Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread

Over the last few months, Monday’s have become my bread-baking day. They have also become our mid-morning walk day, enjoying the parks and beaches of Vancouver for a few hours when most of the world is at work. It’s a good way to start the week!

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I do love baking, and I think that baking bread (and working with yeasted dough in general) is probably one of my favourite ways to spend time in the kitchen. I love the way the dough smells and, to me, there’s always something magical about pulling that golden-crusted loaf of bread out of the oven. Seriously, I smile every time!

I first started making this version of a marbled rye sandwich bread a few weeks ago. I was looking through one of my go-to bread books and Jonty spied a picture of a marbled, swirly loaf, and asked if I could give that one a try. At first glance, I thought it might take a lot longer to make, as it called for making two batches of dough, one for the light rye and one for the dark. I couldn’t be bothered with that, so, in true Moira fashion, I’ve made a few modifications to the original recipe.

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My version is actually fairly easy to do. I’ve used my cheaters method again of adding yogurt to the rye dough, as a substitute for making a sourdough mother starter, which means you don’t have to start a bread recipe more than a week in advance. And once the dough is kneaded for a few minutes into a shaggy ball, I simply split it in half and knead cocoa powder into one ball (for the dark rye), and leave the other as it is.

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After the two balls of dough have risen, they’re split equally again, so there are two balls of each colour. Pat each of them into a rectangular shape, stack them on top of each other, then roll the entire stack into a log-shape, pinching the seams together. The log hangs around in a loaf pan until the dough just starts to dome over the edge of the pan. In a nice warm house, that will probably happen in about half an hour. Easy peasy 🙂

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Like all bread, you really need to let it cool completely before slicing into it. With the wonderful aroma of this freshly baked bread, wafting through the apartment, the wait can be hard; this is usually when we leave the apartment and enjoy a walk around town.

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By the time we get back the bread has cooled enough to slice, and the apartment smells fantastic.

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Oh man, those swirls get me every time! Jonty thinks this is one of the best toasting breads I’ve made: the bread is nice and soft, yet the crumb is dense enough that it doesn’t fall apart if you like to slice your bread fairly thin, like we do. As usual, we slice up the entire loaf and pop it in the freezer, so we can take out a slice or two whenever needed.

Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the rye sandwich bread recipe from Artisan Bread Everyday
For the starter:
For the dough:
  • 190 g warm water
  • 15 g molasses
  • 30 g vegetable oil
  • 1⅛ tsp instant yeast
  • 340 g unbleached bread flour (we prefer Anita's Organic Mill)
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the rye flour, yogurt and water. It will be very thick and resemble modeling clay. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, molasses, vegetable oil and instant yeast. Let sit for a few minutes, to allow the yeast to bloom.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour and salt. Drop the rye starter, by the spoonful, into the bowl and add the yeast mixture.
  4. Using the dough hook, mix the dough on low until the dough just starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn the mixer off and let the dough stand for 5 minutes, to fully hydrate.
  5. After this wait time, continue to knead the dough with a dough hook until the it starts to look like a smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky. Using wet hands, remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into equal halves (use a scale, for precise measurements). Place one half of the dough back into the stand mixer bowl, along with 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, and knead on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the dark rye ball into a clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  6. Return the light rye dough ball back into the stand-mixer bowl and knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the light rye ball into a second clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size (this may take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is), split each ball of dough in half, so you have 2 light rye balls and 2 dark rye balls. Flatten each into a rectangular shape, about 8 x 5 inches. Layer the dough in alternating colours and press each down quite firmly onto the previous layer, to avoid big air bubbles forming during the rise. Tightly roll the dough into a log shape and place, seam side down, into a parchment-lined loaf pan for a second rise.
  8. About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes. When done, the loaf should be a golden brown on top and should sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
This bread freezes very well. Simply slice the bread up completely before placing into a freezer-proof ziplock bag.

Enjoy the Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread!

