Using Rye Grains in your Baking
One of the nicest tasting grains, rye is often forgotten when it comes to regular baking like for breads, cookies, muffins etc. Nutritionally rye and wheat are remarkably simiiar, but rye just does not have the abilty to produce gluten to make the breads rise, so that is why it is perfect for baking where gluten is not an issue like cookies,
History: Rye probably originated in southwest Asia, along with wheat, oats, and barley. Rye or RIE, as it is sometimes spelled, is mentioned by name in the Bible. It also goes by the name FITCHES, which is an alternative name for black cummin, and aromatic seed used in cooking. More than likely, fitches was the name given to rye in one given area. The name RYE evolved into the universal name.
Winter-hardy and willing to thrive in sandy soils of low fertility, rye is grown all over the world, from Tanzania to Argentina. But it is the Eastern and Northern European countries that we have to thank for the great classic rye breads. Each region, has over centuries develped it own traditional specialties, and the variety is impressive, with flavours ranging from sweet to sour to spiced: textures range everywhere from dense to hearty to light and airy: shapes and sizes can be round and square, really large or extra small.
Rye seed was brought to America by immigrants from Holland in the early 1800's. As the Dutch settlers migrated west, so did the rye. The Dutch settled in Pennsylvania, but rye continued it's westward trek with pioneering farmers.
Description: Rye is a nutritious grain ranking close to wheat in nutritional value. It has less fat than wheat and compares favorably with wheat and corn in protein and carbohydrate content. However, Vitamin B1 in rye is lower than barley, wheat and oats. The nutritional elements in rye are thaimin, riboflavin, niacin, fat, silicon, iron, magnesium, unsaturated fatty acids, calsium, sodium, protein, phosphorous, potassium, carbohydrates, and vitamin E. Rye contains 1,515 calories per pound dry weight.
Rye is not used as extensively as most other grains. In fact, the demand for rye is slowly descending as more and more people are using wheat, which makes a lighter texture bread. Dark rye flour comes from the grinding of whole rye. For lighter flour, the outer coats of the rye kernel are removed before grinding.
Uses: Rye has become a mainstay cereal grain to northern Europe and Asia. It is principally used for making breads, for feeding livestock and for pasture. The gluten in rye is inferior to that of wheat and does not have the elasticity needed for making really light textured breads. Bread made from rye and usually heavy and dark in colour. Rye bread gest the name "Black Bread" form this colour. This reminds me of an incident years ago when my husband went to logging camps for 10 days at a time. He told me about one of the Cooks at the camp that loved to work on car motors when he was home, and came to camp with real black, oily hands. My husband asked him how he could cook with such black hands, and he answered that one real good batch of rye dough always took care of the problem. OOO!
In North America, rye is nearly always used with wheat flour so as to give the rye flour lightness. Caraway seeds are also used: they give the unique flavour associated with rye bread. In some countries of Europe, a portion of the rye straw is pounded into a powder and used along with the grain in the making of the bread. This procedure accounts for some of the coarsness. Besides yeast breads, rye is also used in muffins, pancakes, cookies, and cakes. It makes a great cereal either whole kernel or cracked. Casseroles and pilafs are also a good way to enjoy rye. Rye may be sprouted and used in salads and baking.
Rye is sometimes used as a pasture crop, taking the place of winter wheat, which is harvested rather early in the growing season. Like buckwheat, rye makes a good green manure crop. It improves the soil by adding nitrogen. It is sometimes planted in the spring and plowed under to a more valuable crop can be planted later.
Rye Flours: At present there are no standards for what the term rye flour means. If it comes from a large commercial mill, though, it is almost sure to have had the bran and germ removed. RYE MEAL and PUMPERNICKEL flour are sometimes whole-grain, but you can's count on it. Probably most reliable is stone-ground whole rye flour from a reputable local miller. That may be hard to come by! If you are fond of rye breads and don't find flour you like close to home, it would be worth your while to mill your own ( of coarse we recommend this), because whole rye flour needs to be fresh. Once ground, rye deteriorates even faster than whole wheat; buy or gring just what you can use in five to 6 weeks and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Like wheat, rye flour should come to room temperature before it is mixed into the bread dough.
We have included some Rye Bread and cookies recipes on our website in our NEW RECIPES section for you to try out. Hope you like them. If you are interested in a grain mill check out both the Electric and Hand operated Mills we carry.