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100% Whole Grain Rye Bread

Makes one 1-1/2 pound loaf

This is based on my favorite whole wheat bread recipe in the similar and related recipes links, which makes a dense, but tender loaf. All I did was substitute rye flour for some of the wheat and added caraway seeds, which are optional. I have included two different methods using a bread machine. I prefer using the dough cycle and then baking the bread in the oven. It is a little more work, but I like to control the shape of the loaf, and I think the resulting texture is better. You can also knead the dough by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook. See the notes below for additional tips, as well as a variation for dark rye bread. Additionally, since this is a low sodium bread, I added notes for making it with the usual amount of salt.

Whole Grain Rye Bread Recipe Photo

Method 1: Add the ingredients in the order suggested for your bread machine. Process using the whole wheat setting for a medium or dark crust, as desired.

Method 2: Add the ingredients in the order suggested for your bread machine and select the dough cycle. When the cycle is complete, remove the dough from the machine and place on a piece of parchment paper. Punch the dough down and roll into a rectangle about 12 x 15-inches. Tightly roll the rectangle, from the longest side, tapering ends slightly and folding them under. Pinch seams to seal and turn seams to the bottom. Transfer the parchment paper and bread to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let rise in a draft-free area until doubled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Place a baking stone on the rack and preheat oven to 425° F. (If you do not have a baking stone, use a heavy baking sheet.) When the dough has doubled, use a lame or a very sharp knife to cut a slit 1/2-inch deep lengthwise into the center top of the dough, starting and ending 1-1/2 inches from the ends. Spray the top lightly with water. Transfer the paper and bread to the oven. Bake until the bread is done, about 20 minutes. (Bread is done if, when you tap the bottom, it makes a thumping sound. Baking time will depend on the thickness of the loaf.) Transfer the bread to a wire rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool completely before slicing.

Notes: For a dark rye variation, as pictured in the photo, add one tablespoon each of unsweetened cocoa powder and espresso powder, and reduce the wheat germ to one tablespoon. The secret to lower sodium bread is to also reduce the yeast a little, which is what I have done. If you are not accustomed to lower salt products, double the salt and use the full amount of yeast instead of the 'scant' amount. If you use a rapid-rise yeast (also called instant or bread-machine yeast), which I usually do, you will have better results if you only give the dough a 10 minute rest during the first rise, then shape the loaf and let it fully rise until doubled before baking. This bread freezes very well for up to three months.