Quick Rye Bread

Quick rye bread

As far as I can tell, there are two types people in this world: those who like caraway seeds in their rye bread, and those who don’t. I fall into the former camp, and have been pining for the perfect caraway rye bread recipe for years.

Part of this stems from my love affair with reuben sandwiches, or should I say, sauerkraut and rye bread, because to me, those are the two ingredients that make a reuben sandwich (and which enable me to continue eating “reuben sandwiches” even though I ruled out pastrami and other meat products from my diet over 15 years ago).

Tempeh Reuben Sandwich Not really a reuben

But wasn’t I talking about rye bread? Yes, rye sandwich bread specifically (not the super dark pumpernickel variety, delicious in its own right, but which has its place in other posts).

A good rye sandwich bread is a little dense, a little sour, and definitely speckled with caraway. My longing has inspired several batches of sourdough, and several subsequent loaves of fairly average bread. Perhaps I’ll have to wait til my next trip to London or New york for a traditional “Jewish Rye”.

Or do I? A recipe for Quick Rye Bread in this week’s Guardian suggests it’s possible to create good rye sandwich bread without sourdough and without a commercial oven. This morning I put the recipe to the test.

Quick rye bread

The recipe is pretty easy – mix up some stuff, knead it, let it rise, and then – here is the quick part – flip out the dough onto a pre-heated baking sheet and bake. No second rise? Sounded dubious.

Upon flipping the dough onto the baking sheet, it deflated significantly and had, at best, moderate “oven spring” after baking for 40 minutes (10 minutes longer than the recipe called for, and it was still underdone).

So the loaf was a little dense, and only slightly undercooked in the middle, but the flavour was right and I look forward to trying this again over the weekend. I want to find a way to put the dough into the oven without disturbing it. Perhaps I will give in to my gut feeling and give it a second rise – if only for an hour or so.

I will forgo posting the recipe until I feel good about it, but please try it out for yourselves and let me know if you have any pointers:

Quick Rye Bread Recipe

Since we’re on the subject of rye bread, I must share with you one of my favorite, reuben-inspired sandwich creations. Strange but true:

Smoked Tofu and Cabbage Sandwich Smoked Tofu and Cabbage Sandwich

I saute the cabbage with onions and caraway seeds until its really soft and delicious, then add a splash of vinegar (balsamic is good here). Then I heat up the tofu and toast some rye bread. Sandwich consisits of (in this order): bread, avocado, salt, pepper, tomato, smoked tofu, pickles, jalapeno, cabbage. Sounds weird. Tastes awesome.


4 thoughts on “Quick Rye Bread

  1. DJ

    Rye Bread and Sauerkraut? You're a girl after my own heart! I've never tried a reuben sandwich, never mind a vegan reuben, before, but I can tell already with those foundation ingredients, it's going to rock hard! And IMHO caraway seeds are a must for good rye bread!!!

  2. Sarah S.

    New here by way of MoFo, lovely place you have. I set a goal to make a loaf of bread at some point during this vegan month of food, but I haven't decided what direction to go yet. Rye would be supremely lovely, but I am a bit scared! If you have any suggestions for easy fool proof bread that can bake in a loaf pan (no stoneware or dutch oven here), I'd love your advice. A nice crusty piece of bread and your carrot coriander soup would certainly hit the spot!

  3. Monica

    I have been meaning to post this variation on no knead bread that is REALLY very easy. I recommend starting with an all white loaf.

    Really Easy No Knead Bread


    470g strong bread flour (white, whole wheat, or a mixture)
    1/4 tsp yeast
    10g salt
    350g water
    2 Tbsp olive oil (optional)


    1. Mix everything in a large mixing bowl to achieve a shaggy dough ball. (If you are using whole wheat flour, you will likely need to add more water. The consistency should be wetter than you might expect, so that when you mix it all together, it won't hold a dough ball shape, but instead ooze a bit in the bowl: Photo)

    2. Cover with cling film and let it sit for 12-24 hours.

    3. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Pull the dough at either end to form a strip. Fold this strip into thirds (like a business letter). Give the dough a quarter turn and fold in thirds again: Photo

    4. Put the dough with the fold seam UP into an oiled bread tin or 20-25cm oven-safe saucepan.

    5. Cover with cling film and let it rest for 1-2 hours.

    6. Put the bread tin / sauce pan into a cold oven (if you have a lid for the saucepan, use it). (Optional: Put a shallow tin of water at the bottom of the oven – this will help form a better crust.) Turn on the oven to 450F / 230C. Bake for 30 minutes. If using a lid, remove it. If not, check that the loaf isn't getting too brown – if so, put some tinfoil over the top. Bake for another 30 minutes.

    7. Remove from the oven, turn bread out on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

    A couple helpful links:
    NYT Bread in a Bread Pan and Cold Oven
    Faster No Knead Bread

    Let me know how it goes! Or if you have any questions along the way. =)


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