German Rye Bread (Graubrot, Mischbrot) Recipe

German Rye Bread (Graubrot, Mischbrot) Recipe

Living in Germany for a couple of years, we purchased German rye bread hot from the bakery nearly every day. However, the bakers always warned us to let it cool before eating it—it was some superstitious thing about stomach worms or such. My German was never good enough to really understand exactly, but it really didn’t matter, we were two American’s who loved our bread straight from the oven.

We’d hurry home, slather thick slices with unsalted butter from the outdoor market, and call it our Frühstück (first breakfast). Then we would head out for the day. For Abendbrot we would finish the loaf off and start all over again the next day.

Little did I realize that the flavor of this bread is developed the day after baking, we never had any left to find that out. That by the way, is key to flavor success with this bread: let it cool overnight before slicing it.

For St. Patrick’s Day, earlier this year, I used my rye starter to make a Marbled Rye Loaf for sandwiches. This recipe is nothing so fancy, but it is my kind of rye with deep flavor and no caraway seeds.

Graubrot (German Rye Bread) 

It is quite common these days to make a German rye bread, known there as grey bread, or Mischbrot, with both wheat and rye. Mischbrot literally means mixed bread or bread that has been made with a mix of rye and white bread flour.

For this recipe I will be mixing freshly ground rye and white-wheat flour.

Ingredients

 Instructions

Sponge

  • 1 cup (120 g) rye flour
  • ½ cup (120 g) lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp (10 g) sourdough starter (remember to replenish the start*)

German Rye Bread Sponge

  • In a bowl mix water and the sourdough start
  • Stir in rye flour until all ingredients are moist
  • Cover with cling wrap and set at a warm place for 24 hours.

Bread dough

  • 1 cup (120 g) rye flour
  • 2½ cups (300 g) whole wheat white flour (or bread flour)
  • 1½cups (360 g) lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses (for optional darker bread)

German Rye Bread

  • After the 24 hour rise, mix in the additional flours, salt, (molasses for dark bread), and water. Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or two. It will soft but should not be sticky, (add more flour to make it more manageable if needed).
  • Dust a brotform with flour (or line a bowl with a dusted towel). Form the dough into a ball and place it in the basket/lined bowl. Cover and let rise another 2 hours.
  • When it’s ready to bake, dust an oven stone with cornmeal or place bread on oiled parchment and set the loaf on top.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F/230°C while letting the dough sit and rest. Put a baking dish on a lower shelf filled with hot water. While the dough is resting score it with a lame or sharp knife.
  • When the oven is heated, put the stone and loaf on the middle rack, but watch for steam as you open the door.
  • Bake for 30 minutes then turn off heat allowing the loaf to cool in the hot oven.
  • After an hour transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for the final cool before slicing.
    Remember this bread develops its full flavor the second day and it freezes well.

*Replenish Starter

After using a portion of the starter, replenish it with equal weights of flour and warm water. For example, if you used a quarter cup of starter, add 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 water cup warm water to the starter. Stir with a wooden spoon, cover, and let stand in one place until bubbly 3 to 5 hours. Refrigerate after 3 to 5 hours until needed next.

The bread turned out great as you can see from the feature image at the beginning of this post. For cold-cuts, deli meats, and cheeses, this bread is an unbeatable companion. Tell us about your experiences using rye in the comment section below.


Author: Darryl Alder lives with his wife in Riverside Lodge, which is their home along the Provo River in Utah. He is a retired career Scouter and outdoorsman who spent many hours over a campfire using a Dutch oven and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire alike. You can read many of his recipes on this site by searching for Sourdough Saturday or Recipes on the top right-hand side of the blog

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