As I write this post, the fragrance of freshly baking rye bread is wafting in from the kitchen. Any freshly baked bread has an amazing fragrance, but with the rye there is a bit more complexity. You can detect the caraway seeds and something else kind of familiar and comforting. Rye bread always conjures up a cozy village somewhere in Bavaria. I can imagine snow falling in blankets outside while horse drawn carriages with bells travel swiftly through the streets.
A few weeks ago while shopping in Whole Foods, I saw a recipe for vegan gingerbread cookies made from rye flour on the back of a bag of sugar. I thought this would be great for my upcoming annual neighborhood cookie exchange. It was intriguing so I bought the rye flour on a whim. The day of the cookie exchange was the usual crazy day of chauffeuring my son to activities and catching up on all the things I don’t have time to do during the week. When I finally got home I realized that I had about two hours to bake six dozen cookies. Cut, bake, and decorate six dozen gingerbread people in two hours? Definitely not possible so I actually ended up making Smitten Kitchen’s gingerbread biscotti for the party.
I did not buy the rye in vain however- this amazing rye loaf resulted.
I bought a Le Creuset dutch oven many years ago just to make Jim Lahey’s famous no knead bread. Since then the Le Creuset has moved to the top spot in my kitchen hierarchy for making everything from bread to soups and stews. I have also branched out and made many variations of the original bread recipe, including this recipe for no knead rye bread. Just to clarify, the main reason to make this no knead version is not just because it is easier. This method produces a very light, professional loaf of bread without a professional oven. You just need a heavy, covered, oven friendly pot. Just make sure that you replace with stainless steel or remove any plastic knobs on the pot.
A couple of health notes on rye. Rye is a high fiber whole grain. It’s high proportion of magnesium helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Rye fights cardiovascular disease and has anti-cancer properties. It’s a great grain that makes a wonderful loaf of bread.