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Polish Rye Bread

Rye provides great health benefits and is an important source of dietary fiber, magnesium and vitamin B1, among other things.  I do like to keep rye flour in my cupboard, reminding me that I should add a dash of this goodness to whatever I decide to make. I use it regularly as the binding ingredient in flatbread (unless I make gluten free flatbread).

A fairly thin but very informative book I picked up at Barnes & Nobles a few years ago

Step-by-step baking guide 

The gluten in rye is less elastic than the wheat gluten, so many rye bread recipes add wheat to make the bread less dense. I found this recipe in a bread baking book that I have neglected for some time. It is a fairly straight forward baking process – and the result reminds me of bread I’ve had when visiting countries like Germany, Denmark, Austria and, presumably – Poland.


Polish Rye Bread

2 cups rye flour (225 g)
2 cups unbleached white bread flour
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry yeast/active dry yeast (20 g fresh yeast)
2/3 cups lukewarm water (140 ml)
2/3 cups lukewarm milk
1 tsp honey
whole wheat flour for dusting

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients (hold back on white bread flour) in a bowl, including the yeast if you’re using dry yeast, and make a well in the the middle.
  2. Heat the liquid to approximately 104 F/ 37 C and stir in the honey (dissolve the yeast in the milk and honey if you’re using fresh yeast, then add the water)
  3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well, then knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic and firm.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic* and leave to rise for (at least) 3 hours, expect longer time if you’re using active dry yeast like I did. (I left the dough to rise for 5 1/2 hours) It should be double size when ready.
  5. Bring the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knock back, knead carefully and shape an oval loaf.
  6. Place on a greased baking tray and dust with whole wheat flour. Leave to after rise for about 1 hour (Recipe says 1 – 1 1/2 hours, but my bread was definitely done after rising after 1 hour.

    Rye bread before rising one last time

    Rye bread before rising one last time

  7. Slice carefully two cuts along the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor blade before baking at 425 F (220 C) for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Cool on a rack.
Polish rye bread cooling down

Polish rye bread cooling down

This bread should be cut in fairly thin slices and tastes great with a good chunk of cheese or cold cuts. It is fairly solid, but a very tasty bread, the long rising time and the caraway seeds enhance the distinct sweet flavor of the rye.

* The recipe says to cover the dough with lightly oiled cling film when rising – which is a common way of covering a bread dough. Personally I find that a bit messy, so I prefer to cover the bowl with a plastic shopping bag which will leave enough room for the dough to grow without clinging to the plastic. Often I sprinkle a little white flour on top of the dough before covering the bowl. The flour serves the same purpose as the oil – it prevents the dough from sticking to the plastic. 



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I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.

3 replies

  1. I’m from Poland and I have to say after all those years of living abroad I know for sure that the best bread you can get is in my country 🙂 still made in a very traditional way and treated with respect. I make soda bread- the recipe is like 100 years old and I’m trying some new recipes now. I like your blog 🙂

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