Almost Swiss Rye Bread

The bread making module at cooking school was met with a great deal of excitement from  everyone in my class although not, of course, quite as much excitement as the chocolate making module (go figure :)). Under the expert guidance of our Swiss tutor we learnt all about the dough making process. We kneaded, scaled, moulded, plaited and all the while the most heavenly smell of baking bread wafted around the classroom kitchen. By the time we pulled the bread out of the oven it was surprising that we didn’t all fall on it like a bunch of salivating dogs. Fortunately we had more restraint and luckily we were allowed to taste the fruits of our labours which of course made all that kneading worthwhile.

Everybody’s favourite  bread was a Swiss Rye Bread, which we devoured warm from the oven dripping with butter and thick slices of Swiss cheese or honey. Each loaf was handcrafted and placed in basket moulds prior to baking. Only ten loaves were made per class which made this bread a prized commodity and only a few lucky students were allowed to take some home.

While the original recipe produces a lighter bread, mostly due, I suspect, to the gluten powder, bread improver and sour dough powder that gets added, my version, which I have adapted from the original recipe and I have called “almost Swiss rye bread”, produces a denser hearty bread. It is great still warm from the oven with butter and the rest I slice and freeze to use for toast during the week.


Rye Bread

Makes 2 small loaves.

  • 500gm rye flour
  • 350gm bakers flour (strong)
  • 10gm dry yeast
  • 10gm unsalted butter, chopped
  • 18gm salt
  • 525ml water.


Place the rye flour, bakers flour, dry yeast, butter and salt into bowl of a stand mixer.

Mix on a low speed until butter has incorporated into flour.

Change to the dough hook attachment. Add water, mix on medium speed until dough starts to combine (there may still be flour at the bottom of the bowl).

As this mixture is quite heavy and dense at this stage I scrape the dough onto a work surface and knead by hand to fully incorporate all the flour. I also split the dough in half and place one half back in the mixing bowl and mix on a medium high speed. While this is happening I knead the other half by hand for 2-3 minutes. I then swap the dough over and repeat. I do this to look after my mixer (which I am more conscious of after my last experience making brioche), and the other reason is I really like kneading dough – it’s very therapeutic 🙂

Combine both pieces of dough and knead until the dough is smooth.

Lightly flour bench, place dough on top and cover with a moist tea towel. Rest dough for 30 minutes.

Cut dough in half. Knead each half into a ball and place each ball on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Use a sharp knife and lightly score lines over the top of the bread. Cover each tray with an oiled piece of plastic wrap.

Rest for at least one hour or until bread has doubled in size.

Bake @ 240°C, for 10minutes. Turn oven down to 190°C and bake for a further 30 minutes. (I am using a gas oven so I turn the bread around at intervals to bake evenly).

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.


22 thoughts on “Almost Swiss Rye Bread

  1. laurasmess

    Your rye bread looks perfect Karen. Absolutely perfect. I’ve never had much luck with yeasted bakes in my oven… I think it’s something to do with the fact that it loses heat in certain spots? Anyway, reading this recipe almost makes me want to give it another go. Yum!

  2. Tiffany

    Your bread looks so professional! One day I will get over my fear of yeast–my bread never seems to rise as much as I think it should so I always feel like I’m doing something wrong. But the aroma of fresh baked bread is wonderful, and there is nothing like eating it fresh from the oven. I’m glad you adapted the recipe for homebakers 🙂

  3. Jas@AbsolutelyJas

    I think homemade bread straight from the oven and slathered with butter is our household’s version of crack. We always, without fail, attack it when it is still too hot to touch, and the crust is the most prized commodity! I’m embarking on the sourdough road, and have a rye/white starter growing on my bench – I love rye bread, and the beautiful deep flavour you get from rye!

  4. TheKitchenLioness

    Karen, we are bread lovers around here and I could eat rye bread every day, it is my personal favorite and your loaves look delicious and so perfectly done – I am seriously jealous, in a really good way right now, as I have a lot to learn in the bread making department.
    Wonderful post, dear Karen – hope that your business is flourishing!!!

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      You are not alone Andrea, I did some classes at cooking school but I feel like that was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the knowledge and skill involved in making bread. I would love to spend some time with an artisanal baker to learn more about this amazing craft 🙂

  5. anna @ annamayeveryday

    I am so pleased to see this because I made some rye bread the other day and was expecting it to be much darker, more pumpernickely but mine looked similar to yours, so hurray it was right! Those loaves look perfect by the way!

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      Thanks so much Anna. The original recipe called for light rye flour which I couldn’t get here – I could only find dark at the time so the first time I made this bread I thought it would be a lot darker than it was.

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      I had never made rye bread until last year, now it features in my house almost weekly. The good thing is that because it is quite dense I don’t eat as much of it as white bread (which I also love a little bit too much)

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      It took quite a few classes to learn how to shape bread, the trick is that as you are kneading the dough into a ball continually tuck the bottom of the dough firmly underneath until you have a smooth tight ball. The Rye bread is easier to shape as it is dense and holds it’s shape well.
      Hope that helps. Cheers Karen


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