Dakota Quality Rye – The Great Plains Greatest Grain

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Dakota Quality Rye – The Great Plains Greatest Grain

Rye is one of the small grains grown in the Great Plains. It is a winter annual, planted in the fall, and is the hardiest of the small grains. Rye does well in cool climates (optimum temperature 55ºF to 65ºF) and tolerates most adverse weather. It is often grown in light, sandy soil, when weed problems are present or when the soil is low in fertility. Rye grain is similar to wheat in size and composition but is lower in protein. Bread made from only rye is a small, dark, compact loaf. Hence, in North America, it is blended with wheat to produce a loaf that is more acceptable to the consumer. Due to its hardiness, winter rye is commonly grown in the northern parts of the Great Plains like the Dakotas.

 

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Dakota Quality Rye – An Immigrant’s Story

Rye bread, of course, is not new to Americans. However, none of the rye bread we are used to as Americans match the bumpy, nutty, and fragrant ancestor from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. What we call rye bread, although not a whole-grain bread, isn’t just a mutt mixing American whole grains with European rye. It is more of a blending of traditions, a bread spicing, if you forgive the pun, combining caraway, anise, fennel and coriander seeds, common in America with old world practices.

Rye, like barley and oats, is an ancient grain that thrives in cold and wet weather. Before modern agriculture and transportation made wheat available everywhere, rye was the best (and sometimes only) option for bread baking. The traditional bread produced by bakers and homemakers were staples across the region, dense, fragrant and satisfying. Those qualities have also given rye bread a renaissance with modern enthusiasts, who may also appreciate that it contains more fiber and less gluten than wheat.

Consider trying this Dakota Norwegian Rye, an American interpretation of a traditional rye bread using Dakota Quality Rye developed by Dakota Harvest Bakers in Grand Forks, North Dakota originally featured in Stanley Ginsberg’s cookbook, The Rye Baker:

Recipe

  1. SPONGE (DAY 1, EVENING) – Mix the sponge ingredients by hand until incorporated, cover, and ferment at room temperature (68-72°F/20-22°C) overnight, 12-15 hours. The sponge will be very bubbly, have a clean sour smell, and will have doubled in volume.
  2. FINAL DOUGH (DAY 2, MORNING) – In the mixer, combine the flours, salt, yeast, and sugar, then add the sponge, water, vinegar, and caraway seed. Use the dough hook and mix on low (KA2) speed until the dough comes together into a soft, sticky mass, 6-8 minutes. Cover and ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume, 1Уг-2 hours.
  3. Turn the dough, which will have become more elastic and easier to work, onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a rounded oblong loaf 14-16 inches/35-40 cm long. Place on a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or on a parchment-lined sheet pan, cover, and proof at room temperature until doubled in volume, 45-60 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 430°F/220°C with a steam pan (see page 76) and the baking surface in the middle. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to make three diagonal slashes to a depth of И-Уг inch/0.6-1.25 cm. Bake with steam for 15 minutes, then remove the steam pan and continue baking until the loaf thumps when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

To get your hands on some great quality rye grain or for answers to any of your questions, drop us a line here at Brooks Grain. In the meantime, enjoy the rye bread!

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