gone aw-rye


I splurged the other month on rye flour (and pumpernickel flour, and a few other things) at King Arthur the other month and a snow day from work seemed like a perfect opportunity to take my inaugural spin.

I have a couple of recipes, but the one I went with was from Marcy Goldman’s Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, which is indeed a treasure and what happened next does not reflect at all on the book or the recipe. (Yes, this is a Tale of Woe.)

All rye bread recipes make it clear that good rye is not a quick thing. It’s eight hours at the low end, two days at the average. It’s not high-maintenance, just time-intensive.

The night before, I set up the sour, which is basically the rye flour and the yeast (and a few other things) set up to ferment. I didn’t have caraway seeds, but they were supposed to be here.


And the next day, it looked like this:


And from there, you add the rest of the ingredients and treat it like any other bread. Which in theory is pretty straightforward and I’ve made plenty of bread so there should have been nothing wonky from this point on.

Except after setting up the loaf for the second rise, I wound up constantly distracted and unable to pay even cursory attention.


This was the last point at which the bread was under proper management.

The mistakes were pretty simple. (1) I let it rise too long because I started to preheat the oven when it should have been going in. (2) I didn’t slash the top. (3) I was going to make the cornstarch wash so that it would develop a proper rye bread crust, but I totally forgot. Taken each on their own, would have most likely had no effect. Taken together, well…


The good news is that it tasted good and had excellent rye bread texture. That might have been the only good news. But it’s not inedible, so it’s hardly a disaster. Just a culinary mishap hopefully not to be repeated.


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