New York Style Jewish Rye


My grandfather ate with this fork!
Antique Walnut & Pewter Fork circ. 1880 Bohemia
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Recipe by: Chef John V., A Good Cooking Recipe!

History: Both of my grandfathers were bakers. Adolph worked for the now defunct Jersey Bakery in Hudson, NY after he sold his dairy farm. Then John, my other grandfather, worked there whenever they needed extra help or someone called in sick. I have such fond memories of the Jewish Style New York Rye. This recipe is as close to the original as can be. The only difference is they baked it in ovens that could inject steam during the first 10 minutes, which gave the crust its blistered look and chewy texture.

Note: This is a must have proper ingredient recipe! You can't substitute medium rye flour without a change in texture. Light Rye or white rye flour is a must is as 1st. clear flour. Also note that flour has a different moisture content during the winter as in the summer. So in the winter you may need to add a bit more water and in the summer a little less. No more than a few tablespoons should do---this is a stiff dough! For your success please remember to measure exactly as baking is a science.

Description: New York Style Jewish Rye, You won't find a better rye in New York!

Serving size: 3 - 1 1/2 pound oblong rye loaves

Preparation time: Start to finish is 3 days because you will make a sour starter


Sour Starter--- 
1 cup warm potato water*
1 cup light rye flour---see footnote
1 tbsp. yeast, dry active or 1 fresh yeast cake
Stir to blend well, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 3 days at room temperature 65-70 degrees F.
The starter will look like this after 3 days.

Rye Bread Starter

* Potato water---Peel and quarter 2 pounds of regular potatoes, cover with water and season with salt. Cook like you would for boiled or mashed potatoes, drain---saving the water the potatoes were cooked in. This is potato water, it gives bread a moist and compact texture. Save or eat the potatoes as you like.
Dough for the bread---
2 cups warm water, about 120 degrees F.
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. yeast
Add---starter from above
2 cups light rye flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. caraway seeds
4 3/4 cups first clear flour---see footnote

Glaze---1 cup water
3 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water---no lumps


In a mixer or by hand combine 2 cups warm water with sugar and yeast, mix and let sit for 10 minutes. 
Add all of the sour starter and the remaining ingredients. Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes with a dough hook, then increase to medium speed and mix 6 minutes longer, be sure all the flour is absorbed into the dough by raising and lowering the bowl from time to time. 

Remove from the machine and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 2 hours @ 70 Degrees F. or until doubled in size.
This is what the dough should look like after the mixing is complete.

Rye Bread Dough

Portion into 3 - 1 1/2 pound pieces of dough and shape into oblong loaves, place on baking pans that have been sprinkled with semolina flour or fine cornmeal . Cover with a damp but not wet cloth and let rise for 40 minutes at @ 75-80 Degrees F. (on top of the stove is fine).

Here you can get an idea how to slash (cut diagonally) the dough. This will prevent the bread from cracking open during the baking process.

Rye Bread, This one has Caraway

Carefully remove the damp cloth , then slash the dough 3 times across the top with a very sharp knife or razor blade about 3/4 of an inch deep. Immediately place in a pre-heated 375 degree F. oven, and place a pan of boiling water on the oven's bottom. Remove the pan after 10 minutes, this will create steam and help with crust development. Continue to bake for 30 minutes or until center is 180 degrees F.
For the glaze: boil 1 cup of water, mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water, then combine with boiled water and stir continually until thickened. Cover with plastic wrap.
Remove the bread and with a pastry brush, brush with the cooked cornstarch. A small amount of this glaze is enough, it's used to create a shiny surface. Cool the bread on wire racks for at least 1 hour before slicing.


White Rye Flour is milled from whole rye berries which has the bran and germ removed and is unbleached. Medium rye is the next grade with is darker in color and if it were to be used in this bread it would make a darker loaf but not as dark as pumpernickel.
First Clear Flour is milled from spring wheat and has a very high gluten and protein content which gives this rye its chewyness.

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