the rye flour and spices (if chosen). Add bread flour by stirring until the dough is stiff enough to knead. Knead 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. Cover dough and let rise 2 hours or until double. Punch down dough and form round loaves or small rolls. Let loaves/rolls rise on a greased baking tray until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

11 thoughts on “A Loaf, Some Rolls… and Many Flavours – Ready for Parties

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