Along with wheat, rye is the other cereal that is widely used to make bread. It is extremely hardy and does well in climates that are too inhospitable to grow wheat. Because of this, rye is a very popular grain for bread making in eastern and northern Europe. There are a countless number of different loaves and the use of rye flour gives them a unique characteristic and tangy flavor.
Kastenbrots are the familiar box-shaped rye breads, and the name actually translates as box bread. The bread is steam-baked for some 20 hours in an enclosed pan, which results in a dense and heavy loaf that is both moist and crumbly with a chewy texture. It has a sour flavor, but with a certain sweet and malty overtone. They are best eaten with strong tasting foods and malty types of drinks such as beer. Among the best-known varieties is pumpernickel, the darkest of the rye breads, vollkornbrot, another strongly flavored rye bread, and roggenbrot.
Weisenkeimbrot, another variety that translates as wheat germ bread, and is made using the wheat germ along with rye grain.
Sonnenblumenbrot is made using a small proportion of wheat flour along with the rye meal and has a distinctive sharp flavor of rye.
Krustenbrot is the popular square rye bread from Germany and is a crusty-style loaf. It is often just known as German rye, but unlike other rye breads it has a pleasant, gentle flavor, owing partly to use of a blend of rye and wheat flours.
Rossisky is made from a sourdough starter, using 100 percent rye flour. It has a distinctive, yet pleasant flavor and is one of the most delicious of all Russian breads.
Borodinsky is another classic Russian bread and is flavored with crushed coriander seeds. It can be made entirely with dark rye or with a blend of rye and wheat meal. Barley meal is also often used, giving an earthy flavor, while buttermilk or yogurt is occasionally added, both of which enhance the naturally tangy sourdough flavor.
Russian Black Bread is a substantial looking loaf flavored with molasses. It is usually made with an equal blend of rye and wheat flour and has a pleasant sweet and sour flavor that is characteristic of many rye breads. The combination of molasses and rye give it a wonderfully dark and moist crumb.
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