Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aunt Eva's Rye Bread

When I was a little girl, the only time I ever had fresh bread was when my Aunt Eva made rye bread during Christmas. She would make it on cookie sheets, and it turned out about 4" high. So we would get these short, thin slices of wonderful tasting bread.

While I didn't have a lot of experience with different grains and the like, I knew I loved rye bread. Who know that when I was in college, I would get dark rye with caraway seeds. What a shock to my system.

This rye bread is really simple. It substitutes rye flour for some of the white flour in a basic bread recipe. No additions, very basic. And that's why it's so lovely. It's rye at its most simple and basic. I have changed the recipe a little bit, and, of course, increased the directions from Mix everything together and bake.

I chose to bake these into large hamburger buns, thinking they would make great buns. Well, they didn't last that long, but they do make great turkey sandwiches :). I've never made this into loafs, always preferring to shape it into rolls or the baking sheet loaves I remember from my childhood.

Sometimes I add up to 1 t. cardamom to this bread, when I want a change of pace. This stuff is great on its own, or to make little cream cheese based tea sandwiches for the holidays.

Aunt Eva's Rye Bread

1 T. yeast (1 package)
3 1/2 to 5 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. salt
2 c. rye flour
1 c. warm water (body temperature)
1/4 c. shortening or butter
1 t. ground cardamom, optional

In a mixing bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 t. brown sugar, and let rest until yeast starts to bubble. If yeast doesn't become frothy after 10 minutes, discard and start again.

Once yeast has bubbled, add 1 c flour, rye flour, salt, brown sugar, and shortening to your yeast mixture, and mix until well combined in your mixer. Let rest 20 minutes to allow rye to hydrate a little bit.

Change to a dough hook, and add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add flour until dough forms a sticky ball, then let process with a dough hook 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Take dough out, and roll on counter a bit, making sure dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball. Place in a large oiled bowl, turning to make sure dough is well oiled on all sides. Cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

After dough has risen, gently remove from bowl, and roll dough a bit with the heels of your hand. Cut into 2 equal pieces, and place each piece on an oiled cookie sheet, shaping to the desired shape. If you want hamburger shaped buns, divide one half of the dough into 10 equal pieces, and roll into soft rounds and place on cookie sheet.

Gently brush tops with a light coating of oil, and let rise in a warm place until double. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, and bake rolls for 30 minutes, and sheet loaves for 40-50 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.


  1. Wow, this bread sounds really good. We love rye or as we call it 'carawaya'-there is something really wonderful about it in both bread and even stews sometimes;-) I've been trying to make more bread lately, so I might try this. I have rye seeds and I might even have the flour...?
    Hey, but do you think I could use a bit of oil instead of shortening? Maybe?

  2. Stella,

    I sent you a private email just in case you don't come back here, but for any other readers - it's perfectly acceptable to sub oil for the shortening. The original recipe was very old, so it originally called for shortening or lard. I've used shortening, butter, and oil, and it's been great either way.

  3. Thanks! I saw your e-mail and I came back (smile)!