Bread on the Rise: Rye

In stark contrast to the gluten-free craze that has spread throughout the nation in recent years, a counter-trend has emerged: bread revival and an interest in ancient grains, particularly rye. However, it’s most likely not the rye that immediately comes to mind, housing the classic Pastrami sandwich. Rather, the emerging trend is centered on the rye breads from Northern Europe, with rougher textures, darker shades, and sourer, nuttier tastes. Often the preferred option to wheat, rye contains more fiber and less gluten than its more neutral counterpart.

Despite the fact that it was once referred to as the “poverty grain,” rye is in no way deficient of health benefits. In fact, rye is an extraordinary source of vitamin E, calcium, iron, and potassium. Studies have shown a link between rye and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, and diabetes. What’s more, rye can even make you feel full, even more-so than other wheat products.

This newfound interest in ancient grains has resulted in a recent influx of rye in bread as well as pasta, brownies, oatmeal, desert toppings, and so much more. In perhaps its trendiest form, rye has even made a comeback as rye ale, which you can now purchase at Brooklyn Brewery. Traditional rye breads are made with a sourdough starter, rather than yeast, to aid in rising. The acid produced from the starter is what gives it a low glycemic index which makes it the better and healthier option.

Often referred to as “Old World” style bread, hearty and dense rye seems to be popping up everywhere nowadays. Always on #trend, our CxRA culinary team has proposed a new dish for Spring 2017 centered on the rich, freshly milled grain: Chervil Rye Panzanella Salad, complete with Chioggia Beets, Cambozola Cheese, Pickled Bermuda Onion, and Cara Cara Oil.