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Apple Streusel Pie with Rye Pastry

I feel like December is cookie season. But since we’re firmly planted in November for the next week, I’m declaring we’re still in pie season. The local Okanogan apples are plentiful in the markets, and you never have to twist my arm very much to make (or eat) pie. So, just in time for American Thanksgiving, or just in time for Canadian Anydays-giving, here’s a little Apple Streusel Pie for you. | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

I was originally going to call this post Apple Rye Streusel Pie, because I find rhymes like this highly amusing. But then I thought, perhaps you might think there was rye (i.e. alcohol) in the pie, not rye (like the flour). So I caved, and went with the boring title instead 🙂 | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

We actually made this rye pie for our Canadian Thanksgiving last month, but time has gotten the better of me and I didn’t get around to posting it; however, posts like these are better late than never, and this was such a good pie, that I’m sure you won’t care when it was intended for. At least I’m hitting someone’s thanksgiving this week!

I wanted to make a pie but didn’t want to go through the fuss of making a double-crust fancy-pants pie. This apple streusel pie was the result. | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

Rye Pie Pro’s:

  • This apple streusel pie is very easy to make.
  • The pastry base uses a good amount of rye flour, instead of the traditional all-purpose white flour. I think this adds a subtle nutty flavour to the pie, which nicely complements the apples.
  • The streusel topping bakes up nice and crunchy, and anyway, who doesn’t love streusel topping!
  • For a typical pie, there is very little sugar in it. I like to let the sweetness of the fruit come through. Can we call this a healthy pie? Probably not. But it definitely tastes like perfectly ripe apples, and that’s a good thing in my books.

Rye Pie Con’s?

  • Umm… it takes more than 60 minutes to bake?
  • Umm… you need to wait for it to cool before slicing into it? | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

If you find yourself in need of a good dessert for tomorrow, or a good dessert in general, give this one a try. I think it can hold its own against the classic Pumpkin Pie.

Served warm, with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream, it’s pretty darned great. Served cold, straight from the fridge at midnight, I won’t tell if you don’t 😉

Apple Streusel Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This pie was inspired in part by this Apple Crumble Pie
For the rye pastry dough:
  • 100 g (~3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 50 g (~1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) rye flour
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ tbsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cold water
For the Streusel toping:
  • 90 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g (1/4 cup packed) brown sugar
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnut pieces
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the pie filling:
  • 3 to 4 large apples, cored and sliced, about 5 mm thick (aim for 7 to 8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make the pastry dough:
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flours, butter and apple-cider vinegar (or use a pastry cutter or two knives).
  2. Slowly add in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together and forms little balls. When you've added enough liquid, the dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
  3. Shape the dough into a flat disc and refrigerate until ready to use (preferably let it sit at least 30 minutes).
Make the streusel topping:
  1. With a spoon, mix together the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped walnuts and melted butter. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the pie:
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the pie filling, until the apple slices are completely covered. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, while you're preparing your pie shell.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and place a tray in the oven, which will be used to catch any pie overflow.
  3. Roll out the pastry dough into a circle that is about 5 cm / 2 inches larger than your pie plate.
  4. Transfer the dough into the pie plate and gently press it down into the pan and up along the sides.
  5. Trim up the edges to allow a 1-cm overhang. Then pinch the dough along the rim of the pie plate, to form a lip.
  6. Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared pie shell. Do not spoon in juice that has seeped out. The pie will probably look very full. Try to mount up the apples as best you can, as they will shrink down as it bakes.
  7. Sprinkle the streusel layer onto the pie and press it down gently.
  8. Place the pie into the centre of the oven, over top of the baking tray.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another 45 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are soft to pierce. If the top is getting too brown before the apples are finished cooking, place a bit of foil over the pie.
  10. Let the pie cool at least 2 or 3 hours before serving, to allow it to set.

Enjoy the Apple Streusel Pie! | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

Soft Rye Sandwich Bread

Perhaps the one good thing about having a cooler summer thus far, is that we don’t mind turning on the oven. This is particularly good when it comes to baking bread. I’ve been tinkering with a new sandwich bread recipe over the last few months and, so far, we’re loving the results! This soft rye sandwich bread is quickly becoming our new favourite bread. | Soft rye sandwich bread

I love making bread. I love the smell of yeasted dough, of watching the dough transform from a shaggy mess into a smooth ball, and shaping that dough for buns or bread or cinnamon buns (mmm, cinnamon buns).

