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Have you ever been eating a delicious slice of rye bread and wondered where its distinctive taste comes from? You’re not alone as many people have been fascinated by the unique taste and aroma of rye bread. The answer of course is that rye bread’s flavour comes from its seeds. However, now you’re probably wondering what kind of seeds are in rye bread?
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What is Rye Bread?
Simply put, rye bread is a type of bread made from rye flour rather than wheat flour. As a result of the rye bread recipe using rye flour, the final loaf tends to be denser than wheat bread. Additionally, dark rye and light rye bread varieties are also available.
Due to the use of rye flour and the seeds included in the dough, rye bread has a very distinctive rye taste. This rye flavour is often accompanied by a sour taste since some rye bread will incorporate a sourdough starter. Additionally, certain rye bread may use a combination of rye flour and whole wheat flour. Doing so makes the rye bread have a slightly lighter texture.
Why Does Rye Bread Have Seeds?
Rye bread has seeds in it in order to enhance the rye flavour. However, certain rye bread loaves will also have extra seeds baked into the loaf in order to create a multigrain loaf. These loaves will often have a more dense and slightly crunchy texture. In addition, the other supplementary seeds will often add extra flavours to the rye bread.
What Kind Of Seeds Are In Rye Bread?
The main type of seed that will be included in rye bread are caraway seeds. Flavour wise caraway seeds are almost like a combination of fennel seeds and cumin. As such, when combined with rye flour, the caraway seeds give the rye bread a distinct taste that is spicy yet slightly sweet.
However, whilst caraway seeds are always a staple of rye bread, some other seeds (along with a few nuts) may be included in multigrain loaves. In addition to caraway seeds, these loaves may contain some of the following:
- Sunflower seeds
- Linen seeds
- Poppy Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
Who Invented Rye Bread?
Due to rye bread being part of the human diet for thousands of years, it is hard to pin precisely who is responsible for inventing it. However, due to it being believed to have originated in central Asia between the Black and Caspian seas, the Indo-Europeans were probably the first people to make rye bread. As such Central Asian flavourings such as caraway seeds, anise seeds and coriander are often incorporated.
However, due to the Indo-Europeans being predominantly cattle farmers, they didn’t consider rye bread good food. As such rye flour whilst fairly commonly farmed wasn’t necessarily enjoyed as a loaf.
In fact, using rye seeds to make bread only really became popular in the late antiquity period/early middle ages. This is because people in general start to do a lot more farming. However, in Northern Europe where there are colder climates with lower quality soil such as Russia, Poland, Hungary and what is now North Germany rye breads were particularly popular. This is because whilst wheat bread production was impractical due to whole wheat flour seeds being unable to grow, rye flour seeds would thrive.
Is Rye Bread The Same As Sourdough?
As we know, rye breads are loaves of bread made using rye flour. However, because a distinctive part of rye bread is the slightly sour taste of some loaves, people inevitably end up confusing them with sourdough loaves.
However, sourdough is very much its own distinct thing. Sourdough is a type of bread that uses a “starter” made from fermented wheat flour and water as your leavener in place of commercially bought instant yeast. This starter will produce positive bacteria and relies on the presence of existing wild yeast to rise. Using a sourdough starter will produce a loaf with a more tangy and chewy texture.
Despite sourdough starters often being made with wheat flour, it is possible to make one with rye flour. In fact, many rye loaves will use a sourdough starter to provide more flavour to the finished rye bread loaf. Additionally, some loaves may also use a hybrid of rye flour and wheat, such as with pumpernickel.
How Do You Eat Rye Bread?
Whilst rye bread is something of an acquired taste both dark rye and light rye are better for you than wheat-based bread due to having more fibre. If you do find yourself enjoying rye bread, some of the following options can complement it brilliantly:
- Cream cheese and smoked salmon
- Honey and nuts over a layer of butter
- Cottage cheese, salt and black pepper
- Soft boiled eggs and garlic sautéed spinach
Where Does Rye Bread Get Its Flavour?
The flavour of many rye bread loaves comes from two sources. These are the sourdough starter used to make the rye bread and the caraway seeds mixed in with the dough.
The sourdough starter gives rye loaves their distinctive tangy, sour taste along with the chewy texture. Meanwhile, the caraway seeds add that distinctive spicy yet sweet taste rye breads are known for.
Does Rye Bread Ever Go Bad?
When kept in ideal conditions, pre-packaged rye bread will typically stay at its best for five to seven days. Ideally, it should be kept in a slightly warm place as putting it in the fridge will cause it to dry out more quickly. Typically when refrigerated, rye bread will become stale in about three to four days.
Rye bread very much has a distinct flavour and when compared to something like normal white bread made from wheat. This somewhat acquired taste is one of those things that you’ll likely either love or loathe. If you’ve never tried any before though, then what are you waiting for? You could be missing out on your favourite bread.