You've probably noticed different types of rye breads at your local bakery. Different types of rye have different flavors and textures. Some flavors are mild, some are strong. Some ryes have seeds and coarse grain, while others are more the texture of traditional white bread. Rye is a hardy grain that is grown mostly in the cooler, northern climates of Europe. The populations in these areas developed different types of breads using parts of the rye berry, either whole or the endosperm. Here are five types of rye bread now commonly seen in bakeries that got their origin centuries ago.
This is a traditional type of rye bread developed in Germany and made from ground whole rye berries and rye flour. Traditionally, the rye berry is boiled and steamed to soften it enough to make the bread. The end result is a dark and fairly heavy loaf of bread. Traditional pumpernickel doesn't have any added coloring or sweeteners, though it does have a slightly sweet taste.
Unlike pumpernickel, dark rye is made of coarsely-ground flour ground from the endosperm with some of the bran and germ included. It uses a sourdough starter to ferment the grains. Dark rye is said to be similar to light rye except that for the use of darker flour, molasses and sometimes even cocoa. Caraway seeds are also frequently added to dark ryes.
Light rye uses flour made only of the endosperm which is ground into fine flour. Like dark rye, it also uses a sourdough starter. Light rye flour is also used to make rye quick breads and biscuits. Light rye bread will absorb less water than dark ryes, causing it to be lighter after baking. In the United States, commercially-made dark and light rye are commonly made in combination with wheat flour.
Marbled rye is traditionally the combination of dark and light rye.
Crispbreads have a long history in Scandinavia and east-central Europe. They're usually fermented with either yeast or sourdough. Like other types of rye bread, they can be made with light or dark flour. They are very portable and have a very long shelf life.
If you've never had a piece of rye bread, try a plain slice before adding a topping or making it into a sandwich. Rye breads tend to have a unique flavor that goes well with different types of meats (such as fish) and cheeses. If you don't like caraway seeds, look for breads labeled "unseeded".
To learn more about this topic, visit a local bread supplier.