Table of content A-Z

 

rye

 

Botanical name: Secale cereale


Roggen

 

Introduction


Around 1850, our bread consisted mainly of rye. Today, wheat has taken over and supplanted rye on the market. Worldwide, rye constitutes only 2% of all grain, while wheat accounts for 30% on the world market.

In Germany, however, and in other regions of Europe, rye is a traditional grain for baking bread and is used more in comparison to other areas. Rye originated in the Near East, as did wheat, oat and barley. It has been grown in Europe since approximately 700 b.c. It arrived at that time with migrating peoples and via trade routes. In the European area, rye was the most common bread grain among the Teutons, Celts and Slavs.

Important areas of cultivation today are Middle and Western Europe, the Near East and Central Asia and North America. Rye is most important as a bread grain, however, in Northern Europe and Siberia. Due to the raw, cold climate, rye is especially suited for cultivation there. Cultivation in Germany is limited mainly to the eastern and northern lands of the Federal Republic.


Availability


We differentiate between summer and winter rye. Compared with summer rye, winter rye is less demanding of its environment. It also has a higher yield, which is why it is grown more than summer rye. It is sown on October and can be harvested in August.

We also differentiate between marsh rye, well suited to grow in marshy soil; mountain rye, for cultivation at high altitudes; and sand rye, which grows best in sandy soil.

Rye is available in dried form or processed throughout the year.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


On the ears of the grain grow 30–40 oblong kernels that are grey-brown to greenish. They have a stronger taste than wheat kernels.

Rye is a very undemanding variety of grain and is thus suited for cultivation on light sandy soil, in raw climates, at higher altitudes and where the early summer is dry.


Ingredients


The essential amino acid lysine is found in high concentrations. Also worthy of mention are the high concentrations of folic acid, iron, manganese and zinc, as well as of fibre.

100 g contain:


Rye, whole kernel
Rye flour, type 1150
Whole-grain rye flour, type 1800
Energy (kcal)
294
318
294
Water (g)
14
14
14
Protein (g)
9
8.3
9
Fat (g)
1.7
1.3
1.7
Carbohydrates (g)
60
67
60
Fibre (g)
14
8.3
14
Vitamin B1 (mg)
<1
<1
<1
Vitamin B6 (mg)
<1
<1
<1
Folic acid (µg)
56
–
56
Potassium (mg)
510
297
510
Magnesium (mg)
120
67
120
Manganese (mg)
4.2
2.1
4.2
Iron (mg)
4.9
2.6
4.9
Zinc (mg)
3.9
2.4
3.9
Phosphorus (mg)
360
196
360



Harmful substances


The contamination of rye with the heavy metals lead and cadmium has been greatly reduced over the past 30 years. In the 1970s, 1 kg of rye contained an average of 0.1 mg of lead, while today only 0.02 mg is found. The cadmium contamination has also decreased.

There is a danger of ergot formation. You can read more about this in the introductory chapter to grains.


Presumed effect on health


The seed coat of the rye kernel contains lignin compounds, which are thought to protect against cancer.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Rye is used predominantly in the baking of bread and rolls. In Germany, rye bread is favoured, along with specialty breads. The reason is undoubtedly its flavour, or its aroma, the crust, the structure of the dough and the freshness; rye bread remains fresh longer than wheat bread.

While the baking quality of wheat is determined by gluten, the proportion of starch is decisive with rye. Mucins (pentosanes) in rye are important for its capacity to bind and hold water. A rye dough consists mainly of sticky starch, which makes it denser and firmer than other doughs, but a rye dough also contains fewer or no air bubbles.

Rye flour contains more enzymes than wheat flour. Rye doughs must therefore be leavened, in order to prevent the degradation of the starch by the enzymes. Leavening of the dough obstructs the activity of the enzymes.

Sourdough starters can be bought for baking at home, but such a starter is very easy to make yourself:

Mix 75 g coarsely ground rye with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/8 litre lukewarm water and let the mixture stand covered in a warm place for 3 days to ferment, until bubbles can be seen. Before adding the starter to the dough, take away one teaspoon of it and mix this again with warm water and coarsely ground rye. After several hours you will have another sourdough starter.

In addition to baking, rye is used as animal fodder, but also to produce alcohol. The Korn (grain spirit) that is so popular in Northern Germany is usually made from rye.

 

 

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