When I was little, I remember my mom showing me how to form bun shapes, by pushing a small chunk of dough through the hole formed by my thumb and forefinger. I remember the taste of grandma’s freshly baked cinnamon-raisin bread, smeared with a general helping of salted butter. My father-in-law’s whole wheat bread was, when paired with his homemade raspberry jam, a thing of beauty. | Soft rye sandwich bread

Often what I like best about making homemade bread is the reaction of those around me when they smell it, fresh from the oven, or take their first bite of it. Perhaps it’s for selfish reasons, but I do love it when others get the same enjoyment I do! Maybe it’s because people don’t make bread at home as often it always seems a treat? Homemade bread has become a (very tasty) novelty, which is a shame since it beats anything store-bought, hands down. | Soft rye sandwich bread

The Sourdough Cheats Route:

Rye bread is a bit of a tricky little fellow. Because rye flour is quite soft (the gluten content is relatively low), it helps to pair it with unbleached bread flour, to boost the structure of the bread (we use Anita’s Organic Mill flours for all of our baking, and really like that they’re a BC company). Many rye bread recipes call for a mother-starter, which means mixing up a bit of rye flour and water and yeast, and let that hang out in the fridge for a day or two, to give it that distinctive rye / sourdough taste.

To mimic that classic taste, without the time effort, I’ve done something super fancy (cough, not really), and added yogurt to the dough, or a drop of plain white vinegar if I’m out of yogurt. And you know what? I think it tastes just as good as the mother-starter method! And this version is much quicker, which is sometimes what a person needs when baking bread 🙂 | Soft rye sandwich bread

A few things to keep in mind when making this soft rye sandwich bread:

  • The stand-mixer is your friend. This dough can be fairly loose, so kneading by hand is most-likely not an option. If you don’t have a stand-mixer, just use a spoon to mix everything together well.
  • When you start to handle the dough, make sure your hands are well-oiled or wet them with water. This makes sure you don’t end up with scary dough-hands.
  • The quantities I’ve posted, seem to work in my neck of the woods (altitude, humidity levels), but keep in mind that you might need to add a bit more flour or less liquid. It’s all part of the fun bread-making process!
  • Make sure to let the rye bread cool completely before slicing it. Trust me. Even if your husband begs and pleads, to slice the bread up sooner, don’t listen to him! The rye needs time to fully cool in order for the crumb to set properly. If you give into temptation, you risk a gummy loaf. Just be warned 🙂 | Soft rye sandwich bread

To make our lives easier, we will cut up the entire loaf of soft rye sandwich bread into thin slices, then freeze the lot. This way, you can easily pull out one or two slices, without having to saw though a frozen bread brick.

So give this bread a try! It’s awesome toasted, with a bit of honey and butter, or as a classic sandwich filled with your favourite things, or just on its own 🙂

Soft Rye Sandwich Bread
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
I based this recipe off a typical rye bread ratio 100% flour : 27% mother starter : 86.5% water
  • 150 g rye flour
  • 300 g unbleached bread flour
  • 5 g (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 5 g sea salt
  • 275 g water, very warm
  • 45 g molasses
  • 30 g non-fat greek yogurt (or 30 g milk + ½ tbsp white vinegar)
  1. In a stand mixer bowl, sift together the rye flour, bread flour, instant yeast and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together very warm water and the molasses until combined. Add the yogurt and whisk until smooth. If you don't have yogurt, use milk plus ½ tbsp of white distilled vinegar instead.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and, with the dough hook attachment, mix until the dough is just incorporated. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, to allow the flour to fully hydrate. Then start to mix the dough at medium-low speed for 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be quite smooth, but still sticky to the touch. Increase the speed of the mixer and knead for another 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high speed. If the dough is still extremely sticky, add a bit more flour.
  4. Liberally dust your work surface with flour and, using wet or well-oiled hands, turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Fold the dough over itself (top over bottom, side over side), then cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice more, allowing the dough to rest 10 minutes in between. After each stretch and fold session, the dough should start to feel more firm. Make sure to keep your hands wet during this, and sprinkle flour over the dough, if necessary.
  5. Line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, and lightly mist with oil. Shape the rye dough into a log shape and place into the prepared pan. Cover and leave to rise until the dough just starts to dome over the top of the pan.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the bread half-way through the baking time. Once fully baked, the top should be a deep golden brown, and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when thumped.
  7. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before serving. This is very important, in order to give the rye bread time to fully set.
This bread freezes very well. Simply slice the loaf completely before placing it all into a well-sealed bag and into the freezer.

Enjoy! | Soft rye sandwich bread