Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
10 mins. to 20 mins.
Baking time:
35 mins. to 40 mins.
Total time:
3 hrs 25 mins. to 4 hrs 20 mins.
Yield:
1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves
This seeded light-colored, soft rye bread is delicious for deli sandwiches — corned beef on rye, anyone?
Volume Ounces Grams

Directions

  1. Note: Thanks to reader feedback, as of February 22, 2013, changes have been made to this recipe to create a less sticky dough, one easier to work with and shape; and to ensure the bread doesn't sink in the center after baking. The amount of water has been reduced from 1 1/4 cups to 1 cup; and the amount of rye flour has been decreased from 1 1/4 cups to 1 cup, with the amount of all-purpose flour increasing from 2 cups to 2 1/3 cups. In addition, the sugar has been decreased by 2 teaspoons. Thanks, as always, for your good feedback.
  2. 1) In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, rye flour and yeast, mixing to form a soft batter. Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes; this allows the rye flour to absorb some of the liquid, making the dough easier to knead.
  3. 2) Add the remaining ingredients, and mix and knead the dough together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until it's fairly smooth. The nature of rye dough is to be sticky, so don't be tempted to add too much flour.
  4. 3) Place the dough in an oiled bowl or large (8-cup) measure, cover, and let it rise until noticeably puffy, 60 to 90 minutes.
  5. 4) Gently deflate the dough, knead it briefly, and shape it into two smooth oval or round loaves; or one long oval loaf. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. 5) Cover the loaves, and let them rise until they're noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. 6) Just before they go into the oven, spritz the loaves with water, and slash them about 1/2" deep. The oval loaves look good with one long, vertical slash; the rounds, with two or three shorter slashes across the top.
  8. 7) Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 205F to 210F. The single, larger loaf will bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it lightly with foil after 25 minutes of baking.
  9. 8) Remove the loaves from the oven, and transfer them to a rack. While still warm, brush them with melted butter, if desired; this will keep their crust soft.
  10. Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves.

Tips from our bakers

  • Don't throw away that dill or sour pickle juice! It's a great substitute for the water in this recipe. Depending on the saltiness of the juice, you'll want to cut back the salt in the recipe to 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.