Light Rye – Bread Machine

Bread was made with rye flour in parts of Eurasia where and when rye grew and wheat did not, including the parts of central and nothern Europe around the Baltic Sea. Rye has less protein and does not produce enough gluten to rise like a leavened wheat bread. 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 loaves are a specialty product for commercial bakers. Most commercial and home made rye bread is made with wheat flour with rye flour or rye meal – light rye. Light rye breads are soft  breads, with fairly close crumb and a distinct dark crust – chewy but not crunchy. There are rustic rye and rye sourdough styles. There are versions of a deli style; there are consumer reconstructions of local bakery styles. There is a Winnipeg style, a bread flour loaf with a small amount of rye flour and/or rye meal or chopped rye berries. The Winnipeg Free Press had recipes based on the rye bread baked by Winnipeg’s City Bread. There is a bread machine version that I have not tried.

Rye bread often contains caraway seeds; consumers associate with rye bread. 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. It was adopted in Germany, the Nordic countries, the “Low” 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 spiced DutchKamijnekaas – Leiden Kaas and spiced Gouda. Other flavouring agents: fennel and anise seeds, chopped onion, dried orange peel, orange zest and orange oil. There are dark or sour light rye styles with bread flour, rye flour and:

  • an agent (molasses, cocoa or ground coffee for home bakers) for dark colour,
  • vinegar or sour cream for acidity, and
  • corn meal, oatmeal or sunflower seeds for texture.

Bread machine manufacturers have not programmed a light rye program, and discourage baking with rye flour. Panasonic’s manual says rye flour leads to dense bread when used to replace other (wheat) flour in their recipes and warns that using rye flour might overload the motor. There is a recipe for Bread with Caraway and Onions in the Panasonic SD-YD250 manual for a medium loaf (1.5 lb.) – 1/8 cup of rye flour and caraway seeds, with 3 cups of bread flour, nearly identical to Panasonic’s Basic White Bread. Overloading the motor is not the issue unless a user tries to use a bread machine to mix pumpernickel! Rye flour has less of the proteins that build gluten than wheat flour, and does not rise.  Light rye bread rises becaause it is typically over 75% bread flour, and may have been enhanced with vital wheat gluten. Rye flour has pentosans which absorb water early in mixing but release it after periods of intensive mixing.

The Panasonic receipe has almost no rye flour. The Zorjirushi recipe (below) has enough rye flour to compare to a light rye but has the texture of white sandwich bread. Bread machine rye bread recipes baked on basic bake and whole wheat bake produce flawed results. The recipes for light rye bread in Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (at pp. 133-143, 313, and the light rye recipes in the Bread Bible use the bake or whole wheat program. There are no standard recipes – recipes are dependent on the machine, the pan and the ingredients. When I baked light rye in a Panasonic, the machine mixed a dough that looked reasonable in the first 10 minutes of kneading, but was wet by the end of knead time. It rises; when it falls at the knockdowns, it leaves a wet dough residue clinging to the pan which bakes as cracker or flat bread against the edge of pan. The loaf had the crumb and texture of white sandwich bread; a little drier. Other machines do the same thing to a lean light rye dough in a basic bake or whole wheat bake program.

According to Daniel DiMuzio’s Bread Baking, An Arisan’s Perspective

  • (p. 51) bakers using mixing machines use a short period of slow mixing for dough with significant amounts of rye flour, and little intensive mixing
  • (p. 216) dough for deli-style light rye (70% white/30% 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.

The basic and whole wheat programs in bread machines knead for a longer time than a rye bread needs. I tried out the Zojirushi BB-PAC20, in a custom program with a short “knead” phase, with a good result.

Online Conversion’s converter and Aqua-Calc converter dark rye flour said 1 cup of dark rye flour = 4.5 oz. = 128 g.  This is the mean or average for dark rye flour surveyed in USDA data base. There are is a range, for different kinds of rye flour; there are variations of methodology of measuring a cup to weigh:

  • Online Conversion’s converter and Aqua-Calc converter – 1 cup of dark rye flour = 4.5 oz. = 128 g.
  • 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?

Rogers Foods Dark Rye Flour is available locally in 2.5 kg. bags, and priced as a staple.  Rogers does not directly publish a volume to mass conversion. Anita’s Organic Mill Organic Rye Flour is available in 1 kg. bags; not in local stores, but online. This may be a better quantity to buy for flour used in 1 to 1.5 cup quantities. For both of those rye flours, the Canadian “Food Facts” label indicates 1 cup = 120 grams = 4.2 oz. These labels use values based on food data bases based on the measurement standards of their methology. Rogers Dark Rye may be about 124 grams a cup, settled and scooped. Anita’s about 120 grams a cup if settled and scooped to pack the cup.

Zojirushi Light Rye is from the Zojirushi manual. It is enriched with sugar.

LoafLargeMedium 1
85% Medium 1Medium 285% Medium 2
Source|adapationZojirushi33% sodium33% sodium33% sodium33% sodium
ProgramWheat BakeCustomCustom
IngredientsWeight [V]Weight [V.]

