This month, at Abigail’s Oven our specialty bread is Light Rye, but you will have to pick it up, first-come-first-serve at the SLC Winter Market or at our store in Spanish Fork. And as we celebrate #NationalFlourMonth flour, rye flour joins with Abigail’s Oven Premium White-whole Wheat Flour and freshly ground hard red winter wheat, as one of the 3 perfect ingredients we use.
3 Perfect Ingredients: Flour, Water, Salt
Last month, for Valentine’s Day, we baked Chocolate Sourdough Bread Cakes for hundreds of our customers. But this month, as part of National Flour Month and for St. Patrick’s Day, we are baking this Sourdough Bread, Light Rye.
Rye flour doesn’t contain as many gluten-forming proteins as wheat flour does so we mix with our white or whole-wheat flour, like most other bakeries in the USA do. We do all this because rye flour makes for a very sticky dough that bakes up denser; 100% rye can be very heavy bread.
However, adding it to other flour in dough helps the bread develop a deeper flavor. And when baking my own bread, I add about 10% to every loaf.
And using it to growing a starter, this grain is unsurpassed. It has more natural bacteria and wild yeast associated with its bran covering, making it a great start-up fuel for any sourdough starter you are growing yourself.
Centuries ago, before modern production techniques, rye got a bad name due to a fungus that grew in the grain. Known as ergot some people got intense dermatitis known as St. Anthony’s Fire. In bad cases, victims suffered muscle spasms, fevers, and hallucinations. Rye itself was, entirely innocent since the source was a parasitic infestation in the fields of ryegrass. Today’s rye, however, is treated and safe.
More on Light Rye Bread
Rye, the most common among the ancient grains that are still in daily use. In Germany, it is a daily staple, known as Graubrot (gray bread) or Mischbrot (mixed bread).
Both names work, as the flour imparts a slightly gray hue and most bakers combine whole wheat with it for a better dough gluten content, thus mischbrot.
Years ago, I lived in Berlin and Hamburg Germany. It was a real treat to drop by a bakery for a loaf of this bread fresh from the oven… and we did it nearly every day. However, unbeknownst to me at the time, this bread develops its flavor the second day.
Our bread is not made with the darker pumpernickel flour that many folks think of as rye flour. But our freshly ground whole rye does contain the outer seed coat, the bran, and the germ, so that you still get all the nutrition possible from a whole grain flour. (Most commercial Light Rye Flour is milled from white rye flour ground from the center endosperm of the rye berry, striping many of the nutrients.)
Our Light Rye Bread is also milder in taste than our dark Jewish Rye Bread, which gets its earthy flavor from the molasses, cocoa, and caraway seeds. In fact, our ingredients are quite simple: just 67% freshly ground light rye flour, 33% Abigail’s Flour™ (finely milled whole grain, unheated, unbromated & unfortified), water, and salt. And the mild nutty taste calls for a deli sandwich any day of the week.
Compared with other white and whole wheat breads, rye breads tend to be more dense and dark, with a strong earthy, sometimes slightly sour flavors. But the nutritional value of rye is unequaled.
Healthline states, this kind of “bread is high in many nutrients, especially fiber and B vitamins” (see chart to the right). They go on to explain that it “also contains small amounts of zinc, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and other micronutrients.”
Compared with other breads, like white and even whole wheat, “rye bread is typically higher in fiber and provides more micronutrients, especially B vitamins.” It has also been “shown that pure rye bread tends to be more filling and affects blood sugar levels to a lesser extent than white and wheat breads.”
Part of the reason for greater satiety when eating rye is that this bread is denser, due to lower gluten content than wheat flour, and doesn’t rise as high as regular wheat-based breads. Also eating this kind of whole grain bread pushes it lower on the glycemic index because it increases blood sugar more slowly than white bread does.
“However, given that it still contains gluten, it’s unsuitable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity,” writes Healthline.
As far as breads go, rye bread is a great choice over regular white and whole-wheat breads. Especially because “it contains more fiber and nutrients — especially B vitamins — and has been linked to health benefits, such as weight loss, better blood sugar control, and improved heart and digestive health.
“What’s more, it’s easy to incorporate into your diet in place of regular white or wheat breads and can easily be made at home,” the Healthline article concludes.