Rye bread still tastes a bit exotic to me, like the first time I had a bite, many years ago, during my first visit to Germany. The crumb was dense and the palate detected a slight smoky tone. I can't say I fell in love with it, but I was intrigued. Years later, once my bread-baking skills had developed enough, I went back to that memory and decided to renew the experience, this time with a product from my own oven.
After I baked my first rye bread, emboldened by my success, I tried making sourdough rye and was humbled by the result — twice. When I recovered from the disappointment, I went back to a recipe that uses a mix of rye and wheat flour, which seems to work much better for me.
Then, in the post where I revealed the details of the traditional Romanian ingredient, I shared some additional details. It's time to tell the full story from the bread's perspective.
The original recipe suggests to use dill or sour pickle juice as a substitute for the water. I used diluted borș. And instead of sour cream, I used some of my homemade kefir drained to a creamy consistency. I have a couple of borage plants (borragine) in my garden that are blooming, so I harvested some of the flowers and added them to the bread dough, not so much for flavor, but for an elegant look.
I halved the quantities given in the original recipe and made one round loaf.
Ingredients I used:
- 57 g borș
- 57 g lukewarm water [original recipe: 114 g lukewarm water, dill or sour pickle juice]
- 53 pumpernickel flour [original recipe: white rye, medium rye, or pumpernickel flour]
- 5 g sugar [original recipe: 7 g]
- 1 1/8 teaspoons instant yeast
- 56 g drained kefir [original recipe: sour cream (low-fat is fine; please don't use nonfat)]
- 1/2 tablespoon / 4 g caraway seeds [original recipe: 1/2 to 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, to taste] (semi di cumino dei prati)
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 140 g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (this is the flour I always use to make bread)
- 8 g gluten flour [original recipe: 12 g wheat gluten, optional, for best rise]
- 14-15 freshly picked borage flowers
Notes: When I made the bread in the photo, I had run out of caraway seeds, so I used 1 teaspoon ajwain seeds. The result was interesting. However, I recommend using caraway seeds.
I followed the instructions in the original recipe, except I did not brush the warm loaf with melted butter (burro fuso).
This rye bread has a delicate rye flavor and a somewhat dense crumb (mollica). I like to toast it lightly before putting something on top, like fasole bătută or cheese. If you'd like to give rye bread a try, this and my first rye bread are good choices as the dough is quite easy to shape and the result is lovely.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the pane di segale con cumino dei prati audio file [mp3].
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