Weight [V]
Weight [V]
Weight [V]
Caraway Seeds [1 tbsp.][2.25 tsp.][2 tsp.][2.25 tsp.][2 tsp.]
YEAST (1 only)
x Active Dry Yeast5.6 g. [2 tsp.]
x Instant Yeast High?
x I.Y. BB-PAC204.5 g. [1.6 tsp.]1.1 g.1 g.1.1 g.1 g.
Rye Flour80 g. [.67 cups}
60 g. [.5 cups]
52 g.180 g.
or Dark Rye62 g.52 g.
Bread flour544 g. [3.9 cups]408 g. [2.9 cups]347 g.300 g.
Sugar23 g [2 tbsp.]17 g. [1.5 tbsp.]15 g. [3.75 tsp.]17 g. [1.5 tbsp.]15 g. [3.75 tsp.]
Total flour/dry
Salt8.4 g. [1.5 tsp.]2.1 g.1.8 g.2.1 g.1.8 g.
Butter2 tbsp. {4 g.}21 g. [1.5 tbsp.]
{3 g.}

21 g. [1.5 T.]
{3 g.}
21 g. [1.5 T.]
{3 g.}
21 g. [1.5 T.]
{3 g.}
Water 356 g. (1.5 cups)275 g.
234 g.275 g.234 g.
Total water360278 g.237 g.

Beth Hensperger’s recipe “Chuck Williams Country French Bread” is for whole wheat flour. Beth Hensperger adapted a recipe by Chuck Williams (of Williams-Sonoma) for the La Cloche device. It is similar to a hearth bread she calls Pain de Campagne in her Bread Bible (2000), which is made with a starter and sponge made with whole wheat flour. It is in the style of Pain de campagne, but with whole wheat flour.  I have also tried it with rye, in a low knead custom cycle with a little less water:

LoafMediumMedium 85% of medium85% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium
33% Sodium
ProgramBasic BakeCustomCustomCustom
IngredientVolumeWeight [V]B%Weight [V.}Weight [V.}
choose one
Instant Yeast High
1 3/4 tsp. [4.9 g.]2.5 g.
I.Y. BB-PAC201.4 g.1.1 g..85 g.
I. Y. Low7/8 tsp. [2.45 g.]1.2 g.
Bread Flour2.25 cups313 g.75266 g.266 g.
*Whole Wheat Flour
.75 cups104 g.2588 g.88 g.
*Rye Flour
100 g.85 g.85 g.
Gluten2 tsp.2.5 g. [1 tsp.]2.1 g. [.85] tsp.2.1 g. [.85] tsp.
Total Flour420 g. (WW)
415 g (rye)
Salt1.5 tsp [8.6 g.]4.3 g.3.7 g.2.4 g.
*Water|Hydration WW1.25 cups295 g.70251 g.251 g.
*Water|Hydration Rye282 g.68240 g.240 g.

Swedish Rye Bread, a limpa style, from BLBMC:

 Source50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium33% Sodium
Medium Loaf
Medium Loaf@ 85% of medium@ 85% of medium
ProgramBake BasicCustomCustomCustom
IngredientsVolumeWeight [V.]
B %Weight [V.]
Weight [V.]
Dried orange peel1.5 tsp.[1.5 tsp.][1.3 tsp.][1.3 tsp.]
Fennel Seed2 tsp.[2 tsp.][.75 tsp.][.75 tsp.]
Caraway Seed[1 tsp.][1 tsp.]
Instant Yeast High2 tsp.2.8 g.
I.Y. BB-PAC201.2 tsp [3.2 g.]1.6 g.1.4 g..9 g
I. Y. Low1.4 g.
White Flour2 cups278 g.65236 g.236 g.
Medium Rye Flour1.25 cups150 g.35128 g.128 g.
Gluten4 tsp.
Salt1 1/4 tsp [7.1 g.]3.6 g.3.1 g.2 g.
Oil1.5 tbsp.[1.5 tbsp.][1.3 T.][1.3 T.]
Honey3 tbsp.60 g. [3 tbsp.]
{12 g.}
51 g, [2.6 T.]
{10 g.}
51 g, [2.6 T.]
{10 g.}
Water1.25 cups296 g.69252 g.252 g.

Scandinavian Light Rye, from BLBMC:

 MediumMediumMediumMedium@ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium
50% sodium50% sodium50% sodium
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2.5 tsp1.25 tsp. | .625 tspn | 1.8 g.n | 1.3 g.
White Flour1.875 cups261 g.66201 g.
Dark Rye Flour1.125 cups135 g.3495 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.

Narsai’s Rye Bread is a bread machine recipes in Beth Hensperger’s Bread Bible. It gets a brown colour from molasses

Bake BasicSource50% Sodium 
Medium Loaf
Medium Loaf@ 75% of medium
Instant Yeast2 tsp2.8 g.
I.Y. BB-PAC201.6 g.1.2 g.
I. Y. Low1.4 g.
White Flour2 cups288 g.209 g.
Medium Rye Flour3/4 cups90 g.68 g.
Gluten4 tsp.0 g.
Salt1 tsp2.9 g.2.1 g.
Caraway Seed2 tsp.[2 tsp.]1.5 tsp
Dried Orange Peel1 tsp.[1 tsp.].75 tsp
Oil2 tbsp.[2 tbsp.][1.5 tbsp.]
Molasses3 tbsp.63 g. [3 tbsp.]
{15 g.}
2.25 tbsp
45 g.
{9 g. }
Water1 cup237 g.

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