Light Rye Bread


I bake medium loaves (1.5 lbs); low sodium; in a Panasonic SD-YD250.  I make comparisons to the source recipe, and annotations:

  • {what I did} vs [the source recipe says]
  • * low sodium; *M low sodium and machine

The salt measurement is a normal low sodium adjustment  – reduce salt and yeast by equal proportions.  The yeast measurement is customized for the Panasonic SD-250;  it may work in a machine with similiar features and cycle but may not work in many other machines.

The Challenge

Processing 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.  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.   Panasonic has one recipe in the manual for a light rye bread.

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 just holds it shape and is slow to relax.  The temptation is to add more water, but that may not be the answer. Bakers with control of speed and time would use a short the period of slow mixing for dough with significant amounts of rye flour, and little avoid faster intensive mixing according to Daniel DiMuzio’s Bread Baking, An Arisan’s Perspective (p. 51). DiMuzio notes that the pain de campagne blend of 90% white flour and 10% rye flour would be hydrated at 68% and mixed slowly for an artisan loaf. 

Light rye breads are soft  breads made with wheat flour, with rye flour or rye meal for flavour and texture, or light rye flour. There are dark or sour 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

Also, there are (retail/craft/home) rustic rye and rye sourdough styles.

Light rye bread may be made in pans, but the traditional presentation is a rustic torpedo shape. 

Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook has several recipes for Light Rye Breads. Some emulate the styles made in pans, and some aim to get the flavour of the traditional styles in a pan loaf.  Getting that is a challenge.

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
  • The Bakery Network conversion chart – 1 cup “rye flour” = 4 oz. = 113.4
  • 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?

A formula with 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of rye flour will be about 70% wheat flour by weight and will form gluten.  This amount of rye flour is manageable; the paddle keeps turning and the dough ball creeps around the pan.  My machine vibrates  but does not appear to strain. At one cup of rye flour, the dough is dense and elastic – it holds the ball shape until late in the rise phase but flows and rises. At lower amounts of rye, the dough acts like white flour dough – it flows and rises normally.

The BLBMC light rye bread recipes work in my machine, but are very tightly balanced and need to be measured precisely.

The BLBMC recipes use caraway, fennel and anise seeds, dried orange peel and orange for flavour in varying amounts and combinations. Olive oil can be used to replace other oils. 

Panasonic Rye Bread with Caraway and Onions

The Panasonic formula, with almost no rye flour, is simple but a very light rye. Basic Panasonic recipe, with low salt and local changes:

  • 3 cups {Canadian All Purpose} flour [P bread flour]
  • 1/8 cup {dark} rye flour
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp dry milk
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/8 cup chopped onion
  • {4.3 g (.75 tsp) *} salt [P 1.5 tsp]
  • {1.4 g (.5 tsp) *M} instant yeast [P 2.5 tsp  instant]
  • 1.1875 (1 3/16 = 1 cup + 3 tbsp) cup water

On those measurements TFW would be 430 g. (97% white flour) and hydration rate 65%.  In my first trial I cut 1/4 cup of white flour and added 1/8 rye cup flour. It was a wet dough, which flowed and rose well. But it was wet, for a white flour dough. On the portions listed here, hydration was 74%.  In B%:

IngredientVolumeWeight g.Liquid MassPercentage
White Flour2.75 cup35393
Dark Rye Flour3 tbsp237
Sugar1.5 tbsp
Caraway Seed1 tbsp
Butter1.5 tbsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.3
Inst. Yeast *M.625 tsp1.8
Chopped Onion
Water1 3/16 cups28028074

Next trial tba

BLBMC Scandinavian Light Rye (p. 134)

On basic bake cycle:

  • {278g. ( 2 cups) Canadian All Purpose} flour [BLBMC 1.875 bread flour]
  • {120 g. (1 cup) dark} rye flour [BLBMC cups medium rye]
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.0 tbsp caraway seeds [BLBMC 1.5 tbsp]
  • {1 tsp fennel seeds}
  • {1.5 tsp dried orange peel}
  • {4.3 g (.75 tsp)*} salt [BLBMC 1.5 tsp]
  • {0} gluten [BLBMC 1 tbsp + 1 tsp = 4 tsp]
  • {1.8 g (.625 tsp) *M} instant yeast [BLBMC 2.5 tsp SAF instant]
  • 1.5 tbsp {olive} oil
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp water [BLBMC 1 cup + 2 tbsp]

The B%:

IngredientVolumeWeight g.Liquid MassPercentage
White Flour2 cup + 2 tbsp295
Dark Rye Flour1 cup120
Brown Sugar2 tbsp
Caraway Seed1 tbsp
Fennel Seed1 tbsp
Dried Orange Peel1.5 tsp
Oil1.5 tbsp
Salt *.75 tsp4.3
Inst. Yeast *M.625 tsp1.8
Water1 3/16 cups28028067

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