Light Rye – Bread Machine

A bread machine can make a light rye. Light rye breads are soft  breads made with wheat flour, with rye flour or rye meal for flavour and texture, or light rye flour. Also, there are (retail/craft/home) rustic rye and rye sourdough styles. Light rye bread may be made in pans, but also baked in a torpedo shape.

Authentic pumpernickel is outside the capabilities of bread machines. There are retail/craft/home formulas for a rustic style with rye flour, e.g.  King Arthur Classic Pumpernickel baked in an oven. 

Rye bread has been baked with caraway seeds so often that consumers associate the flavour of caraway with the flavour of rye. Caraway is related to cumin, fennel, anise, carrots, celery and parsley. Some varieties are known as Persian cumin. It has been used as a cooking herb or spice since the time of the Roman Empire. It is a major spice in Central European cooking and in the nations beside the Baltic and was adopted in Germany, the Nordic countries and England. Caraway seeds were/are used to make flavoured breads with white flour in Central European recipes. Cumin and caraway are the spice in Kamijnekaas – the spiced Dutch cheeses Leiden Kaas and spiced Gouda. Caraway is a strong flavouring, and may overwhelm other flavours in rye bread. Other flavouring agents: fennel and anise seeds, dried orange peel, orange zest and orange oil for flavour in varying amounts and combinations. There are dark or sour light rye styles (retail/craft/home/bread machine) with wheat flour, rye flour and cocoa or ground coffee for dark colour,vinegar or sour cream for acidity corn meal, oatmeal or sunflower seeds for texture.

Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook has recipes for light rye breads (at pp. 133-143, 313) with 25% – 35% rye flour by weight. This is manageable in a bread machine for most recipes and machines.

Panasonic’s manual asserts rye flour leads to dense bread when used to replace other flour, and warns that mixing rye flour might overload the motor.  I bake light rye bread in a Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine. The machine’s cycles are programmed to knead for a longer time than a rye bread needs. The dough starts to release water and gets sloppy.

Rye flour has less of the proteins that build gluten than wheat flour.  It has pentosans which absorb water early in mixing but release it after periods of intensive mixing. The dough seems dry and elastic – it holds it shape and is slow to relax. According to Daniel DiMuzio’s Bread Baking, An Arisan’s Perspective (p. 51), bakers with control of speed and time would use a short period of slow mixing for dough with significant amounts of rye flour, and little faster intensive mixing DiMuzio notes (p. 216) that dough for deli-style light rye (80% white/20% rye) would be hydrated at 68% and mixed slowly: in a stand mixer, 3 minutes slow to blend ingredients and 3 minutes on second speed. This would be a custom cycle in a bread machine with the option of programming a custom cycle. With my machine, I could turn off the machine after slow mix and a few minutes of knead/mix and let it rise and finish it on the counter and in the oven; or in the machine:

  • let it sit, knock it down once with a spatula, let it “bench” rise and
  • plug it in and set to bake “cake”.

I get a good loaf on a basic bake cycle without resorting to those hacks.

Rogers Foods mills Dark Rye Flour is available locally, and priced as a staple instead of a luxury good.  Rogers does not directly publish a volume to mass conversion. The food facts label indicates 1 cup = 120 grams = 4.2 oz.  Food Facts for Dark Rye flours from other mills are consistent.  120 grams is in the range of published values, which is confusing and wide.  Online Conversion’s converter and Aqua-Calc converter dark rye flour said 1 cup of dark rye flour = 4.5 oz. = 128 g.   The rest of the range:

  • BLBMC; Reinhardt’s Bread Bakers Apprentice – no factor stated
  • Bakery Network conversion chart – 1 cup “rye flour” = 4 oz. = 113 g.
  • Aqua-Calc converter light rye flour (or medium rye flour) – 1 cup = 102 g = 3.6 oz.
  • The Traditional Oven’s  converter – 1 cup = 102 g. = 3.6 oz.  light rye?
  • King Arthur Flour’s Ingredient Conversion chart – 1 cup = 3.625 oz.  light rye?

Bread with Caraway and Onions. There is a white bread recipe in the Panasonic manual that evokes rye bread with a touch of rye flour, and caraway seeds. Panasonic has not published it online. It is nearly identical to Panasonic’s Basic White Bread. For a medium loaf, add 1/8 cup rye flour, 2 tsp caraway seeds, and 1/8 cups chopped onions. The linked recipe is for Panasonic machines and normal (i.e. not reduced) sodium.

Scandinavian Light Rye – a BLBMC recipe.

 Medium   @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium
50% sodiumB%50% sodium
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2.5 tsp1.25 tsp. | .625 tspn | 1.8 g.n | 1.3 g.
White Flour1.875 cups261 g.66196 g.
Dark Rye Flour1.125 cups135 g.34101 g.
TFW396 g.100
Brown Sugar2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Caraway Seed1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
1.5 tsp.75 tsp
4.3 g.3.2 g.
Gluten1 tsp.0
Oil1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Water1.125 cups266 g.67200 g.

Swedish Rye Bread – a BLBMC recipe.

 Medium Loaf   @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
VolumeWeightB %
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp. | .5 tsp
n | 1.4 g.n | 1.1 g.
White Flour2 cups278 g.65209 g.
Dark Rye FlourMedium Rye1.25 cups150 g.35113 g.
TFW428 g.100
Fennel Seed2 tsp1.5 tsp
Dried Orange Peel1.5 tsp1 + 1/8 tsp
Salt1.25 tsp.625 tsp3.6 g.2.7 g.
Gluten4 tsp.
Oil1.5 tbsp1 + 1/8 tbsp =
1 tbsp + 3/8 tsp
Honey3 tbsp2.25 tbsp =
2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp
Water1.25 cups295 g.69221 g.

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