Rye Bread in the Bread Machine: How-To Guide

Are you ready to start making your own bread machine rye bread?

We know, we know, it sounds impossible. A good loaf of rye can be hard to come by.

rye bread in the bread maker

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll know that sometimes the only guaranteed way to get your hands on one is to wrench it out of an old woman’s grasp, or to hook it with a fishing rod.


It’s a little tricky to make. Rye, after all, behaves very differently from your usual white grain, and that can seem like a major problem to coax the dough into something edible.

Even easy-to-use home bread machines aren’t always designed for ryes, and that makes the whole process seem much worse than it needs to be.

Familiarizing yourself with how rye dough works will give you a huge advantage, and understanding its chemistry will allow you to use a bread machine when creating perfect, dense loaves of any kind of rye you like.

Let’s start by looking at some of the key features of rye, what ingredients you’ll need, and some basic rye bread machine recipes. That’s all you’ll need to become a pro.

What is Rye?

When making bread, we’re always choosing between two main kinds of grain: wheat or rye.

As you can probably guess, rye bread is made from rye grain, which is similar enough to wheat to allow for cross-pollination, but requires its own specific cultivation process when turning the grain into flour and eventually bread.

Loaves of rye are typically denser, darker, and more flavorful than those made from other kinds of grain. So much denser, in fact, that it’s difficult to get them to rise on their own.

bread machine rye bread

Rye gluten just isn’t strong enough to expand while still maintaining the basic wheat structure, which is what normally creates the pockets of air that give bread the right lift.

Most rye bread machine recipes, then, require workarounds to make sure that “pure” rye has enough support to actually rise in the oven/machine.

Health Benefits of Rye Bread

Rye bread provides all kinds of health benefits that make it preferable to wheat: it’s less fattening, satisfies longer, reduces inflammation, adds important fiber to your diet, and helps manage glucose levels.

Because rye is slower to bake, the final loaf will retain more of the grain’s natural properties, and adding seeds and other proteins into the bread can help you get even more of a health boost.

Bread Machine Rye Bread

So how to get rye to rise like wheat bread? One of the most common ways is to mix rye and wheat grain together to form a combination bread that will rise as it should.

Most bread makers are built for wheat-based breads. Bread machines work by combining instant yeast with water, and doughs like rye are so naturally moist that the yeast can activate too early, which can leave you with an underbaked dough pudding instead of a crunchy loaf of rye.

make rye bread in bread maker

You’ll want to keep this in mind as you start building your recipes.

The most important thing to remember is this: the darker the flour, the heavier the bread will be and the less it will rise as it bakes. The greater the rye-to-wheat ratio, the slower the bread will take to bake and the denser it will be.

Keep this in mind as you’re deciding on the kind of bread you want to make, and add more all-purpose flour if you want a puffier loaf.

Of course, there are all kinds of rye varieties, but for now, let’s look at a very basic rye bread bread machine recipe that’s great for beginners.

Dark Rye Bread Machine Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ⅛ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons molasses or honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups rye flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 teaspoons machine bread yeast

Notice we have an almost even ratio of flours, which means we’ll get a really dark bread that has enough flour to give it a nice rise.

This recipe also contains more sugar than others, and that, too, will help the bread rise. It’s all about providing enough support for the bread’s structure.

Method:

With most rye bread bread machine recipes, the only difficult part is adding ingredients in the correct order. With almost any variation, you can just use the Basic setting on your machine and let it do the work.

Refer to the manufacturer’s suggestions when it comes to the order you should add your ingredients in.

If your machine gives you more variety, select the loaf size (most recipes are designed for 1 pound to 1 ½ pound loaves) and the crunchiness of the crust you want.

You may have to try several loaves to find the consistency, color, and size that you most enjoy. Once you’ve mastered the basic texture, you can add nuts, seeds, onions, and other seasonings.

Next Steps:

Place your ingredients in the pan of the bread machine, adjust your settings, and punch Start.

Once the first rise is finished, remove the bread from the pan and place it in another cooking pan to cool and rise. Cover it with a light cloth, and shape it as you see fit.

If you prefer learning by video, check out this basic rye bread in the bread maker recipe:

Top Bread Machine Rye Bread Tips:

Try adding a little bit (1 tablespoon) of caramel coloring or cocoa to get a rich, chocolate color for pumpernickel or dark rye loaves.

After you’ve mastered this basic rye bread, venture out and find other rye recipes online that give you more texture, density, and thickness, and adjust according to your tastes! There’s no need to fear rye, so give it a try!


Have you tried bread machine rye bread yet?


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