== by Sue Davies ==

Rye bread used to be part of British culinary heritage, but around 500 years ago, it began to be seen as only fit for the poor, something only to be eaten in times of hardship. Since then, however, attitudes have changed.

Rye is a tough plant and grows well in the cold damp climates of northern Europe. The amount of rye in the bread varies: dark pumpernickel has a high proportion, while some lighter rye loaves have a third, or less.

This recipe has been adapted from The International Jewish Cookbook by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum, published in New York in 1919. As well as making standard loaves she suggests rolling out this dough quite thin, covering it with finely sliced onions and flakes of butter before baking in order to create ’zwiebel platz’ or onion bread.

== To make 10 x 450g loaves ==


Dried yeast 100g

...or fresh yeast 200g

Water 2½ litres

Rye flour 2kg

Strong white flour 2kg

Salt 50g

Caraway seed (optional) 100g

Did you know? Historically, rye was often grown and processed with wheat, both the crop and the bread made from it was called meslin or maslin.

Did you know? Rye is particularly susceptible to ergot, a fungus, which, if eaten, can cause some very unpleasant effects. In the past, there are stories of whole villages suffering from ergotism, when the bakery used infected grain. It was only understood in the 1850s.