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Country Rye Loaves

Yield 2 loaves, 10 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)
This bread has hearty flavor with a thick crust and soft interior. Combine the yeast, water, rye flour, and molasses the night before so it has time to ferment and create a sponge; this makes for tangy, dense loaves. The dough is soft, so be patient when kneading, and add only as much flour as is necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.


  • 2 packages dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 cups rye flour
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons bread flour

Nutrition Information

  • calories 170
  • caloriesfromfat 7 %
  • fat 1.4 g
  • satfat 0.1 g
  • monofat 0.6 g
  • polyfat 0.2 g
  • protein 5.6 g
  • carbohydrate 34.5 g
  • fiber 4.6 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 1.9 mg
  • sodium 301 mg
  • calcium 17 mg

How to Make It

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon rye flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add rye flour and molasses to yeast mixture, and stir until combined. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight to make a sponge.

  2. Stir oil and salt into sponge. Lightly spoon whole wheat flour and bread flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups bread flour to sponge; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a (6-inch) round. Place dough rounds on a baking sheet sprinkled with 2 teaspoons cornmeal. Lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°.

  5. Uncover loaves. Place 2 tablespoons bread flour in a small sifter, and sift flour evenly over loaves. Cut a shallow (1/4-inch) X in the center of each loaf. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until bread is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire rack.